My world was consumed with hatred. I lived hatred. I breathed hatred. The depths of me were filled with hatred. I was consumed. Hatred took over my life and turned everything black.
The thing with my world being consumed with darkness means that the world of those around me also began to dim. It was spreading like a wildfire. No way to stop it until I decided that forgiveness was the only solution.
I needed to be reunited with my inner self. We needed to find a truce. My inside and outside worlds were conflicting with each other with no end in sight and that was dragging me down into a hole that I couldn't regain strength in.
"I forgive you." It started with just the words. The words held no meaning in the beginning. I just needed to say them. Allow me to hear the tone that they took as they left my mouth. I laughed at them. Believing that they would never really mean anything. That forgiveness was not a possibility in my world of darkness.
How did I go from hatred to forgiveness?
I created a list. A list of the positives that I have experienced in my life. A list that would look completely different if 2003 hadn't have happened. A list that gets longer every day that I walk this Earth.
With this list in my hand, the phrase, I forgive you, started to take on a different meaning. I slowly began to feel peace. Like this heavy weight was lifted off of my chest and I was able to breathe fully. I was no longer being held down by hatred. The strong grip that it was held on me was loosening.
For me, forgiveness had to be given to 2 different people in order for my life to see a drastic change. I had to forgive him. That's where my list came in handy. Without him, I would not be where I currently am today. Does that excuse what happened? Of course not. There are parts of that day that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Moments when emotion takes over and I freeze, unsure of how to take my next breath without collapsing.
The thing with forgiveness is that it isn't for the other person. It's for you. It allows you to release the darkness, the negativity, the control that the other person has over you. I gave him 11 years of my life. 11 years I allowed his control, his greed, his selfishness to plague my life. I was NO longer going to allow him that. I couldn't afford to give him that right anymore. Forgiveness was the ONLY option I had left.
The second person I had to forgive was myself. Forgiveness for allowing myself to give him that control. To believe that I was at fault for something that I couldn't control. Forgiveness for believing EVERYTHING that was running through my head. This was harder than forgiving him. I had been repeating those same words for 11 years.
It's my fault.
I should have done something differently.
How could I be so stupid?
I deserved it.
I am not worthy of love.
Oh, the list could go on and on. I had to retrain myself. I had to say, "I'm sorry Samantha. I'm sorry for not believing in you. I'm sorry for believing those horrible thoughts about you. I'm sorry for everything I have said about you."
Forgiveness isn't overnight. Forgiveness isn't something that will change your life instantly. It is a process. It is deliberately allowing yourself to say, I forgive you, every day. Possibly for the rest of your life.
I came to realize that I deserved love. Love is the opposite of hate and forgiveness was my only option.
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." Lewis B. Smedes