Exactly a week ago I bought myself a new phone, the latest in the market. Half an hour after buying it, at about 9:30 p.m. as I was taking a walk and talking on the same phone someone tapped me on my back. I turned around and before I knew it, he snatched the phone from my hand! They were two boys on a bike and they took off immediately. I remember that moment very distinctly. I could not believe what happened. I almost kept telling myself it is a prank and they will get the phone back! While thinking, I ran after the bike. It was futile of course.
After I ran out of breath and realised I had been mugged after all, I began to walk back to my office( yes all of this happened in the vicinity of my office, not some God forsaken road). I had all sorts of thoughts running through my head. Right from who needs to know about this to what needs to be done next. I was raging in fury and helplessness. I thought about the security of my digital accounts such as e-mail and UPI and worried about the loss of all the data. I went back to buy my old phone that I had given back to the guy after factory resetting it. I did have a new phone after all except that the hardware was just the one I was using before!
Why am I sharing this story? If it has been one week it happened and it is still bothering me, it only means that it has had a profound impact on me. Hence I decided to deal with it by confronting it. In hindsight it seems like a well plotted plan by nature itself. That evening I was at work till 10 p.m., when I usually leave by 7 p.m. An incoming vehicle had broken down and so we were waiting for it to reach the office. Surely that could not have been planned by any human force. The fact that I decided to go for a stroll at 9:30 p.m. for a change of air seemed just fine, no suspicion there either. For someone to tap me gently as though they know me and for me to turn around seems logical too. But for a phone to be snatched just after ten minutes of it’s purchase seemed super natural. I could only conclude in my head that it was a mere coincidence that those boys had to flick a phone only to find that it was brand new!
So here I was, lost my phone, lost some of my data but most importantly lost my mind. I was pulling my hair out of anger, I was feeling stupid for not being able to do anything. I had all sorts of thoughts running through my head. “I should have thrown stones at them instead of the futile chase”, “ O that son of a b**** will rot in hell for doing this”. These were the initial thoughts. Soon I was in self blame mode, but why me, why does this always happen to me? Why am I so reckless and casual about everything in life? Then it moved to some diagnosis and self introspection. What could the bigger message of this whole incident be? Was it a sign? Do I have to be more careful? Do I show off a lot or brag too much to have irked people or come in their eyes, like an evil eye over me?
Yes, such was the state of my mind. I’m sure a lot of you must have felt that way too at some point in your life though I rather wish you hadn’t. Anyway, so these thoughts have kept juggling in my mind this entire week and I had to find a way to put them to rest. I had lost what I had lost, I didn’t want to lose my peace over it too. Besides, no matter how stupid I feel about myself, the fact is I had absolutely no control over the situation. I realised like most problems this had reduced to a one with the mind too and had to be dealt with accordingly. I thought some more and realised this whole incident could be a metaphor for learning to let go, for learning to forgive but for learning to forget as well? Sure the cost of the learning is debatable but who decides that!
Now, I have particularly struggled with forgiveness all my life. I hold a grudge for as long as my ego is either not crushed or not balmed. Esentially, I do not let go unless the other person comes and apologises unconditionally or until my ego cracks because it can no longer hold on to the negativity. The phone incident is a case II , since I could no longer handle the way I was feeling, I had to find a way to deal with it. I decided to consciously let go, to consciously forgive the people who brought me misery. Not for their sake but for my own.
I had a friend who had some really simple philosophies in life. One of them was, if she ever got mugged or cheated, she would not go mad over it. She would only tell herself that the person who did this to her needed that thing more than her. Simple. She was only a means for that person to get what he wanted. WOW right? You see what the mind does? Are you able to realise just how important our perception of a situation is? In fact the perception is all that there really is after the actual act has already happened?
“Forgiveness is often defined as an individual, voluntary internal process of letting go of feelings and thoughts of resentment, bitterness, anger, and the need for vengeance and retribution toward someone who we believe has wronged us, including ourselves.” I have copied this directly off Google since I couldn’t have defined it in a better way myself. So why forgive? We forgive to move on. We forgive to flush our own systems of the filth that holding on has accumulated. We forgive to let new opportunities come into our lives, we forgive to recognise that we are all human and we all get carried away, the degrees differ that’s all.
However, forgiving someone doesn’t imply you are OK with inappropriate behaviour. It doesn’t imply that you can be taken for granted. It doesn’t imply that you don’t have a backbone either. You recognise the person’s actions and let him know that you are not OK with it. While you have been accommodative this time, you will not stand such things in the future. Think about it. This sort of approach is far better than sulking over something you disapprove of and not even recognise it.
Having said that, forgiveness is a choice. Folks who falter often feel like apologising for what they’ve done is enough, that they now deserve forgiveness. No they don’t. It is completely the prerogative of the individual who is victimised. If he doesn’t feel it is time, the offender has to live with that. The victim can choose to take however long to decide what he needs to do about it. You see, for some people forgiving constantly and without condition takes a toll on their minds too. Ask parents, they are the best examples of such behaviour. The love for their children is so unconditional that in the process they sometimes tend to overlook their own selves.
I am not too sure about vengeance, but dealing with the pain and the anger first is really important before you decide to let go and forgive. Going through that pain partly and venting out your anger( in a non-violent way of course) makes the forgiveness really worth it. It sort of gives a meaning to the forgiveness. While a lot has always been said about the importance of forgiveness and the need to forgive, there isn’t much mention about the hows of it. From my experience it is a very psychological process and I could at most share a few pointers to help you where to begin.
- Count your blessings
- Recognize your feelings first
- Tell yourself you cannot allow someone else’s actions to disrupt your peace
- Is there an underlying, not so obvious message awaiting you
- You can’t forgive a person, only his actions and the plight those actions have put you in
- The forgiveness is not for the offender, it is for yourself
- Out of this only good will come. The situation is easily resolved for the highest good of all
In case you haven’t noticed, I have put a question mark at the end of the word forget in the title. While forgiving is hard enough, how about forgetting about it? It is easier said than done for sure. After all, once bitten twice shy. I for one have not evolved to the point of forgetting but for now I’ll forgive myself for that. For now I’ll remember to forgive. Not for their sake but for mine, because my own peace is worth more than indignation.