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How Understanding Can Lead to Forgiveness and Fulfillment

Forgiveness

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.” ~John Green

I remember growing up in a lonely home. My parents were distant, and it seemed they didn’t care much about me. Their lives were all about them, so I didn’t care much about them.

My sister and I hated Christmas and New Year’s Eve because we never got any gifts or toys during that period.

We used to be so lonely at home, and we couldn’t play with the neighbors’ kids because our parents didn’t allow it. I grew up having no friends, up until when I was fifteen years old, when I became friends with a classmate.

Fast forward to two years later when I was seventeen; I was going through teenage years alone, and like every normal teen, I struggled to be happy, but it was more than that. I refused admit that I was depressed until a friend noticed and talked to me about it.

For the first time I experienced what it meant for someone to truly care about me, and I wished my parents could do the same.

I became really close to this friend because she was the only one who was there for me. She was a cheerful girl whose parents showered her with love, and extended this love to others, as well. We spent all of our weekends together, usually watching movies at her house.

We graduated from high school and started college together, and then I lost her in a tragic accident. I was in shock and wished I would die too, because life was meaningless without the only friend who stood by me for all those years.

I broke down for months. I refused to go back to college, and my parents couldn’t understand why I was so down. It took me a year to recover.

I forced myself to start life again. I reapplied for college to try to make myself move on, but it was hard.

I didn’t care about making friends or joining other social activities because I was introverted and l always feared that people would judge me.

In my search for happiness I enrolled in a yoga teacher training program. It was during that period that I learned things I never knew about life and happiness.

I realized that all I needed to be happy was within me; I was whole and needed to seek happiness by healing myself instead of looking for it outside myself. Instead of feeling bad about my life, I started tobe grateful for it.

And one great powerful lesson I learned was the importance of forgiveness. It took me back to the resentments I had towards my parents, and I realized that I had to forgive them in order to live a more fulfilling life.

The courage came one evening when I boldly picked up the phone and called. We spoke for a long time, and in that discussion I discovered that they deeply regretted all the years they were absent in my life.

In that moment I felt whole again; I felt my parents’ love come back to me, and I finally understood why they didn’t seem to care when I was younger.

You see, after they had been married for several years, my mum discovered that my dad had had an affair with an old flame. This caused her so much pain that she shut down from her social life, and consequently, didn’t allow her kids to have one.

Understanding them and their pain helped me to let go of the past and forgive them, because I realized they never intended to hurt me, even when they didn’t remember my birthday or prevented me from making friends freely.

After that, I made a promise to myself to spend more time with them, helping them with cleaning, laundry, and other little things, to show them I’ve moved on and I care about them. I can’t go back and receive or show care in my childhood, but I can do something different now.

I’m only human, so I can’t say the sad memories don’t pop up in my head once in a while. When this happens, I reverse my thoughts to focus on the good part of knowing I have my parents’ love and affection back.

I’ve learned that we can’t experience the full joy of life if we don’t let go of all resentments, because it is in truly letting go that we make space for peace and fulfillment.

It can be hard to forgive if the person who hurt you doesn’t express remorse, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel it, or that there wasn’t pain behind their actions. If you don’t forgive, you’re choosing to cause yourself pain. When we hold onto bitterness, we slowly die on the inside.

No matter what, life holds a second chance for everyone. We give it to others by forgiving; and equally important, in forgiving, we give it to ourselves.

Love everywhere image via Shutterstock

Profile photo of Uju Morah

About Uju Morah

Uju Morah is a passionate blogger who loves her work. She helps inspire people about life in general, especially the youths. She is currently into voluntary services in yoga training, and she runs a blog at tinyphoenixx.blogspot.com, where she writes posts about life and other social activities.

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  • Hi Uju
    Wow, this was a really moving post. Thank you for sharing your story. I found myself just nodding along this whole time, being in agreement with so many things you said.

    I imagine growing up in the circumstances in which you did must have been very trying–our parents are only human too, and sometimes they drop the ball on this whole parenting thing, sometimes pretty severely. But, when we are children, this is not something that is easily understood and it can really do a number on us. Feeling like we don’t have the support and understanding of the very people we are taught we can rely on under any circumstance and who will love us no matter what, be unavailable to us in that way, can be very traumatic.

    To have lost the one person who you felt truly cared about you would feel like an overwhelming loss. That you were able to really internalize the truth we don’t need anything outside ourselves to be happy is an amazing thing, and something I have been thinking about a lot lately.

    My fiance and I have been traveling the world for over three years now, and it has created a lot of friction with our families for various reasons. I have tried to keep in touch with my sister and go long periods without talking with her, and she always just gives a lame excuse of being ‘busy.’ No one is really that busy, and it’s clear she is not as interested as I am in maintaining a relationship while I am away. The couple of times I bring it up, she blames it on the fact that I am doing this and not in NJ…that is her MO when she feels guilty about things as I have observed this behavior many times in her with other issues concerning me and other people.

