Or for you people who don’t carry purses, it could be like saying goodbye to an old, ugly, uncomfortable pair of shoes.
Allow me to explore the purse analogy for a bit. I can choose to keep the purse, maybe because it was expensive, maybe because it was a gift, maybe just out of duty and frugality…if I get rid of it, then I’ll have to go buy another one.
Maybe I will keep it because I am used to having it. Every time I pick it up on the way out to start my day, I am aware that it is ugly. I don’t like it. I am not entirely comfortable with it. I may be rather pleased with my outfit that day, but when I pick up my purse, I feel it has been downgraded.
Perhaps I will search the internet for ways to spruce up an ugly purse, and perhaps I will try some of these approaches. But they don’t work, and at the end of the day, the purse is still ugly.
So now comes the real choice – I can keep it or I can get rid of it. I am now convinced that I can’t change the purse, and I can’t get rid of my own uncomfortable feelings about it. As soon as I get rid of it, I am so happy! I feel free. I am not even mad at myself that I took so long to do it, because I am so relieved. I don’t have to do anything else with that purse, because it is gone.
Now, let’s get real. This isn’t about a purse; this is about something much more difficult.
Perhaps your spouse has had an affair, for example. Perhaps you are suffering from a terrible betrayal. I appreciate your pain and suffering. But I don’t want you to make it any worse on yourself by trying to do something you just can’t do – being responsible for someone else’s behavior, or trying to change what really happened into something that wasn’t so bad. At the end of the day, I don’t care how you have tried to change your perspective, etc. the dadgum purse is ugly, or as we say in the South, UUUUUUUGLY.
You don’t have to keep it. You can say goodbye – and I mean to the hurt, not the person.
Forgiveness is really a choice, an act of the will. It is not a feeling. It is just a way of acknowledging that something bad happened, that it hurt, that it wasn’t right, that it caused damage, but really, it is not your problem to solve. You can’t solve it. You can accept it and you can decide to let it go. You can decide to give yourself your life back. By the way, no matter how many times you forgive, you will have to forgive again.
People are human, and they are going to be yucky. But every time you forgive, it will become easier. Really, it will become as easy as saying goodbye to an ugly purse.