Forgive and Be Free

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As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.

Nelson Mandela

We’ve all been hurt by someone. At some point in our lives someone has betrayed us, brutalized us, banged us up, brought us to our knees. You know who they are. You hate being around them. You can’t bear to think about them, because the painful memories ooze to the surface like pus in a wound. I call them the Hurters.

The Hurters can make us curl up in a ball, scared to face the world. Terrified to trust.

But what if Hurters can be Helpers?

When I hit rock bottom, the Hurters were there. These were the people who shunned me, slammed me, stabbed me in the back. They were the final straw, the last kick in the gut. And then I knew I had to change.

It was time to live the life I craved, to sell up and strip down, to live my dream of a simple life on a beautiful sun-soaked island.

It wasn’t the Hurters that forced this change. But they gave me the final push. Without them, I might still have been stumbling through my stupor, fantasizing of escape.

And when I arrived on that island of my dreams, I stood with my feet planted deep in the soft, powder sand, gazing out at a mirror sea, and I thanked the Hurters. For every door they slammed shut, every snub, every smirk, and every barb – all of it – brought me here, to this bliss.

The Hurters were Helpers.

Every person we meet is in our lives for a reason. And the people who hurt you the most, the people who bring you to your knees, tears raining, pain pressing, suffocating, choking, driving you to the brink; these people, these Hurters can be your finest teachers.

But only if you let them.

Perhaps they teach you tolerance. Perhaps they ignite an inferno of purpose and resolve. Perhaps, like a foil, they shine on your soul.

Smile and thank them. For they helped make you strong and send you on your way.

Life is a delicious drama. Look back and you will see how every character plays their role like a virtuoso. Kicking you at a critical moment. Nudging you to where you’re meant to be. Right here. Right now.

Love and gratitude are much lighter than a grudge.

Forgive and be free.

Karen

For more on seeing light in the dark, see Sink or Swim.