Often in life we will find that people let us down or hurt us, often this is unintentional but unpleasant nonetheless. We can also find ourselves holding onto to these feelings and experiences. This is normal, after all we are evolutionarily programmed to retain negative experiences more so than we do positive ones. This is borne from an instinct of survival but can also make life harder than it has to be for us. Nobody is perfect and people do make mistakes. Learning to let go of the negative feelings that come with finding yourself let down by somebody, can be difficult but also transformational.
I’m writing about this as it is somewhere my practice has lead me recently. I have been focusing in my practice on times when people have been kind, generous and forgiving towards me as this is something that brings me a lot of joy and comfort. However to do this without looking at those negative experiences I have already mentioned can be like wearing blinkers. Recently in my life I have been let down by various people I have been very close to, and forgiving them for this has been immensely freeing. Looking at these instances not as somebody being malicious towards me but as someone acting within the circumstances they are living in has given me a much more grounded understanding of the events.
How often do people act out of malice or with intention to hurt others? I think people act with these intentions very rarely and in specific circumstances. I know for sure that the people who have let me down recently had no intention of causing harm, and remembering this has been central to forgiving them. Letting go of these negative feelings and the hurt they caused has allowed me to continue to build deep and more meaningful relationships with people who I may otherwise have held at arm’s length. Furthering this, looking at these situations as not only something that happened to me but also to the other person/people involved has been a great help, while also deepening my experience of the connectivity of all things. I am really enjoying my newly expanded capacity for compassion and forgiveness and also the relationships this has allowed me to maintain. I am looking forward to a future of connection with others, in the full knowledge that people may let you down but that’s okay because nobody is perfect and we are all just trying our best!
I think this is a great lesson to take into the upcoming Christmas season, seeing family and friends old and new. Take time to focus on forgiveness, understanding and enjoying the positive moments this season is sure to hold for each of us.
Writing this has brought to mind some beautiful lyric’s from a song I like:
‘What’s the use of stacking on every failure another stone. Until you spend your whole life building walls.’ Old Before Your Time. Ray LaMontagne
I think this really speaks to what I’m talking about here, and explains it much better.
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