Forgiveness starts with yourself

jen
3 min readJul 11, 2020

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“Forgiveness happens naturally when you see that it has no purpose other than to strengthen a false sense of self.”

– Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

Digesting this allowed me to let go of things I haven’t been able to with someone from my past. To preserve anonymity, let’s call this person Z.

Z is the one person in my life that keeps running around in my mind with some of the most hurtful memories I can recall. First off, if you ask any of my close friends, they will tell you that I am not capable of holding a grudge. However, with Z, I haven’t figured out why I can’t forgive and move on from the past. One hypothesis is because Z and I were very close friends before. We were close friends until I started to realize that Z was taking advantage of me throughout our friendship. It was subtle at first, but then when I took a step back, saw the whole picture and reflected, it became truly obvious. I really did care about Z, and when I saw some red flags with their mental health, I even confided in a counselor and asked them what I should do. I was very divided in cutting Z off from my life or helping Z with their mental health. I knew the last thing I should do was to turn away from someone who needed help.

Eventually, my counselor gave me some good advice and I made sure Z had a good support system somewhere else before I slowly started to dissolve our bridge. I did not want to, but having Z in my life was taking a toll on me.

After reflecting for a few days, this unspoken tension that has existed for many years between us felt like a game of chess. We would compare the gifts we gave each other and even started keeping tabs on who did what. It felt like a competition of who’s the better friend rather than a natural development of friendship. It became apparent to me that this war between our egos is what’s fueled our game of chess and the drama that came along with it. It took me a long time to realize that in order to end this game, I need to stop playing the game. What does that look like? Perhaps, burning the bridge of this relationship was necessary.

I won’t go into details about what happened here because that’s not the reason why I wanted to write this. I can tell you the bridge I tried to burn kept rebuilding itself. It took a lot of introspection to see why this was happening and a reminder that it’s okay to be selfish sometimes.

I know Z’s actions should not affect who I am or how I live. And I thought by pointing out their wrong doings, I can move on. However, I couldn’t move on, because acknowledging their wrong doings only made me grieve more with disappointment. The only thing grievances did was stopping me from being present and living in the moment. What I did all these years was judging Z and my reaction to those past events. That is the sole reason why I’m unable to move on.

Judgment itself is an egoic function. After realizing this, I knew the only way I was able to resolve this internal conflict was to cease judging my anger and let them be part of the manifestation of my growth.

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jen

it’s the knowledge of self, understanding the things around me, that becomes the wisdom that I need. ~nujabes