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Forgiveness Is the Fragrance That the Violet Sheds on the Heel That Has Crushed It – Mark Twain

Forgiveness Is the Fragrance That the Violet Sheds on the Heel That Has Crushed It – Mark Twain

At some point in life, we will all metaphorically, like this flower, be crushed by the heel of another.  What this quote demonstrates so beautifully is that similar to the violet, we humans can still produce something beautiful, something peaceful, and something pleasant, despite the negative and challenging events in our life through the power of forgiveness. 

Remember that forgiveness is not about forgetting the past.  Forgiving others or ourselves, only to go right back to the same situations or the same people and allowing them to continue to hurt us in the same way, does us absolutely no good.  It’s an important distinction to remember; forgive, but never forget. 

Keep in mind that forgiveness is a gift for you and you alone.  It’s that fragrance that signals to others that despite the harm, despite the pain that might have been caused, you have not yielded your power and inner peace.  There is nothing good that comes from giving away to others or events, the power to shape our future, control our happiness, and design our destiny.

Move your life forward and let your actions be the fragrance that signals to others that you still control your own inner peace.

Forgiveness Is the Fragrance That the Violet Sheds on the Heel That Has Crushed It – Mark Twain
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  1. This is wonderful, going to share 🙂

  2. Beautiful and absolutely true!

  3. Forgiveness is surrendering my right to hurt you back if you hurt me.

  4. was drawn in by the beautiful purple bloom – can smell the fragrance of forgiveness and imagination

  5. Very stimulating post! Here are my thoughts….

    German scientists have found that, quote, “the lovely scent of cut grass is the reek of plant anguish.” Apparently when some plants are attacked they release airborne chemical compounds to help it. Scientists are now saying that “plants can use these compounds almost like language, notifying nearby creatures who can “rescue” them from insect attacks” (see: http://io9.com/5623112/the-smell-of-freshly-cut-grass-is-actually-a-plant-distress-call).

    As a nearby creature, I would hear the call.

    This idea of a plant in anguish (such as a violet which leaves the trace of it’s smell on the boot of a heel that has crushed) is sad. It quite possibly is not just a call to forgive the boot, but also a call to action. It is like seeing the blood of a child on the knife of an offender. The fragrance or blood (in the instance of my more violent example), is a cry for help. It does no good to not forgive the offender (people do unwise things). Let the anger go, but take action for the other children (or flowers) who could be in danger.

    Who will speak up for the second violet about to be crushed? Although I can see how forgiveness is a healthy way to “let go” so that a person isn’t harbouring bad feelings that can rob her of future happiness, I do feel, at times, to be wise, forgiveness may need to be coupled with courage and action to prevent future harm to other creatures. The quote makes me think of a doormat forgiving the feet which step upon it.

    It’s a fascinating metaphor for forgiveness although it probably didn’t come from Mark Twain as is commonly understood on the Internet. The Quote Investigator has found multiple versions in a variety of forms going back to 1794 (see: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/09/30/violet-forgive/ )

    I personally like to think of the saying in terms of kindness, not forgiveness. Maybe the heel fell on the plant without understanding its fragility? The plant dies wisely. I find inspiration in an earlier version of the same idea presented in a poem by Reverend Colton in 1812 which tells of how a “sandal-tree” is an example of a plant which had been “wronged” but reacted with “forgiveness” and “kindness”:

    The falling Sandal-Tree sheds fragrance round,
    Perfumes the axe that fells it to the ground;
    Some through their tortured trunks a balm supply,
    And to give life to their destroyer—die;

    I would understand how people unknowingly and heartlessly destroy that which is beautiful in nature, but I would cry for the tree and take the axes away from those who are falling the Sandal-Trees.

  6. Another thought: The boot that stepped onto the violet couldn’t help but have some of the goodness from the flower rubbed onto it.

  7. Love this post! I always say the very same thing – forgive, but don’t forget. Forgiveness is a powerful thing, and it’s something you do for yourself, not so much for the other person/s.

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