Gratitude is one of my most precious personal practices — it’s like alchemy. It can transform our relationships to ourselves and one another profoundly. I believe forgiveness is fundamentally connected with gratitude. This is what I wish someone had told me sooner.
We can move from blame to forgiveness to gratitude.
We do not have to carry around this grudge for our entire lives, punishing mostly ourselves. It is heavy to carry around another person on our backs, dragging them and their behavior with us wherever we go. It does us no good to play that same scene over and over in our minds.
We can decide to let go. We can loosen our grip on the anger just a little, and the anchor we’ve been tied to begins to sink. And we begin to float.
Not only can we let go of the original hurt, but we can choose to forgive. We can not only set down the person we’ve been carrying with us, and our anger toward them, but we can choose to forgive them. We can choose, even if we no longer speak to them, to release them back into the world and wish them well.
Maybe one day, we can even look back and laugh. We may smile fondly at a sweet moment. Maybe we acknowledge, grudgingly at first, that the person for whom we’ve resented has actually taught us something. The lesson has made us more compassionate and more awake.
We’ve learned to love again.
We owe the experience some measure of gratitude. Without heartbreak, we don’t learn to love fully. Without betrayal, we don’t learn to trust our own heart. Without some hurt, we don’t learn to heal.
We have become strong, carrying this load around all these years. And now that we don’t have to carry it anymore, we can run free and wild. At the very least, we can be grateful to ourselves, for choosing liberation over attachment.
We can move from blame to forgiveness to gratitude. We owe that to ourselves.