I have been thinking a lot lately about the things we voluntarily carry – anger in particular.  It’s not that I’m carrying it.  In fact, I am in a particularly peaceful place.  It wasn’t always this way though.  After my marriage,  I had a lot of anger toward my ex.  Anger that he couldn’t be straight with me.  Anger that I was deceived.  Anger that he had moved on with a new wife and baby in tow.   However, while I may have outwardly expressed this anger towards him, deep down, I was really angry with myself and the choices I made which included marrying a  man when my gut told me not to.

This led to one inevitable conclusion.  I needed to forgive.  I could no longer hold onto my anger like a warm blanket when all it did was leave my cold. I needed to forgive my ex but, most importantly, myself.  You see, my divorce left me feeling like I was never enough.  I blamed myself for the relationship’s inevitable demise and wrongly attributed it to some fatal flaw in my psyche which would prevent me from ever finding true love.  However, the truth is that I always was enough.  We just were never meant to be together.  Accepting that brought forgiveness and peace.

However, I haven’t forgotten.  It isn’t that I am holding things against myself or others.  Rather, I need to remember the valuable lessons I learned about myself, trusting my intuition, and knowing my self worth.  Lessons that I find useful in helping someone I love who still voluntarily carries the unnecessary burden of anger.

Sadly, he is not the only one.  I think everyone at some point in their lives do.  I did.   However, holding onto that anger is destructive.  Anger keeps people away.  It prevents you from experiencing true joy in your life.  It hardens the soul and sacrifices empathy. Most importantly, it keeps you from moving on.

I know it isn’t easy to let it go.  Forgiveness is hard.  It requires us to let go of all the hurt and pain someone caused.  Maybe that person doesn’t deserve forgiveness.  But this isn’t about him or even for him. The other person long ago moved on while you carry the heavy baggage of anger.  Forgiveness is for you.  It is an entirely selfish act. It allows you to accept your human frailties, acknowledge your wonderful strengths, and move on.  Put down the baggage.  Forgive.  Love yourself and let it go.  You were always enough.

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