"Someone only gives what they have plenty of," my grandfather noted. "If they give hurt, it's because they have an abundance of pain. If they give compassion, it's because they have a lot of that within."
We were seated across one another, sipping chai. The sky wasn't lit yet and our voices were hushed. India was still asleep. The only sound was the clunk of the vegetable lady's cart outside.
He and my father always had the ability to shake off any form of malice from others---patients, friends, strangers. It's in my DNA to see the best in people, even when it puts me in danger of being taken advantage of. My family's dealings with people have taught me from a young age that the famous quote is indeed true: everyone is fighting a hard battle.
"Sometimes we will hurt, too, without meaning or even realizing it," he added. "Don't ever try to retaliate. Retaliation is progressive and never ends."
It was there, in his lessons on hurt and compassion, that I uncovered more on forgiveness. I've been hurt in small and large ways in the past few years, as all of us have. I'm sure I've hurt as well.
We know that forgiveness is the step to inner peace and I've been able to add to the definition. It's the absence of needing retaliation because you don't even care to react. It's being able to think: Hey, I truly wish you the best and hope you are fulfilled and content.
It's, most of all, letting go. One day, you realize that your life is bursting at the seams with love and promise and nothing else matters. If the hurt crosses your mind, it's okay, because it just as quickly leaves without ruffling your feathers. You've been too full with other facets, with the forward motion of time, to be concerned with the irrelevant insecurities of others. Then, with a level of detachment, you realize you've already been exhaling it: forgiveness.