FORGIVENESS Is The Gift You Give Yourself

If someone really hurts your feelings, do you forgive them? I’m Harold Sanders and this is hard for me. Maybe it is for you, too. Let me tell you what I mean. When I was young, I was bullied at school. We didn’t live in Shady Pines Story Town when I was a kid. I grew up in the city.

Back then, I was skinny and tall, and I wore glasses. My family didn’t have much money. Most of the time I had to wear hand-me-down clothes from family members or from the thrift store.

The other kids in school would make fun of me and call me names like, Four Eyes, Bean Pole, and Bum. I tried not to show it, but those words and the way they said them, really hurt me. It made me mad. I felt like an outsider.

The cool kids would sit together at lunch, but they wouldn’t let me sit with them. I was always the last to be picked for teams, if they let me play at all.  You get the idea.

It got so bad I didn’t want to go to school. I was afraid to answer questions in class ‘cause the other kids would make fun of me later. The teacher thought I didn’t want to be part of the discussion. But that wasn’t true. I was  afraid I would be teased.

My mom and dad tried to comfort me. They said they would talk to the principal of the school about what was happening. I told them not to do that. I knew if the guys who bullied me the most got into trouble, they’d only make it worse for me. My parents were upset, and I felt helpless.

Back then there was no internet, no social media, and no cell phones. Children today have it so much worse because they can be bullied online right in their own room! I can’t imagine what that must be like. That has to be awful.

I was so happy when my dad got a new job and we had to move. In my new school, people were nice and welcoming. I started to play sports and discovered how much fun it was to be on a team. Finally, the fact I was tall helped me when it came to basketball. I started to get a little more confident. My grades got better. Mom liked that.

I think when I finally had a chance to experience kindness and compassion, it made all the difference in my life.

I know for sure it’s helped me appreciate the wonderful community of Shady Pines where we try to be like that all the time.

These days my wife, Edna, is my rock. I know how much she loves me and I love her so much. It also helps that we adopted Boomerang, an Australian Shepherd dog, and Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat. Those two critters are our kids. They made me understand unconditional love, and the incredible amount of patience you need to be a parent!A happy family hugging their pets

Being surrounded by love is helping me let go of the anger I carried around for so long. I now forgive the kids who hurt me when I was young. And, you what? I feel better. I can’t change what they did. But I’m learning that I can change the way I react.

It’s funny, but I have learned to forgive my friends, co-workers, and family members when things don’t go as planned or they accidently do something that hurts my feelings. I feel better not holding on to anger. But I am very slow to forgive myself when I do something wrong. Isn’t that weird?

Here are the four things I did to begin to work on forgiveness. You can read more about these steps (HERE.)

1. Uncover your anger

2. Decide to forgive

3. Work on forgiveness

4. Release from emotional pain

Learning forgiveness is an ongoing process, I guess. So, while you learn that it’s important to forgive others, don’t forget to go a little easier on yourself.