I asked my friend, “how do we love in the face of chaos and violence?” She replied, “love comes for me when I pause and truly look at the other”. When we look at the other and understand that they withhold stories of their own, ones that might be filled with so much rage and terror, happiness and love, we realise that we are all one and the same. All of us have stories.

Valarie Kuar taught me an important tool today – to wonder. To be curious about the other. But before we can wonder, we need to find peace within ourselves first – at least to a certain extent. There’s a huge chunk disappointment and anger during my teen years that I have not found peace yet. I find myself holding onto those painful memories like how a koala bear would cling into the eucalyptus tree. Except, the leaves on the tree would sustain the koala, but those on my branch drives me deeper into resentment and hate.

I’ve wondered for many years as to the reasons why I was treated at seen in a certain way. Why I was denied a chance to attain a goal I dreamt about for years. So a few years ago, I approached the individual who was largely responsible for that rejection but the answers were unsatisfactory to me.

There’s a possibility that those answers were real, but I simply couldn’t accept them, or that individual didn’t have the capacity to be vulnerable towards me in her answers. We can never change another, can we?

As I’m writing this post, I’m realising my own ability to forgive. Something deep within me is crying – not from pain but from some sort of relief. The burden of hating someone wears a person down – it truly does. I’m learning that it’s incredibly tough work to be vulnerable and because I just realised that she might not have the ability to be vulnerable towards me now, I can find the capacity to love her. Because all of us work on our own time, and I’m on my own path, and so is she.

It’s been fifteen years since all of that happened. I have wondered, and I have contemplated, and I have realised. To choose love is too be vulnerable. To breathe courage is very much needed.

I forgive.

Watch: TED Talk – Valarie Kuar: 3 lessons of revolutionary love in a time of rage.