Monday Musings Part Twenty-three: Forgiveness Isn’t What You Think

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Forgiveness Isn’t What You Think


In my younger days, I used to believe that forgiving a person helped them more than it helped me. Not so.

When we hold onto anger and blame, we hurt ourselves far more than we can damage anyone else.

In 2007, I suffered a catastrophic injury that resulted in my leg being amputated in 2010. The ensuing three years proved some of the hardest that I have ever had to live through. What’s more, the injury occurred because someone made a mistake. A surgeon didn’t know how to do his job and, indeed, performed surgery he wasn’t even qualified to perform.

To add further insult to injury, he then refused the offer of free further training from the specialist vascular surgeon to whom it fell to attempt to salvage the situation. What do you do with that?

Forgiveness isn’t what you think it is.

I could have gotten stuck in anger and blame and grown bitter. However, surely I’d suffered enough pain already without inflicting yet more upon myself? Having made enough mistakes in my life (thankfully, none quite as big as that), I knew all too well how bad the doctor in question might be feeling. And really, whether he felt bad or no was none of my business. No, my job was to allow the compassion that arose naturally to bathe me and wash it all away.

In choosing the path of compassion and forgiveness, I chose the path of freedom. I moved on.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

When you choose to forgive those who have hurt you, you take away their power over you. If we, instead, hold onto the hurt, then each time we encounter the people that hurt us, we give them the power to push our buttons and hurt us still further.

Had I put all the blame on the doctor’s plate, and refused to take any responsibility for my actions and responses, then I wouldn’t have handled my disability and rehabilitation anywhere near as well as I did.

On its deepest level, when we forgive another person, what we are actually doing is forgiving ourselves. You might want to stop and think about that for a while. In fact, that’s one that I had to put on the back-burner for a long time before I could even begin to get to grips with it.

Forgiveness is not always easy. In fact, at times, to forgive the person who harmed us can feel more painful than the original injury that we suffered. And yet, without such forgiveness (letting go), we will find no peace.

When you forgive, you in no way change your past, but you most certainly alter your future.

In the wise words of Zen:


‘To forgive others is to be good to yourself.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: :)