Although we can understand the ideas behind forgiveness and see its wisdom, the process of bringing forgiveness into our lives and applying it to situations where we are wounded and angry can be challenging.
Having an open heart is the best protection against being hurt. Vulnerability is something we try to avoid, but in reality, looking at each situation and person with an open heart strengthens you no matter if someone harms you or treats you unfairly.
Closing down your heart and never finding it within yourself to learn to forgive doesn’t protect you from pain.
On the contrary, you will ultimately have more suffering if you attach to the anger that arose from the hurt. Vulnerability is one of the greatest strengths a person has. If you are vulnerable, you will never be hurt, but if you are angry and fearful, then hurt is on the way – if it has not already arrived! Vulnerability is having the courage to say to people, “I am not perfect. Here are some of my faults. Here is what I’m working on in my life right now.”
Your response to what happens in your life is what will define you. The thoughts in your mind are your reality; nothing can get in past that. You need to shift this, you need to understand that you’ve given the best you can at any particular moment and that you have the power to change the lens you see it through. An open heart allows hurt to pass through. An open heart has compassion for those people who have caused you harm.
An open heart is the start to understanding the truths that have brought you to this place and time. There are many truths in your life, revealed over time. If forgiveness is part of that journey, you can gain deeper insight into who you are, and how to let go of the painful emotions that keep you from where you are going.
It is important that we don’t look at forgiveness as “you vs. them,” or “good vs. evil,” or “right vs. wrong.” If you dive deep into the waters of anger and resentment, there is no real enemy except you. Good and evil exist together all the time. They are just the other side of the same coin. We don’t need to conquer evil. We want to build up, not strike down. Forgiveness is the embodiment of an open heart. We cannot control the actions of anyone but ourselves. We cannot expect other people to greet us with the same open heart and love we offer them. Expectations will always lead to unhappiness. The answer is within you, not the external world.