If she can forgive, so can I

Last week I saw an interview with Yann Arthus Bertrand. He spent 2 years filming 2000 people from 65 different countries. With these individual stories and wonderful images he shows the beauty and rawness of people and the planet. I was touched by an unbelievable story of a man who murdered a woman and her daughter.

This man was frequently abused by his stepfather. Each time he was abused his stepfather would shout that “he acted out of love for him”. This meant that love and pain had become inextricably linked for this man. “I thought that love was supposed to hurt,” he said. His tears impressed me when he said that Agnes, the mother of the woman and daughter (whose child and grandchild he had murdered) had taught him what love really means. She had been able to forgive him.

I realise that we sometimes need extreme examples to gain new insights ourselves. I realised this morning, before waking up properly (often very lucid moments for me), that if she can forgive him then I can certainly forgive a number of people. They have not nearly done such extreme things as this man. So why am I being so difficult?

There are a few people I need to forgive. Someone who is (still) angry with me and has ignored me for years (I find that very hard), my father who was not really a father to me when I grew up, a former colleague who was nasty to me, or the procurement department of an important client that decided to outsource the hiring of team coaches. It’s the agency who now decides who is going to coach which team and meanwhile I was asked to work for a much, much lower fee.

And you know, when I am writing this down, I realise that it is actually (or again) about how I perceive people and events. And that it all starts with being mild towards myself. Mild in recognising that it has affected me; that it’s about not being seen for who I really am; about the fear of being sidelined; not getting what I deserve. But it’s not about the other person.

 The key lies within myself. If I see and accept myself the way I really am, with all my needs and fears, then I don’t need to bear a grudge towards others. Perhaps I can learn from it and I can take these lessons on my journey in life. Or maybe not. Then I leave it with the other person.

Which person do you have trouble with? What is it that they have touched in you? Would you be able to forgive him or her in light of Agnes’s forgiveness? Who would you be if you no longer felt this angry grudge?

I am curious about your experiences because we can learn so much from each other. So we can all live an even more fulfilled life with greater personal freedom.

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