You should cry if you did not treat them as awesome as possible when they were alive.
You should cry if you had an unsettled dispute.
You should cry if you found ways not to help when they asked for help.
You should cry if you loved them but treated strangers better.
Life is for the living. Life should be celebrated with the living. We’re capable of wasting so much energy bickering to keep grudges alive or ignoring siblings, family, ex-best friends, etc for years at a time.
You have to wake up every morning and decide to hate someone (same with love, matter of factly). It’s a choice.
*That’s why my amnesia pill is gonna be a big hit. Idea #86 is an amnesia pill – probably call it Forgetia [fore-GEH-shƏ]. Without getting too technical, I’ll explain that it will have varying dosages based on the memories targeted: long term, short term, core, or dream. After a certain amount of time has passed, the memory becomes stale but remains accessible. The memories are easiest to remove in a stale state, and the pill releases a chemical that severs the connections between the logic brain and the memory. Without a link to the memory, it doesn’t exist anymore. I credit the movies Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Inside Out for the inspiration.
I’m being facetious even though I seriously wrote down the idea. The joke is that anyone would sign up for such a pill, because erasing a grudge, feud, some hatred, or trauma is waaay easier than doing the hard work of forgiving.
Consider the amount of energy it took me and you just now to romanticize the Forgetia pill(and you’re probably still going). What if it took less mental work every day to tell yourself to get along with someone or to be nice to someone that can do nothing for you? What if it was less stressful to go to the Family Dinner and hug your brother, sister, cousin, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, mom, or dad and tell them that you want to forgive them, and you’re trying?
Everyone that’s born from a woman has a ticking clock. You don’t get to settle these things when they’re dead. Help yourself sleep at night, and wake up every day intending to squash it.
If it’s not that easy for you, here are some questions to ask yourself to kick start this process:
- To whom is the grudge or bitterness directed?
- Is the person(s) from Question 1 deceased? (If yes, STOP HERE. No further questions need to be answered.)
- If not deceased, is the person affected by the negative energy you are directing toward them?
- Do you understand that forgiving is not for the benefit of the person in Question 1, and that it is for you? (Warning: You may need to seek counsel, be it professional or religious, if the answer is not yes)
- Who benefits from the animosity?
- Is what you are protecting yourself from a real danger?
- Can you name the people that have encouraged you to forgive, move-on, or let it go?
- Do any of the people from Question 7 have your best interest in mind?
- Aside from yourself, who else is being negatively impacted? (If any of these names are from Question 7, seek their forgiveness. Maybe add a hug or handshake.)
I don’t live in a world where getting over wrongs is easy. It’s ridiculous hard. I practice forgiving, because I’m always doing the math on whether the mental energy expended will yield enough of a return to make the mental strain worthwhile. Said a less fancy way would be “Is it really worth caring about”. Most of the time, it isn’t.
If you showed kindness and compassion,
If you made them aware that you cared,
If you appreciated them,
If you forgave them,
If you loved them,
Then you should celebrate their lives. Cry if you must because you’ll miss their presence, but grief isn’t what you should feel.
*UPDATE: Scientists may have beaten me to the punch. Read article from The Telegraph(UK) here.