Giving Up My Grudges
Forgiveness is free and intangible, yet it can be one of the hardest things to give away.
I’ve held grudges for most of my life. It seemed easier that way. If someone needed my forgiveness, it meant they were at fault and I could be blameless. This same belief made it very difficult for me to apologize to others. I didn't want to be wrong or rejected. Yes, it seemed easier this way, I just didn’t understand why I was angry all the time. I didn't understand that holding onto a grocery list of grudges could be part of the problem.
It wasn't until I hit the bottom of the barrel that my perspective began to change. While using substances, I racked up a mountain of situations I needed to be forgiven. But how could I expect to be forgiven for my actions if I couldn't even bring myself to forgive others?
So, I began to take a look at the grudges I was still holding. Was I truly blameless in those scenarios? Absolutely not. I reviewed my part. Then, I began to apologize and ask for forgiveness. It seemed so frightening at first. And then, somehow, I began to feel more free, more at peace.
Sometimes saying an apology can seem like a sign of weakness. But I drew strength from it. By clearing my conscience and offering a sincere apology, my bonds strengthened. My support system grew. It's such a simple act, yet I gained so much from it. Family members I hadn't talked to in years came back into my life once they saw I was genuine and wanted to take a different path. Of everything I learned in recovery, I believe the act of asking for forgiveness has become my most powerful asset.
There are many horrors I saw and was part of during my active addiction. But if there is one thing I am truly grateful for — it’s being able to properly ask for forgiveness for the things I’ve done wrong. Less grudges created a lesser load to carry. And with a lighter load comes more freedom. That is the true beauty of forgiveness.