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Forgiveness Is Not For Everyone !

Forgiveness Is Not For Everyone !
August 30
12:31 2019

By: Dr. Abigail Joseph

As a child growing up I always felt as if everyone was rooting for the other team. I was always in the wrong. It felt as if there was nothing that I did that was ever good enough. I chuckled as I read a Facebook meme that stated – “I was of the generation where breathing too hard was considered talking back.” I could totally relate to that statement. My mom would rail up at me for releasing heavy breaths of air into the atmosphere. Which was sometimes weird because at times not even I knew why I sighed. I was just young and tired. One of my aunts would say, “lawd chile yo act as if di whole massy ah di world deh pan yo shoulda!” I would just get up and go do something before they told me to. I was never right and I knew that it would be best to be out of sight before I sighed another time and got a slap.

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Yes, growing up I felt as if everyone rooted for the other team. I was always the one who had to go back to the store twice, pick up the slack if my other cousins didn’t do stuff. For example, I had a little cousin whose tummy would always hurt when it was time for us to do the dishes. She would go straight to the bathroom and lock in there until coincidentally I was done with the dishes. My other cousin would get bellyaches when all of us were in the yard raking and bagging grass, but would automatically feel better when my dad would buy ice cream for us after chores. I can see the eyes of some of you new age citizens who think chores are to be considered child labor. Well, I labored all my life and I turned out fine.

Anyways, back to the story. As you continue browsing through this article to get to the good part, you may be reflecting on your own scenarios of bad that have happened to you and yes, we live in Belize so indeed there is a lot of bad to talk about. Interestingly enough, we don’t have as many people going to counseling for all the bad that’s been happening. In all honesty, that is good and that is bad. It means that we either have very strong people who are not affected daily by the mishaps of the world, or we have damaged people operating in vital places – many in charge of our lives.

I enjoy sitting still and watching people go by. It is fascinating how each individual person has a role to play in the bigger picture but also a very personal role in their own inner circle of life. The child that the teacher kept in a corner for giving too much trouble, is the same child who is hungry because his or her father came home drunk last night, beat the mother and threw out all the groceries and so had nothing to eat this morning. The grouchy doctor is the same man who just worked a 36 hour shift, is now covering for the late doctor who is to come and relieve him, whose mind has been on the divorce papers he was served at work early on in his shift. The lady that keeps staring at you in the aisle as if you are a thief was held at gunpoint last week by someone who wore your shoes and choice of hat. The clerk that came late to work because she spent a long night at the station filing a report that she was held by a knife and raped yesterday. The stories are endless and so is the pain if you really look deeply into the hurt and baggage that some people carry daily.

Not wanting to be exposed for what they have endured in life they take up different masks and become someone else or a partial identity but always denying true self and reaching true potential. The Belizean culture was never one to talk about pain or hurt. If it were so we’d have saved the lives of many women who died at the hands of their abusers. But instead, we turn a blind eye, because if we don’t talk about it, it is as if it never happened. I am uncertain as to the ground rules when it comes to the sharing of valid information….as Belizeans we jump at the opportunity to tear down rather than build up. It is almost as if we were wired that way. We jump at the chance to spread photos of a deceased person on the street, or spread a nude picture of a News Anchor or school girl. We film the mentally ill doing and saying random things for our entertainment. The thoughtless things we do….are endless.

The point I really want to make is that actions have consequences. ALL actions have consequences, and regardless of how small and minute you may think the action is, the ripple effect is greater. In fact it represents the damage of the event – meaning that sometimes the reactions, actions and over all behavior of the people around you may be a direct cry for help and a reflection of the past they have endured.

We don’t even have to talk about big things. Let’s narrow it down to you. We all have families. Each family has misunderstandings and at times we have some who don’t talk to each other. When this happens, it causes a strain on the family. Some families shun the particular person, and others allow them to come in and disrupt the gathering every time. Others avoid going to certain homes to avoid conflict. In truth, if you step back from the problem and look at it from an outside angle you might be able to see how small the problem really was and compare how blown out of proportion it has become. Many times, one single word was missing from the reaction and the problem kept growing. What is it you may ask? “Sorry” is a hard word to come by. No one wants to be the one to break, so instead we go on and on, di cut wi style, avoiding each other, making the rest of the family shuffle events to accommodate our grudge, etc.

We don’t talk much about forgiveness, because somehow that makes us weak. Maybe the person isn’t deserving? Or if the person came to say that they were sorry, we feel as if it wasn’t genuine and choose not to accept it. MEK AH TELL UNU SUNTIN – forgiveness isn’t for everyone….it’s a personal pill, it’s only for you! The only person that a grudge affects is you – physically and mentally.

Letting go of grudges and bitterness makes way for improved health. Forgiveness is not just about saying the words, (remember when you were younger and your mom forced you to say that you’re sorry and you would force out a half apology and blurt, “sssari!” but didn’t really mean it. Dis da nuh dat. Forgiveness is making a conscious effort and decision to let go of negative feelings regardless if the person deserves it. Studies show that people who forgive genuinely are more satisfied with life, have less depression, anxiety, stress, anger and hostility. It lowers risk of heart disease, lowers blood pressure, gives better sleep, reduces pain, relieves stress and improves cholesterol levels. Make forgiveness a part of your life.

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