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Things I have learned—Don’t keep paying the price

by Bill D. Ward

Today’s Wisdom: “So, did you forgive him?

I have been pretty lucky in life. I have little or no recognition of ever being the subject of abusive behavior. The worst I can come up with is one time in high school when, after fighting through nerves and fear, I actually dialed the number of a girl. When she came on the line I stammered through my prepared speech asking her out to a school dance. Her response to my invitation was that she was so sorry but she had to stay home and wash her hair that night.

As an awkward and unsophisticated, non-jock teenager, that was a crushing blow. She could at least have done me the honor of telling me her grandma was dying or something. The dirt in her hair was more important than me!

I did manage to recover my pride, and did just fine in the dating game. I assume she did too. I am not angry about it. In fact it is a good story, one shared by many teenage boys who were not quite ready for prime time.

I know, though, that a lot of folks do have bad stories, some really bad. One in every five women has experienced sexual abuse, one in three has experienced violence. Surprisingly, the number is one in four men. (Psychiatric Times, Cook & Ellis) Others might be impacted by just an insult rather than an actual attack. People can hold anger for just about anything.

Odds are good we all know some of these people but don’t know their story. Odds are someone in your own household is in this group, perhaps you. Fewer than 40 percent ever seek help. That is a lot of people walking around with unresolved hurts, fears, and guilt.

The biggie, though, is unresolved anger. The crazy thing is, our response to anger is a choice. It is curious that we tend to enjoy hanging onto it. In my work life with seniors, it was not uncommon to find families still torn apart in anger by old hurts and wounds.

One of the things I have learned in life is that forgiveness can be the one thing you have to do to be okay. Hanging on to anger, either at another or at yourself, means you keep paying the price for someone else’s actions. My daughter’s therapist says it’s like eating poison and hoping the other guy gets sick. That isn’t healthy. I know, it can get complicated. There are people out there who are trained to help you through the process. Times a wastin.’ I’m just sayin.’

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