(Reposting a post from ‘Jharokha’)

We all go through tough times in our lifetimes. Many a times, the grief has been brought upon by someone close to us, causing a lot of frustration and anger to reside within us. If these emotions dwell inside a mind for too long, they end up spoiling the strength and peace of that person. So it is always best to get rid of anger, to forgive the ones who hurt you.

Easier said than done, many would argue. Yes, it is really tough to forgive someone without venting out what you might be holding inside you; without saying what you ought to have said (of course, to get back); and without pointing fingers and hurting them in return. But before you get onto such a path, do ask yourself what the higher gain would be, from such an endeavor. Will you achieve peace or joy? I am sure you will not. When you start to take a step towards blaming others for your sorrows and your state of mind, unfortunately, you are handing them the control of your emotions. Then, you would never find peace until that person completely disappears from the face of earth. Even then, you might end up wishing them to be around to vent out more of your anger onto them. The cycle of pain and accusations would go on.

So, if your ultimate aim is finding peace for yourself, the only key is forgiveness. There might be a long time before you can forgive someone who has betrayed your trust, who has manipulated your feelings, and who has never given you what you deserved. But then, constantly hating them for their actions would still keep you connected to them in a way. Would it not be better to break all relation to people who have caused hurt, even that of hatred or anger? Chetan Bhagat describes it so perfectly in his book ‘Two States’- Forgiveness does not do anything to the wrong doer, but it makes a lot of difference to the sufferer by reducing the baggage they carry on their heads all the time.

Try this simple exercise to know yourself how much difference it would make to your attitude if you learned to forgive. When you are hurt and angry, and you start thinking about the object of your hatred, record the time that those ugly thoughts stay in your mind. Do this for a day. You will be shocked at the result. And now, think of all the constructive things you could have done with that time, had you spent it in a better way.

So next time you feel like cursing someone, observe yourself. Focus on the changes that your body undergoes – change in your breathing, your eyes narrowing, may be reddening of your face. Also, observe what your mind feels afterwards. It feels more irritable, more restless. There is no lifting of baggage, contrary to popular belief. In fact, thinking such negative thoughts about someone actually attracts more negativity hence strengthening the anger and increasing the emotional wreckage. Sometimes, when we vent out negative things by talking about them, we may feel a temporary relief. But soon afterwards, the feelings return, sometimes even with a greater force.

Hence, the best therapy for anger is forgiveness. Whatever someone may have done to you, how much ever times it takes you to accept the situation, yet in the end you have to forgive and then only, you can be at peace. Forgiveness might be tough, but is not impossible to achieve. All you have to do is be aware of the feeling of hatred as soon as it touches you. Then, you have to tell yourself that it is OK to feel hatred but you are not supposed to hang on to that feeling. At that moment, think of some moment of love with someone who still cares for you, or a moment of achievement that gave you real happiness. The hatred will melt away in its own shadow. With practice, you might start associating these good feelings with the person who hurt you and will be able to forgive them, eventually. And with time, that wrong doer will not be able to evoke any negative emotions in you, and you will be able to think about the past without any anger or frustration. Some day, you might even talk about it and not be affected by it. That would be the ultimate peace. After all, forgiveness is the attribute of strong.