Forget Your Enemies If You Can’t Forgive Them

You will only be able to attain a truly positive attitude when you have learned how to relinquish all negative emotions and thoughts and to bless and be grateful for everything in your life. This includes forgiving people who have caused you harm and who you consider to be your enemies.

True forgiveness is hard for many people. For most people the ability to forgive exists in direct proportion to the magnitude of the harm. If a stranger bumps into you and causes momentary pain but no lasting damage, you will probably experience a brief flash of anger but you will soon forget all about the incident. If the stranger crossed your path again and asked for your forgiveness, you would not hesitate to grant it. Forgiveness is easy when the injury is slight.

The situation would be different in a case where somebody has caused you serious long-term harm. If a stranger caused you physical harm deliberately or through wanton carelessness, you might indulge in the wish that a similar accident would befall that person. If the damage meant that you would suffer from pain (through no fault of your own) for the rest of your life, your anger and your wish to see the other person suffer would continually reappear. Each onset of pain would act as a trigger for negative thoughts.

Do the thoughts of revenge and hate harm your enemy? No, your enemy will suffer no harm from your thoughts. The only person they will damage is you. Your thoughts are not like silver bullets that will fly out and strike down the transgressor; they are like a poisonous gas which will linger in your mind and stifle positive feelings. You must take deliberate action to replace the poison of negativity with the pure air of positive thoughts.

To fill ourselves with positive thoughts and feelings, we must drive out all negativity. This, however, is often easier to say than to do. Some people find it hard to forgive. If you are long on memory and short on forgiveness, how can you have good, positive thoughts about a person who has inflicted injury upon you? It is harder and takes longer in cases where the wound, whether physical or emotional, is deep and new.

You might find it possible to pray for the other person but true forgiveness would not be within you. The memory of the wound will never be far from your thoughts and you will be filled with feelings of anger and hatred every time you think of the person responsible. True forgiveness will only become possible with the passing of time when the wound has had time to heal and your memory of the incident is less sharp. As time passes you will think of your misfortune less and less often. Eventually you will be able to let go of all your negative thoughts about what happened and rejoice in the here and now.

If you cannot find it in yourself to truly forgive your enemy, you can take action to protect yourself against the damage harmful negative thoughts would cause to you. In order to avoid adding negativity to your suffering, the best defence is to avoid thinking about the other person until the bad memories have faded sufficiently. Any time the image of the other person enters your mind, push it away with thoughts of other people and deliberately concentrate on more pleasant subjects.

By refusing to dwell on what you can’t change, you can defend yourself against negativity until the day arrives when the memory is no longer vivid. You will be able to remember the pain without suffering it. You will be able to think of your enemy without rancour. You will give your bad experience its rightful place as part of history, something you cannot alter and which cannot harm you. You will be a survivor and you will be able to truly forgive and move on.