On the same note as my previous post, I have more inspiration from my most recent anime obsession.
I didn’t have time for it and it was off topic anyway, but it was something I just had to write about.
On My Hero Academia there is a character called Shouto (Shoto?) Todoroki, not sure I spelt either of those right.
He has a pretty tragic backstory, as even the main character of the show, Deku, admits. Purposely more like a traditional superhero’s backstory instead of the more conventional ones most of the others have.
I’ll just sum it up, abusive father, mom went off deep end because of it, and he has a permanent scar on his face from where she burned it.
Yeah, most of the fandom hates his dad’s guts.
Anyway, Todoroki starts off as a cool and composed guy, not really friendly or nice, just kind of there. And stays that way up until the tournament when Deku successfully pushes him to break down his walls and come to terms with himself. But Todoroki ends up still needing to revisit that, and as of now, is still dealing with his resentment and hate for his father, and his issues with not wanting to become him.
All too familiar to many of us with parents who made us miserable.
Of course, it’s a little rougher when half your body is literally reminding you of said parent every day. Ouch.
Yeah, your heart breaks a little for the poor guy.
But watching it, I realized something about hate, and about forgiveness, that wasn’t really clear to me before.
I’ve grown up hearing that we should forgive. That our salvation actually depends on it. But sometimes the reasons behind this are passed over.
Hate, resentment, and bitterness tend to blind us to their own effects. It’s sad, but most of us have people we resent, even if we think we are well-adjusted and have moved on.
True forgiveness is rare because it is really, really hard.
People will say unforgiveness will put you in a prison. That forgiving really frees you.
Todoroki made this clear in a new way.
Another student accuses him of having his father’s eyes, eyes filled with hate at something. This horrifies him, as you can imagine.
And yikes, how many of us have been told we’re like our parent whom we feel is so unkind to us?
I have. I always hated it.
The thing is, I am like that parent in many ways. Not necessarily bad ways. But that last thing we want is to turn into the kind of person who hurt us.
But the kicker is, hate, it does that.
Hate made Todoroki more like his father than he realized. He treated people the same way. Maybe his was born out of his pain more than his pride, yet it ended up having the same effect, and unfortunately, pain often turns into pride.
We can be so good as convincing ourselves we’re okay without love. And okay shutting off a part of our lives.
I do that more than I admit, I think. I don’t realize I’m doing it. But I prefer to forget all the pain and crap happened to me.
Especially when it borders on abuse, or some kind of unfair treatment, you want to deny it really happened to you.
In Todoroki’s case, the evidence is right there on his face for all to see. Many people have scars like that, maybe not on their face, but things they can’t remove that remind them of what happened.
Often, like him, they choose to withdraw emotionally. To become cold, hard like rock, and determined to prove they can survive on their own.
But if we think about it honestly (hard to do) we’ll have to recognize that parents and other perpetrators, they probably made that same choice back when they went wrong. They chose to withdraw, and then they became abusive, or cruel, or bitter.
And since sin always springs form similar sources, it’s in repeating their emotional sin that we start to repeat their actions.
That’s why not forgiving is so very dangerous. You will become what you do not forgive.
Racism goes both ways. One race abuses another, then the abused race starts to hate them, then when the odds shift to their favor they often do the same thing.
People who obsess over what was done to them start to neglect their own responsibilities. They end up hurting other people.
“Hurting people hurt people,” is a saying that is true. The only way to not hurt people is to heal the hurt in yourself. To seek healing really, since we can’t heal ourselves.
It’s in forgiving my parent that I’ve started to see why they are the way they are, why it’s wrong, and how I tend to do the same thing out of my own insecurity.
It takes strength to say the cycle ends here. To decide you will pursue healing until you no longer have forgiveness.
But in the end, if you want to be better than them, you have to do that.
Strangely, grace is not only what saves us from our own sins, but giving it is what saves us from other people’s.
Sin is contagious just as much for the pain it cause as for the pleasure. Much like untreated wounds can spread infection.
We should not blame ourselves for what people did to us, we only need to realize it’s up to us to seek healing. We can’t wait for someone else to force it on us.
Deku is a rare find. Most of us will have to make that choice without someone hammering away at our walls until we snap. Though if you have someone like that, good for you.
I still get angry, but I spend so much less time angry than I used to because I’ve begun to realize the real freedom lies in letting it go. It took me over 6 years to get to where I understood this at all, though I mentally accepted it before then, but at last I am starting to feel it.
When you are angry, this is really hard to accept, we have so many excuses to hold onto our hate.
Which is why it takes character to decide to forgive anyway.
You won’t feel it, you’ll feel like your anger is justified, but if you’re honest enough to accept that you need to let it go anyway, then I’m confident you’ll succeed.
It’s not impossible. It just takes patience.
Until next time–Natasha.