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Finding Forgiveness

When I went off to college, my high school girlfriend was a bit put off. She called on a Saturday night and apparently, I wasn’t in a proper condition to talk to her (I was a freshman at MSU…It happens). When I came home from school at winter break, we went out and she said some words to me I have never forgotten. I was on a full scholarship to attend MSU thanks to some good grades, a summer job as a golf caddy, and a formidable former amateur golfer named Chick Evans. Anyway, when we went out, she said this to me.

“They wasted a scholarship on you. All you do is party.”

Mind you, she only called once during a party. When she would call on a Wednesday or a Monday and I was at the library, I guess those calls did not count. I talked to my father about this, and he said something to me I also never forgot.

“In four years, one of you is going to be right.”

Now that is wisdom. Fast forward four (ok, five) years later and I received my degree from MSU. We found out who was right. Now, I used her words to motivate me. Even though I was angry and hurt by what she said. It took a long time after graduation for me to forgive her. That anger was very warm and comforting. It is hard to walk away from that warm flame. Finally, I was able to. I never talked to her again after graduation, but I did not need to. I discovered an immutable truth about life.

Forgiveness isn’t for them; it is for you.

Let me say that again. Forgiveness isn’t for them; it is for you. The flame of anger and hatred burns far too hot to sustain a person for any length of time. It may seem like we can control that flame, but it controls us. If we are to truly be a Tribe of Up and to advocate for more joy in our lives, forgiveness is an absolute must. Some will argue that forgiveness equates to weakness. I could not disagree more. Forgiveness takes great strength. We forgive to free ourselves of the yoke of anger and hatred. We cannot teach others to forgive if we are secretly hiding unforgiving anger towards someone or something else. Joy and up frees us from these things.

I have authored many articles over the past year and a half. Never have I been more hopeful these words are taken to heart than these. Forgive dear friends. Lay that weight down and walk away. Just walk away. Liberating yourself by forgiveness truly allows us to be able to make meaningful deposits in others lives. If you are having trouble with this, reach out to me. There was a time I was the heavyweight champion of holding on to anger and hatred. Through a great deal of patience, faith, practice, failure and repeating all these things and more, one of the most valuable lessons in life was learned. Forgiveness is not for the person; it is for you. You can do it. Our tribe is here to help you.

Steve is a Dexter resident, and the Owner, Vice President of Forgiveness Practicing, Tribe of Up Entertainment Officer and Much Happier Guy Since He Forgives at Better Place Consulting, a success and career coaching organization. Reach out to him at Steve@betterplacemgmt.com.

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