"For me, forgiveness and compassion are linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrong doing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed." - Bell Hooks
We are all human. We are all imperfect. In my better moments, I am aware that those who have hurt me were doing the best they could with what they know at the time. There are infinite unknown pressures, concerns and stressors on all of us. I can never know someone else's motivations. They may not even know their own motivations. We are all, often, living with a lack of awareness.
When we forgive, we let go of the expectations and dreams we had for the other person. Often when I feel hurt, it is because someone did not live up to being the person I thought they could be. Forgiveness requires that I allow them to be the person they are.
When asked how he was able to forgive those that unjustly imprisoned him, Nelson Mandela said, "When I walked out of the gate, I knew that if I continued to hate those people, I was still in prison."
"Forgiveness is the only way to heal ourselves and to be free of the past. Without forgiveness, we remain tethered to the person who harmed us. We are bound to the chains of bitterness, tied together, trapped. Until we can forgive the person who harmed us, that person will hold the keys to our happiness, that person will be our jailor. When we forgive, we take back control of our own fate and our feelings. We become our own liberator." - Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mphu