I accidentally chanced upon an article about 'pistanthrophobia' i.e. fear of trusting people due to past experiences with bad relationships. (Can you imagine, they have a name for it!?)
That got me thinking about my trust issues. As is common knowledge, trust is the foundational principle, the most vital, that holds all relationships and, once broken, can take forever to repair. Trust is also a very important part of our day to day routine- trusting the unknown cab driver to drive us safely to our destination, trusting the unknown car driver to brake when we cross the road, trusting that we will get paid our salaries every month, the trust between the businesses and their customers.
However, that extremely depressing moment when someone breaks your trust, is something that is not easily forgotten.
Any relationship without trust is like having a phone with no service. And what do you do with a phone that has no service? You play games. All my life, I imagined the word 'forgiveness' to have two white angelic wings on either side with a glowing golden halo on top. It was a saintly act, oozing goodness. All the great personalities spoke reverently of it- 'forgive and forget'.
Betrayals teach us to trust more wisely and be a bit more cautious (Photo: Shutterstock)
I never understood it. It's hard to trust someone the second time around, after they already gave you one reason not to trust them. Even if I did 'forgive', the resentment, betrayal and dis-trust remained. So I began to question this whole forgiving process- wasn't forgiving someone supposed to make you feel light? How come I wasn't feeling good?
My eureka-moment came when I read, that Aramaic word for 'forgive' means literally to 'un-tie'. So forgiveness essentially means 'un-tying' or freeing yourself from an undesirable element and its associated negativity - to 'un-tie' the bindings and loosen yourself from the hatred and resentment towards the other person.
I did a mental cart-wheel on realising that forgiveness is essentially freeing you from the 'chains of bondage'. So you actually do yourself a favour by forgiving someone! That sounded great! Forgiveness liberates and frees you. This perspective forever changed everything for me. All of a sudden, I felt good.
All of us, at some point in time have been hurt by someone, rejected by someone intentionally or unintentionally, and, holding on to our anger and pain damages us the most. It's like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die. An un-forgiving nature is like tying rocks to your feet; too much for our wings to carry.
The way I see it, we would never have realised our strengths and potentials had these people not tested the limits of our souls, due to hurt, pain and betrayal that they caused. The betrayals teach us to trust more wisely and be a bit more cautious. The difficult times teach us patience; the heart-breaks acquaint us with our inner strengths.
So forgiveness does not mean what happened was ok and it definitely does not mean that the person should, by default, be welcomed back into your life. Forgiveness just means not letting the other person have a hold over you- making peace with the pain, letting go and replacing it with life's lessons.
People, who hurt others, normally do so, as a result of their own pain and unresolved issues that they are trying to overcome. Just understanding this makes it easier to forgive.
Forgiveness is a choice. It is an act of courage and valour towards self. Someday, as it did for me, it will all just make sense.
As my favourite author Paulo Coelho said-"Forgive, but do not forget. Forgiving changes perspectives, forgetting loses the lesson".
Note: Kamalrukh Khan is a Mumbai-based Clinical Hypnotherapist and Wellness Coach. She's intuitive, strong and positive and loves travelling. She believes travelling to a new country is the best education she can give her kids. Painting and flying a plane or chopper top her bucket-list.