Forgiveness and gratitude

They say we cannot start healing until we forgive. And that entails forgiving the other and ourselves. However, it is easier to forgive another person than it is to forgive ourselves. Maybe it is because, in order to forgive ourselves, we first have to confess our sins. And to confess our sins is to admit that we are not as perfect or as good or as virtuous as we deem ourselves to be. So we have to first forgive ourselves for being imperfect before we can even forgive ourselves for our transgressions.

And when all the forgiving is done, we're still left feeling that something was taken away from us. As though we were denied future happiness, as though our dreams were snatched away. We lose trust in the other; we become defensive. And we close off a part of ourselves from the world. Instead of opening up to new loves, to new joys, to new experiences, we become more cautious. And we shield ourselves from precisely the experiences we're looking for.

But, now, I realize that forgiveness is only the first step. Perhaps even an unnecessary step.

You see, it doesn't matter why a relationship -- whether romantic or platonic -- ended. Not at all. That's because the whole relationship -- from the moment you meet until the day you part ways -- is a gift. A shared gift from both souls to each other and to themselves. All the joys, all the laughter, all the memories. Even the ending of the relationship, the transgression, is part of the gift, as well as all the other lessons that came with it. The ending of the relationship teaches us to appreciate the gift in its entirety and all other gifts we share with other souls. It teaches us to cherish each moment of that gift because it is transient, as all wonderful gifts are.

When we are given a gift, we don't say, "I forgive you." No, we say, "Thank you." And when we say thank you, when we are grateful, our hearts remain full and overflowing. Nothing is taken away from us; everything is given to us. There is nothing to forgive; there is no lack either in ourselves or in the other; there is no transgression.

And the next time we are offered a gift, we reach out and accept it gratefully. Because we remember that the last gift filled our hearts with joy and our minds with wisdom.

"To err is human; to forgive divine." -- Alexander Pope
"To err is human; to forgive wise; to be grateful divine." -- Opal Lei

Gracias. Mahalo. Danke. Tak. Merci. Arigato. Dziekuje. Meda wo ase. Diolch. Doh je. Komapsumnida. Grazie. Efharisto. Shukria. Xie xie. Salamat. Obrigada. Thank you.