What you are today is the culmination of all of your past life experiences. This is Jacob's Ladder. Each rung climbed, hand over hand, upward in the journey to one's own ascendancy. Man is judged for what is now, not what was. What is today has greater significance than what was yesterday and what will be tomorrow is of greater import than what is now. While there is life, there is also the opportunity to change that which is poor into something better.
The average person, when confronted with their own miscreance, escapes into well established patterns of denial. 'It isn't my fault'. 'It's my fault BUT (fill in the excuse or rationalization)'. 'I may be bad but he/she is worse than me'. I could fill pages with the many excuses one has for not confronting the truth of themselves. Yet, in the end, who is really hurt?
I've already written about the relationships between love, tolerance and compassion. Unfortunately, while those words and ideas may appeal to some on an intellectual level, the person who dedicates himself to the denial of what he is has no hope of an emotional understanding unless and until he is willing to confront those negative aspects, give recognition to the truth of them and then move on into more positive behaviors.
I once knew a psycho-therapist who related this story:
A man comes to her and tells her that he has a terrible problem. He is a cross dresser. When he has the urge to change into women's clothes, he drops everything he is doing and indulges. This naturally causes him to lose his jobs and without employment, paying the rent and supporting himself had become problematical.
She asked him to stand up, walk across the room and pick up an ashtray. He did so. Then to walk it over and hand it to her, he did. She then asked, 'IF you had the urge to change clothes while you were performing this task, what was there to stop you from following through with the request?' He said, 'Nothing'. She informed him that his problem was solved and, amazingly, the man got the point. This particular individual worked as a shipping clerk where few actually saw him. She suggested that he discuss the situation with his employer and see if it would be ok if he cross dressed at work. In the end, all worked out well. The employer was agreeable and the man no longer had to worry about losing his job due to his compulsion. Problems have solutions if they are confronted and addressed.
Yet, what of the ancient hurts wherein solutions are impractical to impossible. What of the myriad of people who have caused hurt, suffering and pain to us, what can be done with them?
We have no ability to alter anyone's evolutionary moment. We are what we are and they are what they are. If you were molested as a child, can you go back in time and remove the injury? No. Can you wipe out the trauma done to you? No. Will you continue to live as a victim of the injury paying it homage everyday of your life? Many do.
The harm done us by others has lasting consequences but it doesn't have to be so. In our pain, we perpetuate the evil done by codifying it into our daily existence under the labels of regret, hate, and anger. While all of these emotions may be appropriate and fitting to the deed done against us, they also serve to eat us alive like a slow emotional cancer. There is a solution, Forgiveness.
Let it go. Leaving the pain behind you does not mean that you will suddenly get stupid and leave yourself open for more suffering. To the contrary, you will have learned from the experience. Regardless, to have gained the wisdom of the experience does not mean you have to let it feed on your soul. Forgiveness can be granted to another individual for the harm done to you. However, it can also be granted so as to liberate yourself from that evil done. Whether the other party can accept your forgiveness is not the point and it doesn't matter. Forgiveness is a granting, a gift. Yet, in the giving, you are also giving yourself the proverbial new lease on life. Free your soul from these burdens. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.