Readers of Daily (w)rite, if you’re here, please welcome Anouradha Bakshi, my friend, philosopher and touchstone for more than a decade.
She runs Project WHY, a little non-profit with a large heart, in New Delhi.
For this whole week, she’s taking over Daily (w)rite.
Please give her all the love and attention you usually give me, because she merits it far more than I ever will.
For the Write Tribe Festival of Words it is my absolute pleasure to blog for Damyanti Biswas.
For this week I’ll be blogging on word prompts posted at the Write Tribe.
Forgiveness is something we all deal with in our own way. As as an only child, I grew up bearing a lot of grudges and finding it difficult to ‘forgive’. It was only years later that I realised that the forgiveness that came my way was drenched in love, primarily the love of my parents. I was so easily forgiven because I was loved beyond reason.
Life brought its set of challenges, and the only-child idiosyncrasies were soon laid to rest. For years I battled with forgiveness and found myself wallowing in self-pity and hurt. Little did I realise that I was the cause of all this pain to myself and I was the only one who could set myself free.
One of the turning points was when after the death of my parents I was virtually stabbed in the back by the very ones I trusted most, and what made it more painful was that they were people for whom my parents had done so much. I had counted on their support, but they turned their back on me. I was angry and hurt but discovered that the only way forward was to forgive them, hold on to the good times and walk away. I had to free myself and free them too.
Today when I look back at my life, I cannot remember when and how the equation changed. I must admit that it did not happen overnight but was a long process of understanding who I am and of learning to love myself.
It was a journey inward. I began looking at every experience, even the most hurtful ones, as moments that would teach me something about myself. I learnt to be grateful for each of them.
Here are the lessons I learnt on forgiveness:
- Forgiveness is about loving yourself and the other, unconditionally.
- Where you can, try and build back the bridges. In some cases, you have to walk away, but do it free of grudge or hurt.
- It is the hardest to forgive those who hurt someone you love deeply. Even if someone has hurt your partner or your child, you have to be able to forgive them.
- Not forgiving condemns you to living in the past.
- Not forgiving vitiates your today, and your morrows. It hurts only you.
- Forgiveness ushers in love.
Thanks to finding forgiveness in my heart, I have been able to steer my personal life on an even keel and also create Project Why, my magnum opus and swan song.
I realise today that I could not have seeded Project Why had I still been carrying grudges and hurt. When you do that, you are unable to see with your heart. This non-profit is only about seeing with your heart, and it has helped thousands of women and children in the past nineteen years of its existence.
From the petty official to the ungrateful parent; from the vicious detractor to the cynical well-wisher, each had the ability to trigger anger or hurt and cloud my judgement during the Project WHY journey. The simple ability to forgive and move on was enough. In some cases, they even became Project WHY’s staunchest supporters.
All I can say from the six and a half decades of my life, and in the two decades of running Project WHY: Learn to FORGIVE. It is the biggest gift you can give yourself.
Who would you like to forgive? What is stopping you? Have you forgiven others in your life? Have you ever been forgiven?
Anouradha Bakshi is the descendant of an indentured labour and a freedom fighter, and the daughter of a senior diplomat. She travelled the world before settling in India.
A professor in French, an interpreter and a conference organiser, she found her true calling when she set up Project WHY in the year 2000.
She is a wife, and a mother not only to her two girls, but also to the scores of children whose dreams she holds in custody.
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I can forgive almost anything but the person who has done whatever must say they are sorry. I can’t forgive them otherwise because they don’t want it.
As a Christian, I have to forgive. I have no choice. It may take time and may be very difficult, but I always have to work toward that goal. A good test that proves I’ve forgiven someone is that the person or act I have forgiven passes through my mind and doesn’t stir up the old pain.
Holding a grudge is far easier than letting go in favour of forgiveness. I find comfort in my grudges (the ones that I do hold) for they make sure (in my head) that I wont get hurt again!! Twisted logic but it works to keep the sanity when one is unable to process the pain.
You inspire me with your journey Anou di – you have overcome so much in your life to build something so beautiful and big – I wish you all the best on this journey!!
Thank you so much for your warm words, they mean a lot to me. Holding a grudge may seem easier but I have seen in life that forgiving no matter how hard it sounds is liberating and a true gift to your self. I could not have walked this path if I bore grudges. It is takes time but ultimately one gets there
Hi Anouradha, it’s great to read through your mind. Forgiveness is the best gift we can give ourselves. It’s always our ego that stops us from forgiving people.
Thanks you Geethica. And you are so right it is our ego that comes in the way of forgiveness. The work is within. Not always easy though!
