Like Harriet, I have been angry for a while, and didn’t know what to do to get my joy back. I tried talking to the husband about it, but we always ended up in a huge brawl. I talked to my mum about it, she advised to ask for the “fruits of the spirit”. The church echoed the same thing.
This article really helped me. I now see things in a different perspective. I am a lover of Christ, a bible believer, I believe God answers prayers, BUT in the case of anger and forgiveness, I now realize that praying for the hurt to “disappear” is foolish, ignoring the pain is harmful. I have to embrace the hurt, and CHOOSE my response to it.
In the article, the following stood out for me:
1. “Forgiveness is at heart a choice, one that any of us can make at any time, no matter the "content" we're wrestling with.”]
2. “Forgiveness doesn't mean rationalizing or condoning abuse. And forgiveness doesn't mean a sudden case of amnesia.”
3. "Forgiving enabled me to realize I could create my own path," she says. "I wasn't just plopped down on this cruddy path I had to walk the rest of my life. I was in control."
4. “Forgiveness, I begin to see, is not about pretending you don't feel angry or hurt. It's about responding out of kindness rather than rage. It's about letting yourself feel the full spectrum of emotions—grief and anger and hurt, but also kindness and compassion. Even toward someone who's hurt you deeply.”
5. "Forgiveness is giving up the hope that things will turn out other than they did. Is there any place in your inner life where you can't accept that things happened as they did?”
Today I admit that I have been angry and bitter for a long time. Angry at:
1. Myself for spending so much time “waiting to be married” after dating the same guy for 7 yrs,
2. Myself for embracing the notion that a woman is incomplete without a man,
3. Myself for being caught in the deceptive cultural web of marriage being the next step in a woman’s life after college education,
4. Myself for not being courageous enough to break the relationship long before it got to this point,
5. Myself for allowing me to be so consumed by a bad relationship, unmet expectations, and all that come with it,
6. The society (Nigerians especially, including me) for making unmarried women feel like they are defective,
7. Myself for expecting so much from marriage (such as being loved, taken care of, e.t.c) thus being incapable of accepting the unpleasant reality,
8. Myself for compromising in areas I should never have,
9. Myself for spending so much time being angry,
10. The church for not offering practical help to issues like this, rather asking me to pray so the spirit of anger is “taken away”.
I am happy:
1. To have found this article,
2. To learn that it’s not just me, many people experience this raw emotion called anger,
3. To learn that the fact that this anger has not “disappeared” after all the prayers and deliverance sessions, does not mean I am severely “possessed” by the devil,
4. To feel hopeful again,
5. To learn that is ok to be angry (does NOT mean it’s ok to do evil just because I am angry), it’s okay to grieve, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok not to have forgotten events of the past,
6. To learn that forgiveness is about MY RESPONSE to things that hurt. I am in charge here.
I am very hopeful. I feel like I have taken a first step in the right direction. This is the best article I have read in a long time!! Thank you Oprah! Thank you Harriet!