I don’t understand those who choose not to forgive. It’s weak and self-destructive to live with so much anger and hatred in your heart rather than moving on so you can be at peace with your circumstances and more importantly, yourself. Such negativity eats away at you, it rots your soul. It’s impossible to live like that.
It’s difficult to move forward in life while you’re still hanging on to the negativity in your past. Life is too short to carry cruel and negative people with you. It’s important to reach contentment and only carry those who bring joy to you through kindness and love.
When I was young, my dad used to tell me a famous Buddhist story that’s always relevant and may be broadly applied:
Two monks were making a pilgrimage to venerate the relics of a great Saint. During the course of their journey, they came to a river where they met a beautiful young woman — an apparently worldly creature, dressed in expensive finery and with her hair done up in the latest fashion. She was afraid of the current and afraid of ruining her lovely clothing, so asked the brothers if they might carry her across the river.
The younger and more exacting of the brothers was offended at the very idea and turned away with an attitude of disgust. The older brother didn’t hesitate, and quickly picked the woman up on his shoulders, carried her across the river, and set her down on the other side. She thanked him and went on her way, and the brother waded back through the waters.
The monks resumed their walk, the older one in perfect equanimity and enjoying the beautiful countryside, while the younger one grew more and more brooding and distracted, so much so that he could keep his silence no longer and suddenly burst out, “Brother, we are taught to avoid contact with women, and there you were, not just touching a woman, but carrying her on your shoulders!”
The older monk looked at the younger with a loving, pitiful smile and said, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river; you are still carrying her.”
“You are still carrying her.”
This is one of the truest Zen stories. Everyone can understand this. It has even it made into a kid’s book.