I Liked every word written and your experiences give me solace. I have learnt from my experiences to ignore the person who has hurt me. For sometime i crib, cry and curse but move away from the incident. I take it as a valuable lesson learnt . Forgiving is the citadel of the brave and people with big hearts.
Thank you Kalpana. I am happy that what I wrote resonated with you. Forgiveness is not easy but it gets better with time till you can make it a way of life. That is the biggest gift you can give yourself.
Beautiful post Anou Di, I am becoming a fan of your writing.
Thank you Balaka. You made my day! Hugs
Loved each and every word. I agree completely though sometimes it takes a long time to forgive and let go.
It takes a long time Rachna. But is is worth the journey in every way. Thank you for your kind words
Beautifully explained. We have to forgive in order to breathe. 🙂
Thank you for your kind words. I remember almost choking with hurt and realised that to breathe I needed to forgive.
I learned this too. 🙂
Forgiveness is the only way to achieve true freedom. Wonderfully written.
Once you learn to forgive, then you are truly free and able to love unconditionally
I dont know if I have learnt to forgive and forget in the truest sense but I have definitely learnt to ignore the comments and behaviour of people who hurt me. I do not hold grudges. I do not like to complex matters. For me life is very simple. I just believe in being truthful to myself. I am sure over a period of time people around me will understand me and i will never have any conflict with anyone. I hope I am doing the right thing.
What a wise attitude to adopt. I hope you never have conflict with anyone. You are doing the right thing! Hugs
Thanks Anoudi .
I so needed this post. I want to forgive, often do, but the one you mentioned as hardest–when someone you love has been hurt–that one has me stymied. Thank you for this.
Yes Jacqui! It is hardest to forgive those who have hurt loves ones. But you have to and do it by first forgiving yourself. It takes time.
Wonderful post, Anouradha. I must admit, I lack the wisdom to be able to fully forgive. I realize the merits of it, but it’s so, so difficult to allow those who have hurt me to just walk away (so to speak), without making it known that what they did was hurtful or wrong. I think, perhaps, I have work to do on forgiving myself first–though that sounds selfish when I write it–before I can forgive the deep wrongs I perceive I’ve undergone (as a child of abusive parents). Somehow, I’ve found a way to compartmentalize the non-forgiveness, or grudge in my case, such that it’s mostly isolated and I don’t feel like I’m living in the past. It takes someone who knows me well, like my husband, to call me out of my false thinking…and for me to accept someone else either (a) telling me what to do or (b) allowing myself to admit that others have hurt me (because, to me, for so long, that has meant showing that I am vulnerable, which is something I HATE to do). Sorry to ramble, but this post has really come at an important time in my life, and I thank you for it, Anouradha, and also to Damyanti, for fostering this incredible “safe space” at Daily Write for me and many others to discuss important interior and external issues, related to writing, to life, to kindness and charity, and to so many other things. Bravo, all around!
Thank you Leigh for your warm words. Forgiveness is not easy. It took me a long time to get to where I am today. We build our coping strategies and they seem to work but not always. I had to work towards forgiving the person who had abused my child. It took a long time but then I realised that I was hurting, my child was hurting and the hurt was taking over all our lives and we feel so vulnerable. But we have to move past it and that meant to forgive and slowly I reached the point I could as I felt that it was the only way not to give space to the hurt. I know it is difficult but in the end it is truly freeing. It is a matter of time. Lots of love and hugs
Sometimes looking at people around you with a sense of humor helps….Like when kids are up to mischief we find it amusing ….When there is hurt if we look at them as kids who have a lot more learning to do in life,….its easier to move on…. Gives us a sense of superiority too 😉
You are right at times humour helps and makes it easier. When the hurt is deep I try to look at it as an observer not an actor and seek the lesson to be learnt. It helps with moving on.
“It was a journey inward. I began looking at every experience, even the most hurtful ones, as moments that would teach me something about myself.” such beautiful words. Forgiveness is the most difficult thing but once we learn it, we know how powerful it is. Congratulations for Project Why.
Thank you Aparna. You are right Forgiveness is indeed very difficult and I had a tough time getting there. It took me half a century! Now I look for the lesson and accept it and move on.
God forgives us and loves us unconditionally and expects us to do the same. That includes forgiving ourselves, which is often the hardest person to forgive.
Anouradha, you are making a difference!
You are so right Alex, it is hardest to forgive one’s self. Thank you for the kind words.
