Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Personal Philosophy on Forgiveness

Did you ever read the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower? If not, you may have seen the movie. I haven't seen it yet, but I hear it's quite good. Do you ever read books and they help you define your own personal, life philosophies? Not that they give you the philosophies, but they help you put them in words?
I wrote down a huge section of that book, so I could share the quotations that helped provide validation for my thoughts, but I can't find them now and I don't own the book yet, so I'll go from memory.

As a Christian, I've always valued forgiveness, in that sense that Jesus told his followers to turn the other cheek and forgive 7 X 70 times, etc.... but I've always wrestled with what exactly that means, why that's important, and how to tell other people that bitterness isn't the way. Bad things happen to people ALL the time, every day, and how do we not allow those things going on in society and in our personal lives to ruin us?
At the end of the book, Charlie reveals something to the reader, which I won't get into here, and I'm sorry if this is a spoiler. He has to decide how to internalize the situation.
Charlie decides to forgive.

The character explains that everyone in the world faces difficulties, and it isn't fair to judge who's problem is worse, because to each person, that obstacle is gigantic. He explains he will never tell his children that people in China have it worse, because what they are going through at that moment is important to them.
What defines us, isn't the bad thing that happens.... although it can if we let it.

The problem with letting bad things overwhelm us and define us is that ... it keeps the cycle of hurt going. When we are hurt, our pain causes us to hurt other people, whether intentionally or not. If we are withdrawn, people feel hurt that we don't care enough to let them in. If we are aggressive, the aggression lets us steam roll over other people's feelings. I'm making the issues abstract here, but I think you see where I'm going with this.

Bad things happen to us... often because of those closest to us.
But we can choose to accept that those people were hurt at some point and that is likely the reason they hurt us. Does this mean we should hate them? Or realize that despite what they did, they gave us two presents for our birthday (in Charlie's case) or showed us how to draw a 3D pop can (in my case) - they may have done bad things, but there could be good memories in there too? Does this mean however, we let them into our lives despite everything? That's for the individual to decide. 
But the only way to stop the cycle of hurt, is to stop being hurt.
Except the bad things as part of life, but realize YOU ARE NOT THE BAD THINGS.
Be who you are right now.
Don't worry about what's back, or even what's forward. This moment, this VERY MOMENT, is real.



Clary Collins said...

This is really good. I love the book and movie. I love how you have portrayed it. Well done. Please could you check out my blog. Thanks. :)

Teddi said...

these photos are exquisite! i agree that it's important to know bad things happen, but that doesn't mean we are bad.