Weekly Inspiration: Compassion and Forgiveness

A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green.
Francis Bacon

I’m not gonna lie. There’s something gratifying about revenge.

When someone has stabbed me in the back, the thought of them falling flat on their face makes me smile just a little bit… There is some part of human nature that wants justice, wants it to be equal, want them to understand just what they did. Because we suffered, we want them to suffer.

But anger and the desire for vengeance can consume you. They are emotional clutter–negative emotions that take up all of your mental space and keep you from reaching your potential.

Worse yet, they prevent you from healing. When you are angry, you are not able to move past the hurt. You are not able to go on, or to find closure. Seeing the other person punished, or hurting as well, does nothing to heal your pain. It does nothing to prevent the other person from hurting anyone in the future. Most likely, it will only make the other person angry, and lead them to hurt more people.

We hurt others when we, ourselves are hurting. When we, ourselves are lost and fearful. A truly happy, content person–someone at peace with themself–is not going to stab someone in the back, or otherwise deliberately cause someone else pain. If someone hurts you, it is because they are hurting. It’s not personal. It’s about them, not you.

Letting go of vengeance, and working toward understanding is one of the hardest lessons I have learned in life. It takes strength to realize that someone is hurting, and that it is NOT about me. And it takes even more strength to realize that someone who is hurting will only stop hurting if they are shown compassion, not harm.

Sometimes, it is just a matter of giving the person compassion in my mind, and letting go of the emotional clutter of anger and vengeance. Other times, an opportunity will present itself outright, for me to help the person who hurt me. Does helping them bring about change? I don’t know. We rarely know the end of the story, with anyone. But I do know that it brings me more peace to do good for someone who has hurt me, than to spend the rest of my life angry and hateful toward them.

Does acting in such a way make me a pushover? Probably, sometimes. But, often, it gives me control over the situation, helps to diffuse it, and helps to break the cycle of hurt and negativity. I know that this course of action has ALWAYS yielded better results for me, than trying to get even.

bois blanc

4 thoughts on “Weekly Inspiration: Compassion and Forgiveness

  1. You said: “Sometimes, it is just a matter of giving the person compassion in my mind, and letting go of the emotional clutter of anger and vengeance.” YES!! Sometimes it seems like most of our battles can be fought and won inside our own heads. The mind is a powerful force and working with our thoughts is so essential to making the rest of our lives better.

  2. Most of the time when a person crosses my path and they are rude or just plain mean I feel sorry that they have to go through their lives in such a state. I say most of the time because…

  3. Thank you for this. This came at exactly the right time, as I’m currently going through just this: “There is some part of human nature that wants justice, wants it to be equal, want them to understand just what they did. Because we suffered, we want them to suffer”

    I had this strong desire this week, but in talking about it, I realised that I wanted to understand what was going on for the person at the time, so maybe I can understand the reasons behind their behaviour. that way maybe I can move on and show them compassion. because I don’t know if that person will ever really understand what they did to me, regardless of how much I show them my pain.
    I’ve realised this week that I’m in control, and I have the power to achieve closure with this. Thoughts are so powerful.

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