For almost twenty one years, I believed that my own kind were my worst enemy. All I had experienced from humans was rejection, deception, focus on my weaknesses, disregard for my strengths, ridicule for how I learned, and being labeled as dumb and incompetent. Luckily there were and still are people in my life who think differently about me. However those negative attitudes came from the majority of people that I knew. I never understood where the cruelty came from, I tried to be respectful to everyone at school, followed the rules, did my work and stayed out of trouble. Regardless of that, humans seemed curse my existence and a result I felt the same about theirs.
I became wary and bitter towards people. Even though I preferred and still prefer to socialize in small groups, I still craved for positive interactions with people but was fearful and resentful of them; so I often isolated myself from their presence as much as possible.
When my junior year of college came around, I started relying on my faith, to help me cope with the stress and the loneliness of being away from home. I am not looking to shove religion down anyone's throat, but a spiritual relationship with Jesus was a saving grace for me, and I understand if others find theirs elsewhere. However the more I got closer to him, the more one his teachings resonated with me which is Matthew 5:44, "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." I decided to give this a try, so every night I prayed for those who had hurt me. The more I did this, the more I realized I did not have to love what those people had done to me, but I could learn to love as well as forgive them. When I did this, I could feel a wave of relief wash over me, I was free from all that anger, bitterness and fear that contained me.
I remember having a similar experience when I was seven years old. Believe it or not, I had the same anger and resentment towards horses as I did with humans during that time in my life. After my first fall, horses were nothing but wild uncontrollable beasts to me, and I refused to get near them for a least two months. Eventually with my parents encouragement, I agreed to try riding at a different stable. I remember that a barrier of resistance rose inside of me when I walked down to the barn to meet my horse Star.
The moment that I looked at her is something that I will never forget.
She was a small but brawny mare, who was the color of an oreo cookie, had a white marking of a star on her forehead (hence her name) and a gleaming mix of white and black on her tail. Yet it was her radiant almond colored eyes that drew me in. My mom always says that if you look deep into the horses eyes, you can see their soul. I believe that was what I saw , because something spiritually broke down the barrier of resistance. I finally heard what my mind and heart had tried to tell me, which was to forgive and ride again. The moment I made peace with horses, I felt the same liberation as I did when I learned to forgive people.
Accomplishing forgiveness was one of the best blessings I have ever received, because I was freed from the negativity that trapped me. Now I let go of difficult experiences faster then I used to, and move on with the people responsible so that we improve our relationship. I'll admit that there are times when I slip through the cracks and don't forgive right away. I'll say some choice words and distance myself, Then once my temper and mind have cleared, I forgive and move on. At least my old habits do not happen very often.
As for the rest of you, don't worry if you cannot accomplish forgiveness by following a spiritual being, or taking a deep look into the eyes of something that you fear. Don't be hard on yourself if you can't find forgiveness right way, it is something that takes time and patience. There is no need for you to rush, but know that once you forgive, your perspective will introduce you to a whole new world. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you!