Letting Go Of The Past (Part F)

by Patrick Liew on August 4, 2011

When I was a child, there was one time when my late father became very angry. He took out his belt and caned me with it.

I could remember the incident but I could not remember how I felt about it.

I am sure there were anger, bitterness, resentment, and a host of other negative feelings. I must have hated him for what he did to me.

When I became more educated and was able to reflect on this and many other wrongdoings, there was no question that I need to forgive my father.

I have only the deepest love and respect for him.

The process of forgiving my father and other people has led me to discover one of the ways that can help me to have a more forgiving spirit.

I could put myself in the other person’s shoes.

Strange as it might sound, when I focused on the wrongdoing and the hurt it caused me, it would make me angrier and more resentful. As a result, I might not forgive my offender.

If I put myself in my offender’s shoes, I could empathise with his imperfection. I could see the situation from his wrong perspective.

As a human, I am sure he wanted to do the right thing. Quite possibly, he did it out of ignorance, apathy at that moment, or as a result of the circumstances he was in.

There were many personal flaws that could have weakened him. The situation that he was in might have made him vulnerable and caused him to commit the wrongdoing.

He probably did not know of a better way. He caved in to his weaknesses.

Perhaps, he did not do it for himself. He might have done it because he thought that it was the best thing to do for his loved ones.

For example, I would never hold anything against my father for caning me with his belt. I believed, like any parents, he tried to be a good father.

My father was not bent on doing anything bad. He certainly did not want to destroy my life.

He was not educated and was never trained on any parenting skills. He tried to love me and wanted the best for me.

I was quite sure he had his fair share of mental and emotional struggles. They might have caused him to lose control of himself.

He could have gone through severe stress in his life. Like any human, including me, he gave in to his temper and other weaknesses.

He probably did what his father did and he did not know of any other way to handle the situation.

What my father did was not a personal attack. Any father could have done what he did.

My father would have done it to anybody if they were in my position. He was not targeting at me but my behaviour.

When I go through the process, it gave me a greater sense of control over my offender’s thoughts and behaviour. It helped to put the experience in a less negative perspective.

It also lowered my anguish, anger, resentment and even hatred. I was in a better position to have a more positive set of emotions.

When I took a more empathetic, forgiving, altruistic and charitable approach – as opposed to harbouring retaliation, resentment and revenge in my heart – I have lesser anxiety and stress.

I have more clarity in my mind. I can be more forgiving and to make a better judgement.

To take this process to a higher level, I could also imagine enjoying the benefits of forgiveness.

I could visualize what it meant to forgive and be released from the physical, mental and emotional prison. I could feel the joy of being liberated so that I can live life to the fullest.

I could intensify the imagination by invoking all my senses. I would see, hear, feel, smell, and taste the benefits so clearly in my mind that it would make it easier for me to forgive my offender.

I could imagine what it meant to forgive the person in my thoughts, emotions and behaviour. How that will set me free from the past.

I could imagine how it would help me to live life fully in the present. And enjoy a better future.

After going through this process, it would make every sense to let go of the negative past. I could do it by forgiving my offenders.

The earlier I forgave and asked for forgiveness, the faster I got to enjoy the abundance of life.



I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please go to ‘Notes’ found below my profile picture.

Visit my Inspiration blog at http://liewinspiration.wordpress.com

Visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!  


Question: How can we better empathise with our offenders?


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