The Happiness Lab Delegate's Guide Chapter 3 — Forgiveness - Page 3

Penny's story 03 Not taking baggage with you S ome time ago, a close family member did something that hurt me and the rest of my family. It can be diffi cult to forgive someone when they have just hurt you, but when what they have done impacts on other people that you love, then the pain you feel seems to be far more intense. Th eir actions so upset me that I didn’t seem to be able to let it go. I found myself going over it again and again. Not only did it tie me up in a knot, but even being in the same room as them was painful for me. As we all know, to forgive someone means diff erent things to diff erent people. For some people it is about being able to be in the same room with the perpetrator again; for others it is about moving on as if nothing has happened; and for others still it is about the impact of the wrongdoing on themselves. Th ere is no doubt that forgiving someone can be diffi cult, but what I learnt was that holding on to all that bad feeling was doing me more harm than good, so I suddenly decided to let it go. It was like a great weight had been lifted: I stopped being consumed by it and was able to get on with life. Nothing had changed, other than my mental attitude to what had happened. I realised 31 that forgiveness in whatever form it means to you is defi nitely good for you. I expressed this once in a drawing; moving to a place of forgiveness is like no longer carrying the baggage of anger, rage, feeling a victim, bitterness, or feeling haunted to a place where you feel that you can let all that baggage go. It is about feeling free, light, or being released. Considering what I now know about forgiveness, and thinking back over this time in my life, I wish I had come to the decision to forgive sooner – I could have saved myself so much heartache.