Imagine yourself standing in front of your best friend. A friend you have trusted more than anyone you’d trusted in your entire life. A friend you’d cared for like your own brother. Whom you’d known for years, shared many priceless moments of growing up together, stumbling upon little moments of life that makes life special. With whom you’ve shared your dreams, shared your secrets.
A friend for whom you would put your life at stake, if required.
Now imagine facing the same friend, knowing the fact that he has betrayed you. Stabbed you in the back. Sold your trust for his benefit, personal or professional. It doesn’t matter. Imagine the shock and disbelief enveloping you in face of this truth. Your body is filled with pain. Mind with hatred. And your heart crying with a feeling as if wrung like a wet towel. All years’ of love getting transformed into an acrid feeling that is rusting you from inside.
What would you do? What would anyone would normally do?
You would cry or shout. Curse or fight. You would be filled with hate and pain and feeling of intense revulsion for this person. The venom building inside you, rotting your insides, choking your breath. You would feel like the lid of a pressure cooker, waiting to burst open. You want revenge. Yes, that’s what would anyone would want to do.
But instead, you let go.
Yes. You let go of all these feelings that are building inside you. You let go of bad emotions. That bad feeling of revenge. You don’t just forget -that is an escaping the reality. You don’t pardon -that is an external manifestation suppressing your true feelings. In stead, you intentionally and voluntarily change your feelings and attitude for that person. You really wish him well. This is what FORGIVENESS is. And this is not easy.
In this age when we are taught to give an eye for an eye, a slap for a slap. When teachings of Gandhiji about making peace, internal or external, are equated with helplessness, truly forgiving someone is difficult to practice. It requires extreme self discipline and self control to not given into the emotions of hatred and revenge. Our bodies are not programmed for it. Neither our mind.
Giving into these emotions is an easy way out. But what is easy is seldom right.
Why forgiving is so difficult?
What makes forgiving difficult is that more than anyone else it is about ourselves. It is the demons inside of us. The one that plagues us from within. It tests what is all that is good about ourselves. Our patience, self-control, belief, capacity to love. Forgiving test all this and more. It involves killing our ego, and looking at a situation from the perspective of an impartial observer, or worse from the other person’s perspective. And this requires extreme asceticism on our part to do so.
Because we are prisoners of our emotions. Especially in such situations.
But once we unchain ourselves from these emotions, and we cross that threshold, something else happens. Something better. We start growing from being selfish to selfless, from focusing on being benefitted to focusing on being invested. We move from cause finding attitude to cause dilution one. And in this process, we grow cognitively and psychologically into a better human being.
A psycho-physio-transformation. And it is beautiful.