On hatred & forgiveness

Hatred is one of the nastiest emotions known to mankind, I think. It’s like a demolition derby for the mind, soul and body. 

Hold onto it and it’s like holding onto acid – it’ll eat you from the inside out, corrode your parts and overtake your existence. 

As a buck-toothed kid, Dad often warned me about the dangers of hatred and base emotions. He’d noticed a pattern in his life: Those who had earned his angst had also, eventually, been on the receiving end of a cosmic comeuppance. His point: That he tried darned hard to control his anger because those who were at the vortex of its creation seemed to reap unintended negative shockwaves, eventually. More: That since I was the kid – his kid – I, too, should get control of my anger, if only to keep those shockwaves in check. 

It took a few years, but I’ve come to a different conclusion from the Dad – not on the must of anger control, but on what happens on the anger front. My hunch goes something like this: If someone has done enough to prick and sow anger emotions and chooses to stay in that emotional realm, she’ll sow her own shockwaves. I think of it like the waves from rocks tossed into a still pond. They spread out, intersect with other waves and, eventually, come back. 

But Dad was right, even if I’ve somewhat morphed his intended lesson: Letting loose of anger, and allowing it to overtake you, corrodes and, eventually, will destroy its vessel. 

That’s why, I think, forgiveness is necessary. And not to let others off of the hook. It keeps the intentional – or unintentional – infliction of pain minimal. And keeps one from becoming an unwitting accomplice in self destruction. 

But forgiveness ain’t the same as forgetfulness. Or justice. And sometimes justice takes a lot longer than forgiveness. But cosmically, sadly, it doesn’t. And pain is never easy to see, no matter who is suffering. 


NPR story about the health benefits of forgiveness here.


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