Hi Damyanti – excellent to see Anouradhi here … while her words are so true – we all need to find our way to forgive. People are people and we can only set our own examples for ourselves … and essential to our well-being is learning to forgive. Project Why is an excellent concept .. cheers to you and thanks for this appropriate post. Hilary
It is a pleasure and honour to be here. Deeply grateful to Damyanti for this wonderful opportunity. Yes we all need to find our way to forgive. It is has been a long journey. Thank you Hilary for your kind words for Project Why
How to forgive someone if you have to walk the same path with them and you know you can be back-stabbed again? Won’t you find yourself looking over your shoulder watching the person’s every move? I have a long way to go on this journey but I am glad for you, Ms. Anouradha, for finding your peace.
I have asked myself the question and admit it is not easy. The fear of being hurt again is there. Till I realised that it was a choice I had to make. To free myself of that fear. To understand the lesson, the emotion it triggered in me and release it. It takes time as it is a process a journey but the rewards are really worthwhile.
What you have written makes me believe you because becoming free from the fear is something that I am trying to understand.
Thank you for your time, Anouradha. Thank you!
Forgiveness is a hard thing to do, but once done it’s very liberating. Congratulations on setting up project Why.
Thank you Suzy. Project Why has been very rewarding. You are right forgiveness is a hard thing but it is liberating. I have found it gets easier with time.
A great post. Forgiveness is so important, even if only for our own mental health!
Thank you Mick. Forgiving is important and rewarding for one’s self
Agreed. Forgiving is not easy but go for it at least for our own mental peace.
True it is not easy but once you are able to forgive the rewards are truly worth it.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Great post on forgiveness
Thank you so much Antony
Thank you for joining us for the #WTFoW, Anouradha! It will be a pleasure to read your posts over the next 7 days! I can relate to the lessons on forgiveness very easily because I’ve had a few experiences too that have shaped me and taught me to be forgiving to those who hurt me, Of course, one to wait a long time before realising that forgiveness was going to actually set one free! It was a long and painful journey but one that became a turning point in my life. Yes, definitely the best gift one can give oneself.
Thank you for your warm words. I hope I come up to your expectations.
Forgiveness is not an easy journey and yet it is the one we need to take for ourselves. I can be long and painful. But when you reach that turning point, it is so freeing. It is ultimately about love, isn’t it?
Hi Anouradha, thanks for your blog about forgiveness. My question is: What does it mean to forgive? I can see the positives in this person. I am very close to this person who means the world to me. I hardly look back. But I still feel hurt whenever I think of a certain episode. Does forgiving mean you’ll never feel hurt by what had happened?
I asked myself this question for a long time. What does it mean to forgive?
What I do is ask myself what has this person or event came to teach me and I take that inward journey.
Often the answer is easy and I release the emotion. At times I have to look in deeper but ultimately I find the emotion and release it. Then I can look at the person differently, with gratitude.
You say you still hurt at the thought of a certain episode.
Could you try and look at the hurt and all emotions as experiences you sought— ones that taught you important lessons, and accept them?
This will take time, and yes, you will hurt again but slowly, the hurt will lessen until it finally goes away.
Forgiving, to me, means loving unconditionally.
I can relate to this post and agree with the lessons on forgiveness. Forgiving and letting go isnt easy, but it the best course of action for our own peace of mind and sanity. Good to see you here, Anouradha!
Thank you Shilpa for having read the post. Forgiving is the biggest gift you can give yourself. It takes time to realise the value of letting go. Once you do it becomes a way of life
Advice that is instilled from the years of experience always remains worthy of every alphabet in it. Thanks for sharing your life experiences to drive the point and strike a chord with heart.
Unless one forgives the person(s), the acidic hatred, anger stay put in heart, burning holes in it. Forgiving is the only anecdote for getting rid of pain.
The journey to unconditional forgiveness has been a long one I must admit. And you are right Anagha forgiving is the only way to get rid of pain. But once you understand that it becomes that much easier
The lessons on forgiveness are very true and apt. By forgiving we become richer.
Yes Shubra we become richer by forgiving. What has been your experience in forgiveness?
Wonderful lesson on Forgiveness and also could relate to better as am standing at the crossroads junction
I have stood at crossroads many times in the past. It is not easy but that is when you have to take the first step towards forgiveness. It is just one step and the rest follows with ease.
Beautiful lessons on forgiveness. Some of the hardest and longest trials of forgiveness are the most freeing. <3
Thank you so much. You are so right. It is those that are the hardest to forgive that set us truly free of the burden of the past. It is not always easy though.
Not easy at all and sometimes we think we have forgiven and then find another layer to peel away. Growing up is a lifetime’s work. <3
True it is layer after layer and a long process but when we finally are able to forgive unconditionally we set ourselves free