I came to a clear understanding a few years ago that we all do the best we can with our level of awareness. When we know better, we do better. When we don’t know better, we tend to be more hurtful to others and ourselves.
I think of my loving mom who didn’t support significant life changing decisions. I used to resent this whenever my thoughts ventured into the past. Nowadays, I look back with an open heart that comes from understanding that mom came from a different culture from the one I was raised in, so her approach and perception of life were different from mine.
I forgive myself for not understanding.
On a more challenging note, I have a friend whose mother was killed by a drunk driver. The driver went to jail, and she spent years angry at him. It was an overwhelming burden that plunged her into a deep depression and attempted suicide.
After spending a lot of time doing soul searching, she decided to forgive and visited him in prison, got to know him and found he was remorseful for his actions. He was a good man with a serious problem with alcohol for which he was rehabilitated.
She campaigned to have him released from prison and succeeded. She got her life back and gave the man a second chance. Nowadays they are good friends.
The power of forgiveness is freeing for the soul and can change the future.
“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” ― C.R. Strahan
“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” – Louis B. Smedes
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ― Mark Twain