Last night I was frequently haunted (mentally, not physically LOL) by words from my favorite TV show characters and also several real-life heroes and they all had the same message to me: you don't have to forget or condone to forgive, but you have to forgive to move on.

One of my those real-life heroes is a woman who survived Auschwitz. (I think I wrote about her before.) Eva Kor. She was one of Mengele's twins upon whom the "good doctor" performed horrible experiments. She and her sister miraculously managed to survive until the camp was liberated. Fast forward several decades and you find Eva living here, in America, working as a real estate agent.

Evan found a way to move on with her life and thrive – in spite of those past horros. She found a way to release herself from the pain and anger and depression and guilt that many Holocaust Survivors suffer. She, speaking only for herself, forgave all of the Nazi's – including Doctor Mengele himself.

She described it as feeling an "incredibly heavy weight" lifted from her.

Of course, doing this ostracized her. If I had heard about Eva when I was in high school, I'd have been outraged at her audacity. And I'm not even related to a survivor, let alone being one. For most, the pain is just far too deep to even consider forgiveness. However, I'm older and (hopefully just a smidge) wise. And I know that forgiveness means something different to everyone. To most, it seems, it means to condone and forget.

That is not what forgiveness means to Eva. As paraphrased in this article: because she was able to forgive her worst enemies, she was finally able to free herself from her victim status. But, she is quick to add, forgiveness does not mean forgetting. "What the victims do does not change what happened,” she says. "But every victim has the right to heal themselves as well as they can. And the best thing about the remedy of forgiveness,” she says, “is that there are no side effects. And everybody can afford it.”

Yesterday, I was a pulsating ball of anger. Had I see Buddy on the street, I probably would have tried to trip him while he walked by. And what did these feelings get me? Did they undo anything? Did they make me feel happy to be alive andwell and employed? Did I wake up today with the job I wanted to start a yearago?

Of course not.

It's easy to feel anger and hatred towards thosewhohurt us. It's natural and,initially, healthy. It means you recognize that you are worthy of being happy and healthy and you are angry that someone tainted that somehow.

But holding onto those feelings…well, that only hurts us. We perpetuate the cycle by letting ourselves be victims over and over and over again.

Buddy didn't make me feel like crap last night. I did that one to myself.

So today, Buddy, I forgive you. I won't forget and will never condone your hand in our failed working relationship… but I forgive you.

And in doing so, I hope I can finally forgive myself.

1 Comment
  1. OopsDoomed 11 years ago

    Your quote reminds me of something I had just read. Forgiveness is really our only option. We can dwell on what happened and allow it to weigh us down and get in our way or we can move forward from it. This doesn't imply that we excuse the action or think it was justified in any way, just that we refuse to allow it to change our behavior. I am glad you are moving on and healing. Forgiving yourself is one of the most loving actions you can offer this world.

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