The Most Selfish Thing I’ve Ever Done

The Thanksgiving holiday period is now over. For some dear people in my life, they weren’t wonderful times. For many, the holidays are cold, dark, and lonely.

One friend mentioned the challenge of trying to forgive someone who’d hurt them and wouldn’t even acknowledge their actions.

I carried anger and bitterness for much of my life. In some cases I noticed that the people who had done things that led to my anger and bitterness–and refused to even acknowledge what they’d done–had gotten on with their lives while I was still mired in pain and worse.

Over time, I began to realize how much my feelings of hurt, anger, resentment, and bitterness were hurting me while not hurting them in any way. In some cases they may not have even thought about me for a long time.

So I did a hugely selfish thing. I forgave them. I refused to let their old actions have so much control over me anymore. I did it completely for myself. I kept focusing on myself and my needs rather than on their actions. I made it all about me.

Eventually, I was able to begin healing. Amazingly, at some point, I even began to notice that that I’d become a better person as a result.

Later still, I began to appreciate the “bad” events and betrayals, the lies and deceptions, for who and what the situations had helped me to become.

Stronger. More empathetic. Wiser. Kinder.

Those were MY choices and MY actions, and I was proud for having made and taken them.

I didn’t stop trusting people less, but myself more. I worked on myself, and focused on what I wanted most in my life.

At the top of my list was people who love, trust, and appreciate me for who I am. I had a lot of work to do on myself, but it got easier, and over time my relationships and world began to transform into something beautiful and magnificent, from one that had been lonely, dark, and cold.

I have much respect and empathy for anyone who struggles to forgive. I know it can be a big–sometimes huge–challenge, but I wish everyone who is in that place great success.

If you are hurting, I don’t know who hurt you or how badly, my friend. But I do know that I and many, many others wish good things for you, easing of your pain, and healing.

May you find what you seek and get what you need.


About russtowne

I'm awed by the beauty of nature and the power of love and gratitude. Some of my favorite sensory experiences include waves crashing on rocky shores, waterways in ancient redwood and fern-filled forests, and rain. My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. I manage a wealth management firm that I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of approximately 60 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children.
This entry was posted in Anger, Breakthroughs, Challenges, Dealing with Pain & Grief, Forgiveness, Growth/Learning, Loneliness, Patience & Persistence and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Most Selfish Thing I’ve Ever Done

  1. What a beautiful and timely piece Russ. I also wish those struggling with pain and forgiveness success and peace.

  2. Beautiful. And yes, timely as the comment above so eloquently pointed out. We move from Giving Thanks to just trying to keep up with giving shiny stuff away, checking off our lists…but you found the spot in between that we really should think about every day, no matter the month, day or hour!!

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful and kindful comment. I know that “kindful” may not be a word yet, but it should be. I believe your comment is full of kindness. May your world be kindful.


  3. Thank you for your honesty about such a personal yet all too important matter dear Russ. I read this on my Android last night and each word you wrote reached out to me in the silence of the kitchen. I felt your heart across the miles. I felt the courage to forgive. I felt the closure of a chapter in your life. I felt your words mirror my own. Your story could well have been my own. It’s been a process. Forgiveness is a process. I believe you have come to a place of strength in order to even write this. And what a place that is! I am moved by the choices you have made to be where you are today. Sharon

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you for such a kind and thougtful comment, Sharon. Whenever I read your blog I feel I’ve come home. It is such an inviting and wonderful site. I can tell that you’ve done a lot of work to become a person whose warmth and wisdom can be felt arond the world.


  4. jiltaroo says:

    I wish I could be so selfish….you are strong Russ, and wise. There are some things difficult to forgive even at the detriment of self…so I just try not to think about it too often. Jen

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