Forgiveness is a powerful tool, but it’s not always easy.
Ever felt a grudge toward someone? Felt that feeling that you were wronged, that someone did something that shouldn’t have been allowed to happen, but it did, and you were hurt?
And that feeling stayed with you a long time?
Yep, I totally get it.
It’s a topic that’s been on my mind a lot recently. Not just about forgiving self, but about forgiving others, especially for things where I feel I have a right to be upset.
The Story of the Boat
Marshall Goldsmith, in his book, “Triggers,” tells the story of a farmer who is laboring in his canoe upriver to take his produce to market. Far up the river he sees a boat aiming straight for him.
The farmer tries to get out of the way, but the other boat just keeps coming for him. He yells and yells, “Get out of the way, you’re going to hit me!”
But to no avail. The other canoe smacks his boat. As the farmer glances over to yell at the rider in the other boat, he sees that it is empty.
The other canoe had been riding the current without a captain.
The farmer, of course, instantly realizes there is no one to be upset at. The boat was not purposefully coming for him, even if it did hit him.
In our lives, we often get abused, attacked, or hurt by other people, emotionally, mentally, sometimes physically.
The key is to realize there is no one in the boat, meaning, you don’t have to take it personally.
There’s No One in the Boat
The driver who cuts you off in traffic? He does that to everyone, or he’s late. It’s not personal. No one in the boat.
The server who messed up your order at the restaurant—had a bad day. It wasn’t you. No one in the boat.
The boss who lost her temper at you—no one in the boat!
After all this time, who is being hurt by my grudge? The person I’m holding it against, or me?
Yeah, time to work on that.
Forgiveness Is a Gift to Ourselves
So that’s what I’m striving for today. To let an old grudge die. The person who mistreated me—having a bad day, and might have done that to anyone. No one in the boat.
Forgiving and letting things go is a blessing that heals us as much as anyone else.
So think about forgiveness as a tool you use to change your own life. It certainly blesses others, and that’s something we all want. But we also want to let go the self-inflicted pain that comes from not forgiving ourselves.
So let’s practice a little self-love and self-forgiveness!
Time to let it go!