Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our Inner Character

A very special friend of mine had written me something I needed to read:

Looking back, may I be filled with gratitude;
Looking forward, may I be filled with hope;
Looking upward, may I be aware of strength;
Looking inward, may I find peace. ~Author unknown

Sometimes, I find myself surrounded by those who wreak havoc on my emotions. Maybe it’s the way I internalize things, events and situations? Maybe it’s the way I process it all? As I try to resolve and find solutions for anything that has gone wrong in my life, my ‘opponents’ seem to dwell and seek further turmoil and drama. I’m not sure why.

Are there people who seem to be attracted to complicated situations or drama? If they don’t have the excitement of arguments or conflicts, do they find themselves lost in a world of silence? I always try to understand how the human mind works. I mostly try to understand how my own mind works. Some would say I easily blow off the ‘big things’---the things that need more attention or focus on. When it’s a matter of resolving an issue, regarding an argument or something that has been done that needs forgiveness, I am very quick to forgive as well as forget. People around me don’t understand that. They seem to think that I just don’t care or blow things off way too easily.

For instance, if an argument over something escalates, and the person apologizes, I simply forgive it and forget it. I actually delete it from my mind, instead of just saying the words, “It’s ok, I forgive you,” and then torture myself by focusing on the very event that the person apologized for; forgiving genuinely. If I still had issues about it, I would bring it up to the table and try to resolve it. Simple. But, others would say that I’m too quick to blow things off as if I didn’t care. I do care. Forgiveness is the key to a healthy state of mind and the answer to a healthy heart.

Being grateful. Like I always say, life’s a huge learning process. I learn as I go. I am grateful for every single argument, event, or negative situation that has happened in my life, because I learned a great deal from it all. If it weren’t for the rocky times in our lives, how would we know how to cope with the future ones?

Hope. I have hope, that the past events in our lives will develop more endurance, patience and tolerance for when we find ourselves in future turmoil. It’s almost like exercise- you learn how to cope with each encounter.

Strength. Going through many trials and tribulations, we’ll find ourselves stronger and more adaptable for when we run into other troubles. We’ll learn how to face our problems with a bigger muscle---a stronger heart----and a way to forgive and to let go. Some people have a hard time letting go of certain things- when in fact, they’re only harming themselves.

Peace. Isn’t this the final goal? We all want peace. Where do we find it? We can’t find it externally, because all around us we have conflicts, life challenges and turmoil. We can learn to process our problems internally first, to soften our hearts and make others realize that it’s all a matter of forgiveness; genuine forgiveness.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” ~Romans 5:3-5

We all make mistakes, but we can learn from them and soften our hearts the next time around. Forgiveness goes hand-in-hand with forgetting. It’s a pair that shouldn’t be torn apart.