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Mon May 22, 2017, 01:38 AM

The Compassion Files: Forgiveness

I'm not very knowledgeable about Buddhism, but I do know this: holding a grudge is not wholesome.

I've gone through some bad times in my life, probably like most people. Some people did bad things to me when I was growing up that caused me a particularly intense round of suffering through the decade of my twenties. But I got through all of that and managed to forgive them. That took me another decade, but it felt very good letting all of that pain go. I still know those people, but when I am in their presence now I can honestly say that I feel no anger or hatred.

So I kind of thought that I was through with that sort of thing, not just for those who have wronged me, but also for myself and all of humanity. Understanding how I had hurt people in the past helped me open up my heart to a greater degree for everyone. If I was going to hate someone for what they had done to me I was going to have to hate myself as well if I wasn't going to be a hypocrite, because I am certainly no angel.

But something toxic has been creeping into my consciousness, lately. Last July I got fired from a job due to someone playing political games in the workplace. I was a good worker, but I think this person felt threatened by me because I had more education than him. I had no intentions of trying to climb over anyone on the corporate ladder. I was content to be doing just what I was doing and this guy was sort of my boss. It's just ego games. We probably all understand here that if you are heavily identified with the ego you are going to feel insecure.

Well, that pissed me off, but it has worked out okay. I found a job a month later working less and making more. I also work by myself now so I don't have to worry about people trying to mess with my job. As long as I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing all is well. I've only talked to my boss a handful of times since I started working there and I've only seen him once. Everything is copacetic.

But I was just sitting here reading tonight and I suddenly felt some resentment for what that guy did to me at the other job. I thought I had put it behind me, but I realize now that I had not forgiven him. I was attentive to the way it made me feel. It was like someone had injected some poison into my psyche and it was starting to burn with hate and anger. It was destroying the serenity of my peaceful night here with my books. I started to fantasize about meeting him around town by chance and giving him a piece of my mind. This has got to stop.

That resentment has been with me ever since I was fired, but I have not been conscious enough of it to forgive the guy and let it go.

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Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Compassion Files: Forgiveness (Original post)
Tobin S. May 2017 OP
shraby May 2017 #1
onecaliberal May 2017 #2
safeinOhio May 2017 #3
madaboutharry May 2017 #4

Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon May 22, 2017, 01:47 AM

1. You need to not only forgive, you need to forget. Tell yourself you don't have time to

waste dwelling on it and change the subject immediately in your mind. Think of something pleasant you can remember.
Pretty soon by not giving bad thoughts a place in your mind, the memory will get dimmer. It may never go away, but it will be a distant memory.
Don't give that person power over your thoughts. Take charge and consciously put it out of your mind each and every time.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon May 22, 2017, 01:55 AM

2. He's renting space in your head for free and he couldn't care less. He's not spending a second

Worrying about you. The disturbance is yours to set free. He's not worth a nano second of your time. You ended up in a better situation. Karma will catch up to him.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon May 22, 2017, 06:17 AM

3. I think you are doing fine, just over thinking the problem.

Some emotions take time. Like when someone very close to you dies. At first you will think about it and feel the pain almost every second. As time goes by you find longer and longer periods of not thinking about your lose. As time goes by you will find your thoughts about the person change to more positive thoughts and less about the pain. In the same way, your grudge will fade. You might find that embracing it at first may help cut the time it takes by being conscious of your thoughts. Or may be not.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Wed May 24, 2017, 12:16 AM

4. I think that sometimes it is hard to move on.

This is especially true when some person you haven't chosen to be in your life, like a supervisor or boss, swoops down in your life and messes things up. Or when someone damages a relationship you have with another person. I think these resentments are difficult to get past.

When I find myself getting angry or upset by something that has happened and that I can't do anything about, I try to tell myself how this other person doesn't know how I'm feeling and that I'm letting them hurt me again.

I sometimes will read passages or comments in a book about Buddhism or Buddhist thoughts and then write down something I read. It helps bring your mind along to more positive thoughts.

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