Lets talk about forgiveness. We often expect it from others quickly, but when it comes time for us to forgive, we take a little more pause, pack it up in its own little (or big) suitcase, and carry it around with us. We lug it from place to place as we go throughout our day, and sometimes those days become weeks, and then months and then years……and it takes a toll on us. It has taken huge tolls on me in the past. Lets talk about how we can give ourselves permission to let it go.
Now, when I say “let it go”, in no way am I saying forget the hurt, or am I minimizing the responsibility of the other person(s) who may have hurt you, but I am saying “let it go” so you can move forward a little more lighter on your feet, a little less angry, a little less anxious, and A LOT more happy! Trust me.
We risk being hurt by others every day. This is what is called life. As lucky as we all are to be living it, it is filled with opportunities for others to come into our lives and cause pain. We have choices when it comes to how we deal with our hurts, but the choices are not easy. When we are children, it is a little harder to understand why people may hurt us, so we internalize it and love them anyway. For instance, I am a child of divorce. For years, I loved my estranged biological father, held him up on a pedestal (which was really just an idealized, wished for version of the father I always wanted), and dismissed realities in order for me to believe he loved me back as well. I carried that mixed bag of emotions with me for years and years. In reality, I was extremely hurt and angry with how life had turned out with that relationship, but it wasn’t until I had my first child, and felt the love of being a parent, that I knew I had to let my anger go when it came to my biological father. It was clouding my feelings of parenting, even though I tried to keep it pushed way down in the depths of my psyche….it was there, and it reared its ugly head from time to time. My unforgiving suitcase had become an entire storage unit, and I just couldn’t pay the rent on it anymore. I forgave him. And I never looked back. I can now think of him and be thankful that he is the reason I am here in the world. I can wish nothing but the best for him and truly enjoy seeing him when that opportunity occasionally arises. I also now believe he loved me to best of his abilities at the time, and that is good enough. I have not forgotten my childhood hurts, but I have forgiven, and choose not to be held hostage by them any longer. And that feels great!
Children don’t always have the capabilities to get away from the ones who hurt them, but as adults we always have that choice. Again, I don’t say that choice is easy, but the choice IS available. Whether it is hurt that involves friendship, or our spouses, or our co-workers, and yes, even our own children, the choice is yours on allowing hurt to continue to take the lead on your daily life. I have dealt with all of the above at some point in my adult life, and have learned that I can only be the happiest version of myself when I am not carrying around resentment or anger towards others. Sometimes although forgiveness was given (on both sides), it does not mean things go back to normal. My first marriage ended in divorce. I have friends that I no longer talk to. I have children who have made choices that I could never fathom. But in all of that, I have learned to work through my responsibilities in those relationships, and my part of where it may have gone off course, and I have forgiven. You can too. You HAVE to. Not for them, but for you. That may sound selfish, but I can promise you that it is not. It is necessary for you to genuinely move forward in life and be open to all the goodness and happiness you deserve. And lets face it, more hurts are in the future, so why collect them as you go along the way? No thanks!!
Finally, lets talk about the number one person you need to forgive….YOURSELF! It has to start with you my friend. No one can make us feel as guilty, or beat ourselves up about our choices more than we do to ourselves. Have you made bad choices in the past? So what. Forgive yourself. Have you hurt others in the past (or maybe currently) and don’t know how to make it right? Pick up the phone. Meet for coffee. TELL them you are sorry. It doesn’t mean you pick up right where it went wrong, but it does mean you both can move forward without ill will. I have yet to meet with a friend or loved one that I might have hurt to tell them I’m sorry, where they didn’t want to hear it. We all crave apologies my friend, whether we admit that or not. So, let yourself off the hook, take the responsibility that you hurt someone, acknowledge it, and then move on. Forgive yourself! It is okay. I promise. But learn from it. Nothing hurts more than when we keep causing hurt to ourselves and/or to others that is on continuous repeat. Truly forgive. And truly move on.
The way I look at it, we are all just the sum of every experience we have in life. The good, the bad, the ugly, and yes, the forgiveness….all of it makes up who we are. We have a choice on what that sum looks like, and I choose daily to make mine created out of loving and forgiving myself and others. How about you? What does the sum of your forgiveness look like?
I absolutely love sharing life with you my friend. Lets just keep doing the best we can each day, shall we?
Anyone, Girl, I Hear Ya?