Forgiveness and Gratitude – the Essentials of a Happy Life

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Years ago, I used to carry around grudges for far too long. Those “chips” on my shoulders became “boulders” after time. In the end, carrying those grudges did nothing more than hurt me and poison relationships that would have been such a blessing to me. It’s easy to become so bitter that it taints everything in life and can rob you of the joy that everyone needs.

Yesterday I took my granddaughter Lilly Belle to lunch after picking her up from school. It’s a rarity that I get to spend such sweet time with her. I always try to talk to her about meaningful things. For some reason we began to talk about friends and family and how sometimes they hurt us.

Learning to Forgive

It’s taken most of my 60+ years to grasp the concept of forgiveness. I told Lilly Belle that really we have to take people for who they are and to appreciate the good parts and let go of the negative traits.

“After all I have lots of faults,” I told her. “But I know you love me. That’s what matters. I believe you have to try to overlook the bad because we all want to be forgiven.”

Being the sweet 12-year-old that she is, she said, “Granny you’re right and I’ve done a million things that are wrong.”

“If you did a million, “I replied. “I’ve done a billion.”

I’ve seen how all grudges can really hurt especially when family members are taking care of their elderly parents. Some of it I understand. Parents are not perfect and make lots of mistakes while raising their families. I know I made a whole slew of them. Being an only child, I have a harder time understanding the sibling rivalries even though my own three have done their best (or worst) to educate me.

Understand What Matters

In the end, it doesn’t matter what the fuss is about. What matters is how we behave and how willing we are to let go and cherish the positive we’ve been given. Forgiveness and gratitude go hand in hand. One makes the other sweeter. The more we let go, the more thoughts we can give to being truly grateful.

I have seen how hard it can be to let go when the elder in our lives is the one who is hanging on to old hurts. I do have one of those in my life and I’ve gotten really good at changing the subject onto something positive. Sometimes you have to listen for a while but not too long before you redirect them to “happy thoughts.” It does no good to try to explain where their thinking is going wrong. That will make the negative conversations even longer.

Well, enough preaching for the day.

I want to say I’m very thankful for all of you who have taken the time to read my little blogs. Writing them has been my own form of therapy. For all of you, I am truly thankful.

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