    It really hurts and I found myself feeling angry with her for all this discomfort, but ultimately, how I react to her is all about me. No one can make us feel anything. Being human, this truth sometimes doesn’t make it to the emotional level of understanding, but it is in my awareness for sure. I have come to the realization that while we may be sisters, perhaps we will never be friends…there has always been a wall up with her and I am not quite sure why.

    Again, thanks for sharing your story. It seems you have found a way to make peace with your past and forgive. Forgiveness is hard but can bring us wonderful peace.

    For now, I jsus

  • Hi kelli. I m happy you could relate with it too. Sometimes our parents become so overwhelmed with their own live circumstances, and this inturn affect their kids who re too young to understand. But having grown up and seeing all these from a different view, I m able to understand them better and equally realised that life happens to everyone.

    I understand the issue you have with your sister. It may not be easy to understand her reasons for not keeping intouch as often except you both agree to come together and discuss it. Maybe she feels a little left out. I suggest you find a spare time to have a little talk with her ‘ that way you both can fix convenient times to meet. Goodluck

    Cheers.

  • Such a moving post. I felt lonely during middle/high school. For years i resented my schoolmates for ignoring me. I always had this mentality that they didnt like me because i am not cool enough.

    But fast forward ten years, i realise i should not blame them. I was the one who built the invisible wall, not allowing others to come inside, and me being too insecure to step out of my zone. Im glad those days are over and thanks to Facebook, ive reconnected with some of them.

  • lv2terp

    Thank you for sharing your story! What a turn around, and amazing you found this place! I love when you said “I’ve learned that we can’t experience the full joy of life if we
    don’t let go of all resentments, because it is in truly letting go that
    we make space for peace and fulfillment.” 🙂

  • Guest

    Syafique… I am glad you see that you’re the one who built the wall. If only more people would see that and stop the blame, they could let the wall down and have so much more joy and peace.

  • Thanks for writing this courageous post, Uju. I went through a similar but slightly different journey to forgiving my parents. I love how your decision to forgive led to further understanding about why your parents did what they did and were the way they were. We can set the intention to forgive first and then go through the act of forgiving before things start making more sense in our lives. When we lift the heavy burden of anger and resentment, by forgiving, we open up ourselves for more understanding and empathy. Our lives become a whole lot lighter and freer.

    You write in the headline that understanding can lead to forgiveness but I think forgiveness can lead to understanding as well:) Thank you again for sharing your inspirational story. Your last line about giving ourselves second chances by forgiving others is the absolute truth!

  • Sarah

    Thank you, Uju for the powerful writing here! The friend that you lost it still with you! She is in your heart, in your soul and in every fiber of your being! She will be with you always. You are powerful and bold and such a beautiful example to the world for reaching out to your parents and mending that relationship. You are very blessed that you were able to reconnect with your parents before they passed on. Please keep sharing your lovely story. May peace and love guide you forward in to a life full of peace, love, good health, prosperity and joy!

  • Hannah Malcolm

    Beautiful story. Brought tears to my eyes as I remember similar feelings and experiences growing up. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

  • Thank you for your kind wishes. Yes she always will be a special part of me.

  • I can relate with your experience too. When I reapplied for collage back then, being introverted I feared people would judge me for not liking or doing what others did , which made me distant. Sometimes we feel people dislike us , but truth is ” they too are fighting their own demons” . With time I realised those thoughts were just voices in my head and not my reality. I know we cant go back in time to change the past but we can make better decisions now.

  • I know so many of us have similar issues.. and we all can turn our situations around with love and compassion. We can use our exerperces to help others who are lost and need guidance or clarity.

  • The both can be used interchangeably. I m glad you were also able to go through that process ,and still be able to forgive them.i have learned so much from it. I plan to have kids in the future and with this I know how to relate with them from a place of love , and understanding.

  • You know what resentment is- its an unwillingness to let bygones be bygones ,and bury the hatchet. We need to let go of resentments, because living with it can bring us chronic punishment and pain. Which inturn affects our relationships with our loved one. We all have to know that forgiveness is not a gift to the person you resent but a gift to ourselves. (:

  • Thanks for sharing your story. Amazing things do happen when we see things from a new perspective. I’m even friends with a former schoolmate, who I thought was “too cool” to be my friend back in high school. So glad we’re able to hangout in our late twenties! 😀

  • Matt

    Thank you!!! I need this.

  • You re’ most welcome. I appreciate you do.

  • shank

    Hey …….i had a friend with whom i had a fight. Though i apologised but we don’t have that kind of friendship which we had earlier ……i feel so bad…what should i do