Forgiveness

It’s easy to say “life is good” when you’ve known no hardship. It’s easy to steer a boat when it has known no storms. It’s easy to forgive somebody when they have done little more than bruise you.

Deep in my mind there’s also a growing list of individuals who have done damage to me over the years. Theft. Deceit. Slander. Betrayal. Attack of character. Manipulation. Financial blows. Heartbreak. Cruelty. These are just some of the attributes a handful of individuals have shown to me in the past 5-10 years.

It’s easy to love those who love you. It’s one of the hardest things in the world to forgive somebody – and wish them the very best in their life – who have intentionally tried to harm and break you.

Perhaps they read my blog. Perhaps they don’t. But these are my words and thoughts to these people.

Dear ______________,

Above all else, I want you to know that I’ve forgiven you. Completely. Not because it is easy, but because it is difficult. And I’ve recognized that the score I’ve kept in my life of those who have done damage to me has only become an internal burden that I must let go of. I may have been one of many people you’ve harmed, or perhaps the only one. That’s life. We make poor choices. It happens. I’m fine.

When I think of the difficult experiences I’ve been through because of the choices you made, my mind tends to be reminded of those very dark moments where I didn’t think it possible to move forward with my life. Yet, I have moved ahead and found peace after the storm.

I hope you are able to find peace. More importantly, I hope you are able to see yourself in the mirror not as somebody who is broken or toxic, but as somebody who deserves the opportunity to live free from the burdens that led you to make the decisions you did.

I will admit that there were many moments in my life where I didn’t want to forgive you; thinking it right for me to hold a grudge and harbor bitterness in my heart. I’ve let it go. Completely.

It may have been easy for you to have harmed me in the ventures we undertook in business, or leave me stranded in a strange city while you stole from me, or even to have betrayed my trust and emotions. It’s very easy to pull a trigger – while it’s excruciating to take a bullet. I want you to know that it didn’t kill me. Instead, the situations only tested my character and put me in a position to realize I cannot hold a grudge for these actions.

You may not have had the same positive people your life that I’ve had; the people who have picked me up when I couldn’t walk, or fed me when I couldn’t eat. Or simply sat with me when there were no words to say. Because of this, I can understand how you may have been led to make the choices you did. Fear and self-preservation can often make us do the unthinkable.

Sometimes it is the void of those who walk us through the hardships in our life that leads us to bestow those hardships upon others. Perhaps you never had somebody to hold you and tell you that you are full of value, worthy of love, capable of success or have reminded you of your true inner value. For that, I can understand why you did what you did. And I am here to tell you that you are deserving of these things. And I hope that you are able to encounter people in your life who can show you love – not hate, loyalty instead of betrayal and acceptance instead of judgement. 

You. Are. Worth. It. 

I hope you’re able to pick yourself up and move forward in such a way with your life that you are able to make positive choices instead of harmful ones. I hope you find acceptance, success and love in your life – as there may have been a lack of of these. More importantly, I hope you are able to look yourself in the mirror and see the value and character you have that is screaming to be let out and allowed to live free.

I wouldn’t have been able to write these words if I hadn’t first taken the challenge to look myself in the mirror and realize that I, too, have value. That I, too, have made mistakes and harmed others. And that I, too, have let myself down from the type of person I know myself to be capable of being.

I wish you the very best. I sincerely hope you find the life you are looking for and are able to be proud of the man/woman that you are – rather than who you have been in the past. I no longer hold the grudge that I carried and hope you are able to find the same freedom I’ve experienced by letting go. You can do it.

Authentically, 

Aaron Plaat

This note is for five people. I saw the very best, and what seemed to be the worst, in each of these people. They are all incredible people, capable of doing what they set their minds to. I believe each of them has the full ability to discover and unleash this potential.

Everybody needs a second chance. Some people may need a third. It’s not our duty or responsibility to decide where the love and forgiveness stops, but to continue to forgive and love without limits.

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