72 Secrets to Happiness
Secret 30 Forgive


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To forgive is not a sign of weakness.  In fact it takes more courage, work, and effort to forgive.  If you hold a grudge or have trouble forgiving then the real harm is to yourself and your ability to find happiness or contentment in your life.

Forgiveness is opposite from hate.  If you hold a grudge or hate or avoid someone then you are making a negative judgment about that person.  All judgments of others are applied directly to yourself.  If you think someone is dishonest then you believe you are dishonest as well.  On the other hand if you think you are honest all the time then you are being dishonest about your honesty and condemning yourself to discontent and unhappiness.

So how does this work?  Negative thoughts harm the thinker, and all human beings are a little dishonest.  By being dishonest the judgment you make about others is held against you as well.  You can not have it both ways.  Either you are accepting and tolerant or you are not; only acceptance and tolerance can bring happiness to your life.

If you can forgive others then you can forgive yourself as well, and we all need to be a little forgiving to ourselves from time to time.  Who doesn't do dumb things and say stupid stuff from time to time?  It simply is not possible to give yourself a pass if you are unwilling to give others the benefit of being less than perfect.

It is not about teaching the other person a lesson, or getting even, it is about finding personal satisfaction by being able to forgive yourself.  Thinking that your judgment and unforgiving nature is not coming back to effect your personal well being, is simply ignorant and makes you a prisoner of your own making.  See Secret 17 Trapped for more information about how harmful negative thinking can be to your life and happiness.

Realize that forgiving others does not condone their  behavior or exempt them from asking for forgiveness, it just means that you are not willing to give up your personal happiness by refusing to forgive others for their less than perfect actions.  If they are truly bad people then they will punish themselves.  It may not seem that way to you but you are not inside their reality and cannot see the anguish, shame, and chaos that they are certain to have.  That is just the way it works.
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