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Why is it so important to forgive?

Why is it so important to forgive?

It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place because it frees you.” ~Tyler Perry

Our eight-day annual Jain festival ‘Paryushan Parva’ just concluded. The essence of this holy period is to emphasise on our spiritual growth by means of fasting, prayers, soul-searching, self-study or svadhyaya and meditation. We abstain from eating all roots and green vegetables during this time in order to increase our spiritual vibrations. On the last day after our main prayers called ‘Samvatsari Pratikraman’, we seek each other’s forgiveness by saying ‘Micchami Dukadam’. It means that ‘If I have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, then I seek your forgiveness.  We say this to everyone we know, irrespective of age or class or religion.

As children and later as teenagers, this practice has been maintained as a family and religious ritual. But the significance of forgiving took a huge leap for me in my personal experience of dealing with a broken heart. Forgiving those who had wronged me seemed like a herculean task, one that I was not willing to look at for a very long time. Not until I realized that by holding on to resentments and grudges, I was clearly doing more harm to my own physical and emotional being.

Over the years, in my healing process, the practice of forgiveness has been challenging. Yet in all that I understand of it, I recognized it imperative to forgive in order to heal well. And here’s what I have learnt and continue learning with experience-

Forgiving is healing – Healing from any pain or trauma in life has a lot to do with letting go of the past, the grudges, resentments, hurt and all the negativity in our lives. The act of forgiveness initiates the healing process.

Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.  ~Nelson Mandela

Forgiving is empowering – Mahatma Gandhi said that forgiveness is an attribute of the strong, that the weak can never forgive. Learning to forgive whole-heartedly is truly an empowering feeling, only making us stronger.

 Forgiveness is a gift to us – When we hold on to the pain of the past or harbor thoughts of revenge, we indirectly harm ourselves. But when we forgive others, we are not doing them a favor; on the contrary we are doing it much more for ourselves.  

Forgiveness brings peace – When we decide to forgive, we are making a conscious choice of focusing our energies on bringing into our lives a sense of peace and positivity. It is akin to removing the dead cells from our body and draining our wasted energies, making us feel lighter and calmer. 

 “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~Lewis B. Smedes

Forgiving helps move ahead – Feelings of anger, revenge, pain keep us stuck in our past. When we choose to forgive, we release all that baggage and push ourselves towards the future. It sets us free.

Life is just too short to hold on to ill feelings, to feel victimized and remain stuck in a rut full of resentments. Until we forgive and make peace with all that has happened in our lives, we deny ourselves the state of abundance. Forgive quickly. It will set you on the path of peace that can exist in spite of whatever has happened to you.

Domestic violence is not just physical violence: #ALetterToHer

Domestic violence is not just physical violence: #ALetterToHer

“Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison. Don’t be afraid to share it.” ~unknown

Just happened to read this quote as I begin to write this post for the Womens Web Blogathon on domestic violence: What letter would you write to a woman subjected to domestic violence? My letter to ‘her’…

Dear Me

Here you are, writing about the subject that you have discreetly kept under wraps. Something that had occurred in your life and yet you had no clue about it. How could you have known? Coming from an aristocratic family background where values and ethics were strongly entrenched right from your early days. You belong to a family known for its religious and cultural heritage. You had such a protected and shielded upbringing. Yes, you had heard about atrocities and injustice meted out to others. In books you had read and movies you had watched and stories you had heard. Aware yes, but seen anything personally in close proximity, no. How blissful were you in your state of ignorance and innocence. Where marriages around you were examples of loyalty and longing in relationships. How beautiful did it all seem, the love and the romance between couples. Then why would you even think of the term ‘domestic violence’ in your life?

Little did you know then that just by thinking ‘this could never happen to me’, does not mean it cannot really happen to you!

For domestic violence did take place. Of course, you were caught completely unaware. There was no physical violence, sure. But you were subjected to emotional torture. There was verbal assault. You were deprived of your financial rights. There was unjust criticism thrown at you for no reason. You felt a sense of alienation creeping in your own home. You didn’t know why all this madness was happening. So caught up were you in your thoughts to save your marriage and shield your kids from it all, that you were ready to bend over more than you could. Or should. Engulfed in self-doubt, you questioned your own actions. Only to realise that there was no way you could save your marriage if your spouse is hell bent on breaking it.

It was much later when you found out that domestic violence does not mean only physical violence, as is the common notion. It includes emotional and financial abuse too. You were shocked to know that you were a victim of domestic violence. We Indian girls are taught about our responsibilities but not so much about our rights. By then, you were out of that house and in a safer environment. But the trauma remained with you. You had two choices in front of you then. One – to file a legal case of domestic violence against the people who had done you wrong. Two – not to file against the folks you called your own for more than a decade.

It was no easy decision to make, a battle of the mind v/s the heart. You had to think of the repercussions of both choices and face the consequence on your own. Much though it seemed against the raging emotions of the logical mind, you went by your heart and chose the latter. Your decision stemming from a space of love for your kids than hatred for the rest. You were not willing to have your little ones linked in any legal rigmarole. By then you had decided you did not want to waste any more time over what had already happened. You chose to channelise your energy and emotion on enhancing your well-being and that of your children. It meant a choice of not pushing any action against the wrong doers and let karma do the rest.

You silently bore the brunt of it all and decided to move one. You took a huge leap of faith in making all the choices you did back then. With conviction in your heart and your spiritual fortitude, you only wanted to look ahead. You let go. Gradually, bit by bit, you let it all go. The hurt, the injustice, the anger, the pain. It seemed effortless to those around you, as you kept the bitter currents under your calm countenance. It was hard to believe you came out of your troubles unscathed. But you hid your tears and saved them for your solitude. You were all broken inside but managed to maintain a fortress of strength in front of your little children. For them, you had to quickly pick all your pieces and rebuild your life. You chose to follow the spiritual path of healing.

You survived the storm!

Ever since, see how far you have come after leaving it all behind you. Look how much you have grown in surmounting all obstacles. You came out so much stronger and resilient, nothing in life can break you anymore. You dived into your innards and pulled forth all the courage and wisdom to keep going. In doing so, you have earned the respect and admiration of many. You are one powerhouse of nerves. And you know that karma is doing its job after all.

Here you are, writing this wonderful blog to express all that you have learnt from your life story…so that those who face similar challenges find hope to survive….to inspire and to thrive. Life is still not easy and nor does it look all sorted. Yet you keep moving and facing it all in good faith.

Go girl, and give yourself a pat on your back!

Yours truly!


This blogpost is my contribution to the Womens Web Blogathon – an initiative to speak up about domestic violence and not keeping it hushed. I am intrigued to read Meena Kandasamy’s book ‘When I hit you‘ as anything related to women and women empowerment is a subject close to heart. The journey of victimhood to victory is always an interesting one.

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