Why we simply cannot afford to hate our friends who don’t do right by us

Harimohan Paruvu

Rinku messaged Rahul on their WhatsApp group: eCanteen Funda Friends. ‘What happened with your forgiveness exercise last week, dude?’
‘Brilliant!!’ replied Rahul. ‘Worked like magic.’
‘Wow!’ typed Rakesh. ‘Enlighten us.’
‘Rakesh bhaiyya,’ typed Rahul. ‘Post our discussions, I did the forgiveness exercise on my brother and on a lot of other people. I visualised good things happening to them until I felt lighter.’
‘Woohoo,’ typed Rinku. ‘What happened?’
‘Anger and unforgiveness dissipated,’ typed Rahul.
‘Your energy changed?’ typed Rinku.
‘Yes!’ said Rahul. ‘Calm, peaceful. Even loving. After the exercise, my brother, who never wrote to me in my life, wrote a note to me. He was sorry he hurt me and that he did that because I use his earphones without his permission. Our relationship, which was all messed up, changed magically. We’re closer now. One other person on that forgiveness list who owed me money also returned it after the forgiveness exercise. Just because I mentally forgave them. Forgiveness zindabad.’
‘Fantastic,’ typed Rakesh. ‘Now you’ve experienced how forgiveness works, take it to the next level.’
‘What’s this next level?’ typed Rahul.
‘Stay in this good space forever by developing an attitude of gratitude,’ typed Rakesh. ‘Be grateful to everyone, everything, including those whom you’re forgiving.’
‘What?’ asked Rinku. ‘Why gratitude? Too much.’
‘When you forgive them you still feel you’ve been wronged and you’ve done them a favour by forgiving them,’ typed Rakesh. ‘When actually they’ve done you a favour.’
‘How?’ typed Rinku.
‘Every difficult experience is an opportunity for our growth,’ typed Rakesh. ‘By creating that opportunity for you at the cost of appearing bad, the other person is teaching you something valuable. What’d your brother teach you, Rahul?’
‘To be clear about boundaries and to know I might be doing the same thing unknowingly,’ typed Rahul. ‘And the money-chap taught me I was more interested in blaming than in my money.’
‘Important lessons to learn,’ typed Rakesh. ‘Did you realise our major issues are with people who’ve actually helped us?’
‘True,’ typed Rahul. ‘Never saw it that way.’
‘So, there’s nothing to hold a grudge to or to forgive,’ typed Rinku.
‘Yup,’ typed Rakesh. ‘Be grateful when difficult experiences arise. Life will be a series of delightful surprises then.’
‘I’m sensing a delightful coffee surprise now,’ typed Rinku.

Pro Tip: If we can look at our difficult experiences as lessons to learn, there’s nothing to be upset about or to forgive. We can choose to be grateful instead, for having been taught valuable lessons.

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