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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Don’t suffer! Either speak up and/or forgive and move on…

We sometimes don’t realize we have this phenomenal ability to forgive and move on. So we end up suffering people and situations – often endlessly!  

Two days ago, I met a young lady who was very disturbed emotionally. Her’s is an arranged marriage. Her husband of five years, she says, had let her down over an issue raised by his mother – her mother-in-law. He had apparently abused her (his wife) and held her accountable for “insulting” his mother. This incident is over two years old and even as this young lady has been struggling with this emotional hurt, her husband has been diagnosed with cancer. Interestingly, she’s been by his side, dutifully nursing him and helping him cope with all the pain and depression. She told me while she was doing whatever she could to help her husband, she was still unable to get over her hurt over the past and move on. “I simply am unable to forgive him for what he did to me. Agreed, my mother-in-law made a mountain out a molehill, but I can’t understand why my husband vented his fury at me. I felt trampled upon and felt like dirt. Now, when I sit by his side all night helping him deal with his pain and nightmares, I am also suffering within. I feel so much anger for him. Instead of letting it all out, I am having to control it and look after him. This makes me feel worse,” the lady told me, breaking down a few times as she shared her predicament.

I told her that she was making matters worse for her by carrying so much hurt and anger within her. She either has to express her anger – which is to tell her husband how she feels about being treated the way she was or she has to forgive him and move on. It will be ideal if she can do both. Her suffering, I told her, was coming from repressing her feelings. Since her husband is in a fragile state himself, the only way forward for her – and him – at the moment, is for her to be by his side. And since this is not the time to rake up a past hurt and discuss it, she must forgive him and pour her heart into caring for him. (Well, she has the option to leave him at this time. But she, rightly so, does not want to exercise this option.)

Her story may seem unique. But it is not. Many of us suffer from not being able to speak our minds when we must. And many of us also suffer from our inability to forgive and move on. It may not always be possible for us to forget whatever has happened in Life, but we can surely forgive others for what they have done to us. Here’s the nub: when someone does something to you that you do not appreciate, simply tell them so on their face. If you can’t speak up – send that person a text, an email or a WhatsApp message or a facebook messenger note. Then forgive that person and move on. If you have failed to speak your mind and communicate your feelings because you see no point in even discussing the issue with this person, at least forgive this person for his or her transgression and move on. The more you cling on to a hurt, an insult, an abuse, a betrayal, the more you will suffer. Interestingly, unless you “allow” someone to hurt you emotionally, you will never suffer. If you treat people with the view that everyone is entitled to their opinions and behaviors, you will never be emotionally disturbed no matter what people do to you. However, since not all of us can claim to be so evolved and mature, the best way is to speak up or move on or, in a best case scenario, do both. Never suffer anyone or anything grieving that you “wish” you were treated better. It is this wishing, your wishing, that is causing your suffering. And never the person or the event that has upset you.

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