A compassionate end to melodrama, Forgiveness.
Every evening, as a child, I used to create all sort of excuses to be able to stay longer in the kitchen and watch soap operas. My parents didn‘t condone it, but I think they didn’t mind that much. Life in soap operas seemed chaotic and exciting, full of drama, love, deceit and forgiveness. An exaggeration of real life. Nevertheless, in the same way a fish does not recognize the water it lives in, or a human the air it breathes, I didn't realize that, in fact, my life was not that far from a soap opera.
So, yes, life is full of drama! We have all lived through it, in one way or another. It’s part of the social construct created in our collective and individual minds. The majority of us have struggled with it all the way into adulthood; carrying the baggage of unhealed wounds into our own stories. And just like that, we foster the continuation of the sequel, our own personal soap opera. Soap operas are melodramas; usually focused on family issues. Love and deceit are major topics and there is always at least one antagonist. Seldom, are the protagonists and antagonist able to resolve their issues easily and therefore, the drama is allowed to continue. Forgiveness usually doesn’t come until the end; or else the soap opera would be cut short. To the majority of us, the end is always fantastical and idealistic, not quite fit for reality. Yet, does forgiveness actually end the drama in real life? What if there is some truth in that? After all, it all sounds very familiar.
We, as the protagonist of our story, will probably face a good variety of antagonists during our life. Unfortunately, a few of them will be thorns, inflicting us with what seems to be a never ending source of suffering. Our lives may become daily episodes of dramatic situations and encounters. Our mind can get entangled, feeding itself on the negative energy; creating a world not too distant from a melodrama. However, what if we could actually cut our soap opera short? Should we attempt to forgive and say “The End”?
Forgiveness, yikes! It’s not easy. It definitely is nothing we can force ourselves to do; it is difficult to pretend, and it doesn’t even come naturally to us. Vengeance and hatred come easier to us! How can we actually forgive someone who never changes? The answer I believe is found in COMPASSION.
It is difficult for people to change, no doubt about that. Nevertheless, we have to believe is possible; if not, there is no point in self-improvement. However, people change on their own terms and time, and usually not on our schedule. Extending compassion to a difficult person should come from the realization that he or she suffers and that they probably have an accumulation of wounds built up in their minds. The source of their negativity is always pain, and therefore, they inflict pain on others. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge that forgiveness doesn’t mean to continue in a relation with a difficult person. We can forgive and move away. Especially if that person still tries to hurt us. Always remember that compassion should be directed towards you as well.
Forgiveness is a one way street; compassion is the vehicle, and inner peace is the destination. We should forgive others in order to arrive at that place and end the drama in our mind. This should come independently of others and their ability to change or not. As the great Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn says:
“ Forgiveness will not be possible until compassion is born in your heart”