Dear Hatred, I Forgive You

The world has been filled with violence and hatred for as long as history has stood. One foul exchange of words can start a century of feuds. We find motivation in rivalry, we feel empowered by hatred, and it starts at school age when we slander the other team’s name, or exclude the other kids from our clique. The world I am seeing as an adult is not the world I remember as a child, and the fear of violence as I was a youth doesn’t come close to what I feel our youth of today have to live through. Hatred and judgement, ridicule of what is misunderstood, betrayal of trust and the removal of a human touch factor has removed humanity from humans.

Often children who become bullies in school express that behavior because of a difficult home life, or suffered an innocence shattering experience where they were the victim. Empowerment came from victimizing someone else. I often wonder if those involved in mass shootings and bombings do it because they grew up being victimized and never had a support system or way to express it, and so they snapped and just took it out on the world. Sometimes I wonder if in those crowds, was one person, who might have been able to make a difference, who may have mistreated that shooter, who is now taking it out on everyone else. Hatred only stems from hatred, and if we grow up and learn the lesson of Elsa to “Let It Go”, would the world be suffering from so much hatred and cruelty? Would we be seeing all this violence?

The month of December is supposed to be about joy and unity. It is a month to reflect and be thankful and to give to others as you have been given. But as we look back on the year, do we still hold grudges? Do we remember the moments of mistreatment or belittlement? Do we feel bitter towards another human? As I look forward to the joyous celebrations to come, the moments with friends and family that have already begun, I can think of one lesson that seems to be repeated in Sacrament meetings around this time of year, Forgive and Forget.

So often I just brush off the cruelties, and try to forget, but if there is anything I have learned from this year, life can move on, but the hurt will always stay strong if never addressed. So before I continue living one more moment, I want to forgive and forget all the horrible ones, for I have been blessed with the gift of a life worth living, and a life filled with moments and experiences to look forward to. I no longer want to look back. So this is my goodbye to life’s moments of hatred and cruelty.

To All Those Ill Encounters In My Life, This is For You

To those who mistook my kindness as a freeloading way to take advantage of me, to steal from me, to betray me, I forgive you. For I hope your needs were greater than mine, and I hope you gave what you took to someone else in need. I live the rest of my days knowing I helped you, and hope you helped another.

To those who belittled my experience and judged me for my interest, I forgive you. For I have heard that we often fear what we don’t understand, and belittle those to make ourselves feel empowered. I don’t take your cruel words to heart, because I can only hope one day you will learn to open your heart to knowledge as a way of empowerment.

To those who made me feel like my life was undeserved, who pushed me to consider suicide as a youth, I forgive you. For I can only imagine your life must have been difficult, and you must have been jealous of the little girl who had joy in her eyes, and a smile that lit up a room. I can only imagine your home life must not have been great, and your behavior was an outlet. I hope you found happiness as an adult, as I have continued to live my life with joy.

To any person who ever mistreated me, I forgive you. For your ill feelings, your unkind words, your mistreatment may have broken a little girls spirit, but it helped a woman come from the ashes with an appreciation for life’s blessings, no matter how big or small.

Maybe I should thank you all, for life is full of experience, and had I never been belittled, never been judged, never been taken advantage of, or never mistreated, I wouldn’t know joy in sharing, I wouldn’t know love felt through hugs, I wouldn’t know kindness from a stranger, I wouldn’t know empowerment through knowledge, I wouldn’t know strength from within, I wouldn’t know what a blessing my life is.

Whether you care to be forgiven, I’m letting you go, because your name has already been forgotten, and now your mistreatment is too. May you experience joy and forgive yourself.

May the world learn to forgive more, love more, and be kinder to each other. Life is too short to fill it with grudges, hurt and pain. Open your life to joy, love and happiness.

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