Forgive to be Free!
Forgive to be Free!
I once heard, “How you’re being in one part of your life, is how you’re being in every part of your life.” It doesn’t ring truer than regarding the quality of the relationships of your family. My older brother Keith and I were very close when I was very young. We would play music together, spend time in my room together and play sports together. After a joke though, that all changed...
When I was 13 years old, I was working at the Flea Market for a hardware store moving tools from inside our store to our outside showcase. All of a sudden, my brother, walks around the corner and yells “Hey Man-u-al…..Man-u-al La-bor” like a big joke since I was doing heavy lifting all day. He was laughing. I wasn’t and it was at the moment I made what my brother said mean that he didn’t care or love me.
For the next 19 years, my brother and I have been very distant and I never wanted to spend time with him anymore.
19 years later, I’m sitting in a room of people and we have a discussion of forgiveness. Normally when I hear that, I’m like “Well yeah, forgive people is just saying that I forgive them because it makes them happy, right?” What I realized was missing is that I didn’t know what the heck forgiving someone ACTUALLY meant and the power it had to set me free from pain and constrain. I got that forgiveness means that I am able to be complete with the other person regarding a situation that happened and be free of the pain and constraints of it without ever allowing it again to impact my future.
When I discovered that what I really wanted in my life was to be close to all of my family and especially my brother, I called him up on the phone. At that exact moment, I got what I was committed to in my relationship with Keith was more important than how I felt about talking about it and right then, I told him a story…”Remember when I was 13 and you came to the flea market and said this joke? Well, after that I thought that you didn’t love me and only wanted to make fun of me and that’s why I became distant for the last two decades! I’m sorry for making it mean when all you said was quite frankly, a pretty funny joke, and pulling away from you all these years!” He paused and then said, "and all this time I thought it was something that you experienced that pulled you away and not me!"
At that moment, we connected and I got my brother back in my life and we have been a lot closer since then.
Forgiveness and acknowledgement, I’ve learned, is the key to great relationships.
Alex Macklin is a Certified Personal Trainer and Yoga teacher in San Diego. He specializes in building strength, mobility, flexibility and rehabilitation with his clients. His mission is to empower people to their own greatness with strength, grace and passion.