“That’s it! I’ve had it. I refuse to be treated like this anymore!” Sue said as she slammed the door behind her. She drove to Cecilia’s house and vented about what a jerk Richard was. Cecilia listened and agreed with her. Nothing could convince Sue to take Richard back.
Six months later, Cecilia suggested they go out and meet some new guys. Sue said, “I’m not interested. I don’t need anyone in my life ever again!” That troubled Cecilia. They used to have fun hanging out together. Sue wasn’t herself. She rarely wanted to dress up and go anywhere.
Cecilia decided to say something. She invited Sue over for coffee. “Listen, Sue, I’m worried about you. Ever since you broke up with Richard you haven’t been yourself. Are you okay?” Sue looked mildly annoyed and replied, “I’m fine. I’ve just decided I don’t need anyone in my life. I’ve had it with relationships. I don’t trust anyone anymore.”
Cecilia paused and said softly, “Sue, I think your bitterness toward what happened with Richard is really hurting you. You’ve got to let that go.” “Well, he’s not apologizing, is he? That jerk! He doesn’t deserve to be forgiven!” Sue retorted. “Besides, if I forgive him, it’s like I’m saying what he did to me was okay. And I’m not doing that.” Cecilia could see Sue struggling with the pain she was carrying. “You’re right – Richard is never going to apologize. He’s too self-centered to do that, I think. And no, if you let it go it is NOT saying that what he did was okay. It was still wrong. But I am saying – if you forgive him, you can let go of the anger. You don’t deserve to keep hurting because of what he did to you. You deserve to be free. By holding onto your anger, he’s actually STILL controlling your emotions! You can’t let him do that to you; it’s making you miserable and isolated. I haven’t seen you smile – really smile – in months. You deserve to be happy, Sue. That’s all I’m saying. Let it go for YOUR sake, not his.” Cecilia was quiet for a few minutes and then changed the subject.
How Holding On To Your Anger Affects You!
A lot of people are like Sue. They get hurt and then they hold onto their anger for a long time. They rehearse what happened to them over and over, and it starts to become part of their identity. They no longer want to make new friends or go out like they used to. They smile less; they might even start feeling depressed. The joy of life drains out of them, and all they have left is an empty shell of existence. I’ve seen it happen; you probably have, too.
When To Forgive Someone?
Many people believe the myth that you don’t have to forgive someone until they say they are sorry. But the one who needs to apologize rarely does so. Essentially, that means you are trapped in the prison of your pain, waiting for them to apologize. That’s not fair. You deserve to be free! By choosing to forgive and let it go, you discover that YOU hold the key to your emotional prison.
Sue was upset that Cecilia had told her to forgive Richard. But then it dawned on her that it wasn’t Cecilia she was angry at. She was angry at life – that things had not turned out the way she wanted them to. Cecilia’s words had really impacted her – yes, Richard WAS still controlling her emotions even though she hadn’t talked to him in months. She was tired of being angry so much; she wanted to let it go. Sue found a picture she had of Richard and put it in a chair. She looked at it and said, “Richard, I’m not saying that what you did to me was right. It wasn’t right. I don’t deserve to be treated like that. But I am deciding to let it go today. I forgive you. I hate what you did, but I’m not going to let you hold me back anymore. I deserve to be happy!” Then, she took his picture and tore it up. It felt so satisfying – like she had broken the emotional tie between them for good. She cried and felt relieved; the anger drained away.
Cecilia noticed the change in Sue as soon as she saw her the next week. Sue looked more at peace. Later, when they went out for coffee, Sue laughed and the sparkle went all the way to her eyes. “I did what you said, Cecilia. That jerk doesn’t deserve to rent space in my head anymore. He never did pay the rent when he was supposed to!” The girls laughed together, and Cecilia knew she got her friend back.
How about you? Are you ready to finally let go and get your life back? Don’t let someone else control your emotions. You can be free today by choosing to forgive. Forgiveness is for your benefit – to protect yourself from becoming emotionally ill and isolating yourself from others. You deserve to be free inside – able to enjoy life and to love again. Don’t let another person control how you feel; choose to forgive, and let things go.