“Life’s too short.” We hear this phrase often. It or its equivalent can be found on coffee cups, bumper stickers and t-shirts. But anyone who has ever spent any time being hurt or angry or livid has probably noticed that in these moments, life is anything but too short. The pain, whether dull or intense, makes the wheels of life feel like they are moving through deep, thick mud. And the more we try to push them through, the deeper into the muck we sink.
In these moments, words like “justified” or “right” too quickly become our guiding principles and with every doubling down of insisting the validity of our side, we tighten the shackles that keep us enslaved to the pain that appears to have only one salve – the full and complete apology and submission to us and our knowledge (not belief) of exactly what transpired.
The thing is that, if we’re honest with our selves, the only thing that anger actually begets is more anger. And the only thing that hurt begets is more hurt. And in these moments, life moves ever more slowly and we aren’t moving forward. The only motion available to us in these moments is “none” or “backwards.” Life moves so slowly in these situations because we are rehashing and reliving the past, unwilling to let go of what we feel right now.
There is really only one mechanism, one strategy to get the wheels moving again and that is, Forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t an act that lifts the responsibility from the shoulders of the one who hurt us or caused us pain. Forgiveness is the activation of our own volition that releases us from staying stuck in the muck.
Getting out from under the burden of our own anger is the first step to living a happier, more contented life that justifiably makes us regret how short but sweet our lives are. The longer we hold on to our anger and wear it as a coat of armor from head to toe, the more we will be blind, disconnected, and hardened to the life around us. So take off that armor and allow the vulnerability that results, to shine a light on what is true and real and important for you today and into tomorrow.