Note: To preserve privacy of concerned people names of people and places have been changed.
While giving a free counselling session to a 21 year old girl I learnt a profound lesson about my own tendency, holding on the painful past. She is a entrance aspirant who is toiling away for 10+ hours a day. Following is a paraphrased excerpt of what she had to say:
In class 11, I got enrolled for weekend coaching but I was not able to handle it along with school and no holidays. Same went on till 12th standard end so I told my mother I am not able to handle it, I feel I might fail in my board exams. She started shouting that I am good for nothing and that I should have told them earlier. After that I dropped an year and continued coaching with a friend in a different city away from home. After going there the girl fought with me so I got lonely and used to cry alone, later I made some new friends to cope with situation. Their friendship had bad impact on me and that year I scored very low in entrance exam. I decided to drop another year and keep preparing by staying in the residential coaching center , parent agreed. During this time there was a teacher of ours who I had a crush on. All my friends used to say he notices you allot and it seems to be a mutual thing. I got his number somehow and initiated a text conversation which he reciprocated to. This went on for a while and we started meeting each other at the coaching center. I spent a lot of time in thinking about him and didn’t focus as much on my studies. He used to call me at his place sometimes and we got physical. By this time I had fallen head over heals for him but did notice that response from his side was lukewarm at times. One day he called me at his place so I told I’m on my period to which he said “no need to come then, take rest”. I got hurt and argued with him that I am about to leave as exam is near he could have called me just to spend time with me. All this while my second attempt got ruined and I expected that. I had realized he is not into me and cut off contact. After latest failure I again decided to give my exam by preparing at same hostel and coaching. This time I had decided to give my best but soon enough he texted me and apologized for his behavior. I thought maybe I misunderstood him and I was still in love with him so we started talking again. This time it ended the same way as he had not really changed and when all this went downhill I told myself “its all my fault, I ruined my own life”.
To this day the girl has a lot of anger and deep regrets towards her past. She is also in a rough family environment due to constant failures. After spending 2 years at the coaching center with no success corona struck the country and she had to study for remaining attempt from home. She is no longer is touch with that teacher but still struggles with the pain caused by that relationship. When I looked at it logically the situation had little to do with “her being a bad person or intentionally ruining her life”. Love is a free flowing emotion which can overpower the best of us. When things go south its not wise to blame others but its all the more crucial that we don’t keep blaming ourselves for it. The inner merciless critic, the paternal voice must be put to ease by spending some time to process the pent up emotions and for that meditation may not be enough. This leads me to say we don’t forgive people for their sake but for our sake. Swamiji said once that when we forgive someone’s transgression nature forgives us for one of ours. In that spirit lets try and drop one weight at a time.