When I was younger, I would listen to people talk about how forgiveness was healing and that it was to the benefit of the forgiver more than the one forgiven, and I snorted in disbelief. Like many teens and young adults, I was arrogantly sure that my righteous anger was better than any potential healing forgiving someone might bring. Needless to say, as with so many things, maturity has taught me the folly of that belief.
Several years back I was working for a non-profit agency. There was a supervisor there with whom I had a challenged relationship. Overall we seem to get along fairly well however whenever there was a situation in which he was my supervisor I seem to irritate him. I think he was concerned that my loyalty was not to him. To be fair, in some ways that was true because I did have other supervisors, and in many cases my loyalty was to them. But he never understood that I could be loyal to more than one person if I felt that that loyalty was also extended to me. I never felt that with this person. He eventually became the executive director of this non-profit agency and within a few years of his ascension I was fired. Allegedly it was because there was no money to continue funding my position. However, considering that after I was gone someone else took the exact same job I would have to question that. Needless to say, I was devastated for years after. It was very traumatic, and I held on to anger and hostility towards this person for many, many years.
Recently I reconnected with two co-workers from that agency. During the course of our conversation this person was mentioned. I knew he had been fired from the non-profit where we were a few years after me. I have no idea why he was let go, but I will admit to experiencing a sense of schadenfreude when I heard the news. While talking with my friend, she mentioned that he had been out of work for a few years and was having a difficult time finding a new job. Based on things I’ve heard about this person, he is his own worst enemy and unfortunately has a tendency to undermine himself. However when my friend mentioned that he was interviewing for a new position I found myself genuinely wishing him well. That’s when I realized, I had finally let go of my anger and forgave him. The truth is I might have let go of the anger years ago but had no reason to consider it. Now that I was looking at it, I understood that I had finally let It go and I felt better, lighter. I finally understood what people meant when they said forgiveness helped the forgiver as much as, or more than, the forgiven. So I decided to pull some cards to explore how this situation influenced me.
- How did holding on to the anger benefit me? The Chariot
- How did releasing the anger and forgiving help me? 8 of Rivers
- How can I embrace this lesson and allow this healing energy to benefit me in the future? 2 of Trees
The Chariot shows me that the anger allowed me to feel I had control over the situation or that I had some ability to influence it in some way. It allowed me to create a “sour grapes” type of scenario and convince myself that the agency didn’t deserve me anyway. Holding on to the anger helped me create a mask to hide behind and avoid dealing with the feelings of hurt and betrayal.
In the 8 of Rivers, Rachel Pollack writes “the 8 of Rivers shows the powerful new self who emerges after the liberating effective anger or simply telling the truth. The card says: if you feel like a new person trusts the feeling”. I cannot imagine a more perfect card appearing in response to this question! I do feel liberated and freer. I feel as though I was able to release some of those inner demons haunting me; or better said take off the mask of anger I was hiding behind to reveal a truer self. By releasing the anger, I opened myself up to connecting to my emotions on a deeper level.
Rachel writes “The trees form a gate that opens to new experience. The image suggests a gateway, a moment in our lives when we feel opportunities open before us. Opening to a higher level of awareness”. I can embrace this lesson by seeing it as the opportunity that it is; embracing its potential for transformation. In Tarot, the twos often represent a partnership. In this instance, I think the 2 of Trees is showing me that what I need to partner my emotional and spiritual side so that I can embrace the opportunities this experience is presenting to me.
This experience has helped me shed the angry, emotionally immature part of myself, and will allow me to move forward with a less reactive, childish mindset. It also helped me realize that holding on to that anger was giving that person power over my life, something to which they have never been entitled. Was it a devastating experience? Yes. Was it a learning experience? Also, yes. Did it break me? No, it made me stronger. Holding on to the resentment and anger I felt towards this person created a narrative of victimhood, and I refuse to be a victim. Realizing that I am able to, and have, released it allows me to change that narrative.