Alena Shekhovtcova

Go Into The New Year With Forgiveness

I want to talk about forgiveness. As we enter the new year, I would like you to go into it with a lighter heart. I would like you to forgive yourself for your mistakes, forgive those who have hurt you, and seek forgiveness from those you have wronged. You will sleep better, wake up more hopeful, and have less to carry with you throughout the day. You will have more clarity about life, and hopefully you will smile more often. 

To forgive yourself, accept that you’ve made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes, maybe even the same ones. But if you are willing to learn from each mistake, you will grow wiser and stronger in character. Just try your best—that’s all you can do. It will be okay at the end of the day. And if not, there is always tomorrow. 

After my mom passed away, I struggled a lot with the guilt of having been a terrible daughter to her. It hurt that I couldn’t apologize to her in person for all the times I argued with her or didn’t want to spend time with her. Eventually, I realized she wouldn’t want me to dwell on the past. The guilt still comes to me in moments when I miss her, but I don’t carry it with me every day anymore. I just try to be a better person every day and I know she would be proud of the person I am today. 

When forgiving others, you have to determine if they hurt you because it was you personally or if it’s really an issue they are dealing with. More often, it’s the latter. Maybe they were insecure or feeling hurt and reacted impulsively. Maybe they are afraid to apologize because they know they are wrong. Give them the gift of forgiveness this holiday season, whether or not they apologize. You will feel lighter and they will, too. 

It’s okay if you can’t forgive them completely yet. Even giving partial forgiveness is a start. Time and a commitment to forgive will help you give them complete forgiveness one day. 

I have been working hard this year to forgive my father. I thought our grief would bring us closer, but it hasn’t. I know I can’t change him after trying to make him understand how he makes me feel unloved and unnoticed. I don’t think we will ever be on the same page, but he is my father. I know my mom wouldn’t want me to harbor these feelings of anger towards him any longer, especially now as he’s getting older. There will always be a feeling of hurt and disappointment that I’ll feel when I think of him, but now I’m able to take a deep breath and let it go when I exhale. I do feel lighter having forgiven him somewhat and I’m able to let his hurtful comments pass right through me with little or no effect. Sometimes I can even laugh at how ridiculous he is and take comfort in knowing I’ve tried my best with him. 

If you are seeking forgiveness, see if the person is willing to listen to your apology. Be honest and accept their decision to forgive you or not. Be mindful of being frustrated with them if they are slow to forgive and think about how you would feel in their shoes. Commit to the process of making amends and show them how sincere you are. If you try your best and it doesn’t work out, then be satisfied with your effort. Try to be a better person next time if the same situation arises in your life again.

Seeking forgiveness has been the hardest task for me in my life. Now that I’m older, I’m working on admitting I’m wrong right away. I hurt someone very much last year and it was a struggle to gain his complete forgiveness. I still get frustrated when he refers back to my actions, but I understand that’s how he copes with it. I think he’s forgiven me completely, but it was a long process and took a lot of patience and communication about our feelings. It was a challenge, but well worth the effort.

Some things may be unforgivable, but I believe we all possess a great capacity for forgiveness if we really try. I hope you can forgive everyone who has hurt you, even if you have to do it one person at a time and at your own pace. Even if it’s just yourself. You owe yourself that peace. Furthermore, I hope that you have the courage to seek forgiveness from those you have wronged. You will feel better knowing you tried, regardless of the outcome.