The biggest lie of the human race is the false choice between forgiveness and valid anger. Hear me clearly, I’m not saying that you can remain angry at someone and truly forgive them. No. Rather that the two are symbiotic in nature. Valid anger is a natural gateway to forgiveness instead of downplaying your bad experiences or outright ignoring them for the sake of being seen as a “good person” (whatever that even is), external validation, etc.
Let the record show I said “valid” anger… not shooting your friend because he left the toilet seat up. Life can be HELL… No one makes it out alive. The world is an unfair, dark place and cognizance of that fact alone is enough to cause anger! If you are reading this, I’m sure you have been subject to persecution in some form. It is the human condition. However, finding healthy ways to channel said anger has become something not discussed much. Especially not on the toxic cesspool of “social media”.
Kickboxing, exercise, journaling, or even screaming into a pillow, are all plausible alternatives to punching someone in the face. Sometimes anger stems from sadness, and shows up as anger because of defense mechanisms. Or frustration from having to make tough choices. So is it wrong to be perpetually combative or look out for yourself if you’ve have always had to be? How do we compartmentalize so that these behaviors are not our default mood? It’s a deep process of learning and unlearning.
For some very odd reason we’ve been miseducated that it is wrong to be “angry”. Never-mind the fact that anger has existed since mankind has, and has given us much beautiful art and songs. However over-civilization and postmodernism has brainwashed us into believing that experiencing a natural human emotion is shameful. That even showing this natural emotion often warrants a scarlet “A” on your forehead as an “angry” person. So reductive!
But no one stops to consider the reasoning behind why someone may be unhappy. It’s easier to resort to name-calling and labels. A cheap way to make sense of a senseless world and elevate yourself above your fellow man.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word forgive as “to cease to feel resentment against (an offender).“Webster’s Dictionary
Whether you consider yourself a human having a spiritual experience or a spirit having a human experience will dictate your worldview. Is the world happening to you or are you happening to the world? Note: When you’ve been violated it is normal and acceptable to feel angry as it is integral to the healing process!!
Besides, who is the arbiter of whether one’s feelings about something they individually experienced (no one else) is valid or not? Who sits on that board of directors to decide that? Some may say, “God” (with a capital G). But even God gives you freewill. The freewill to treat others as we would be treated. Secondly, in a culture of meaninglessness where hedonism and lawlessness play front and center one may wonder if forgiveness is even necessary?
Does it lose its value because we dwell in an evil world? Should you have license to act in ways you would not want emulated? These are questions I’ve asked myself over and over again, so dear reader, your quandary is not as unique as you may believe. The bad events that happened to you can become stuck in your mouth like cheap floss.
Something we relive repeatedly in our words, minds, and hearts. Even certain verbiage we hear can trigger us to remember the one moment we felt that hurt, and thus creating pathologies we may pass down generation to generation. We are animals. Full of hormones, vices and biological pathologies. Sentient, capable of introspection, and upper crust on the food chain but, nonetheless, animals. No matter how much we run away from this fact.
Thus, we will experience and feel those same animalistic tendencies. Greed. Lust. Power, etc. Forgiveness is for yourself because only you are feeling bad inside. If your counterpart is, too, you’re not privy to it. If it’s you forgiving yourself, then its 100% you. Acknowledgement of the misdeed will cause anger. But it’s fine. Inasmuch as you feel hurt and seek vengeance…it’s courageous to forgive. Others and yourself.
What’s forgiveness look like?
A prayer. An apology. A hug. A handshake. A Dap. A kiss on the cheek. Maybe slaving over a hot stove to make a good ole’ home-cooked meal for someone. True forgiveness is shown in many ways. But the benchmark of forgiveness is feeling no ill-will towards the person. You can picture them in your head without balling your fist or clenching your jaw. You don’t have to be best buddies, nor ever speak to them again, but when you are no longer married to that hatred, you’re free.
To surrender the baggage, bitterness, and hate is like a sudden weight off your shoulders. One that you will not visit the baggage claim to recapture again…If it’s for real. In conclusion, valid anger is a necessary evil to meet forgiveness. If you don’t let yourself feel it, the resulting self-sabotage will be 10x worse, as you are denying yourself an important part of your healing.