By Sarah Wylde
“The universe is my classroom”
This past weekend my mom and I went to a cat adoption event. It was called Pop-Up Cat Café and was being held by our local SPCA. Whenever there is an event put on by them, and I can go, I will. Our SPCA shelter here is one of the only no-kill shelters in my province. They had about 12 cats that were there and for adoption. But this is not about the event itself, but something that happened because of it. It turned out to be a lesson about forgiveness.
Forgiveness is powerful, it doesn’t remove what happened, but it removes the emotions and hold it has on you. It doesn’t come casually. We know it is the right thing to do, but it is difficult. Once you forgive the person who has wronged you, or/and you forgive yourself, it feels like a weight has been lifted off your heart and soul. By saying, “I forgive you,” it allows you to move forward and not reflect on that past. Well, on Friday, I got one of those teaching moments.
While at the Cat Café, I saw someone that I haven’t seen in a few years. When I noticed them, it felt like a punch to the gut. I didn’t go up to them to say something, and I honestly don’t even know if they saw me, because there were a lot of people there. But I saw them. It was a former friend that had hurt and used me, breaking my trust. When I realized this about them, I removed myself from that toxic friendship and moved on, or at least I thought I had moved on. Turns out, I had just pushed everything I was feeling about what happened down, and even though I told myself that I forgave them, I hadn’t. It took me seeing them again after two years to realize that toxic friendship still had a hold on me.
Later, when I was back home, my mind was still on seeing this person and remembering the feelings I got. I didn’t want another day to pass and allow these emotions to come with me. I took out a pad of paper and began to write everything that happened in the toxic friendship that was still weighing on me. When I was done, I read through it. It was eye-opening and therapeutic to read. I walked away for a little bit and did some other running around that I had to do that day. In the evening, I sat back down with a cup of tea and a pad of paper. This time, what I did was after reading each thing that had hurt me, I wrote, “I forgive you.” I kept doing that until I reached the end. Oddly enough, it felt good to visualize the hurt and physically say out loud and write that forgiveness. But I wasn’t done yet, there was still one more person left to forgive, myself. In the end, I wrote that I forgave myself, forgave that I let it affect me so long before walking away and letting them have this power and hold on me so long after the relationship ended.
The thing with forgiveness is that I don’t have to let this person know. I didn’t do it for them, I did it for myself. I had finally let go and moved forward from this person, and I do feel lighter and happier knowing that if I was to see them again, I would be fine.