Monthly Archives: May 2013

Forgiveness, continued.

crying eye

It strikes me as funny, how I can feel like I have learned a lesson fully, and then, another opportunity to learn it comes along.

At the end of last week, I found myself tight, like a giant knot, unable to loosen. I was distracted, distant and disconnected. I acted like nothing was wrong, when I clearly knew that something was. I was in my head, swimming in the thoughts of what I had done wrong, and it seemed so clear and logical, from my own perspective.

Once again, I had chosen guilt and shame, and made a decision based upon that. At the time that I was lost in my thoughts, it wasn’t occurring to me that I had another choice, to choose something other than guilt. In order to choose something different, I had to be ready to tell myself the truth, about what I really believed, and to forgive myself.

I stood in front of the bedroom mirror, looking at myself, dead in the eye. I wanted to turn away. I wanted to RUN away. I felt fear, and anger at myself. I knew that I would have to tell the truth, in order to walk away from my reflection. The REAL truth.

The exercise was simple: look at myself, dead in the eye, and say out loud, over and over again, what my belief was, what I had done wrong. Until, I hear the absurdity of it, can smile at myself, and in turn, forgive myself.

After a minute of telling myself it was stupid, that it wouldn’t work anyway, I said the words out loud:

“It is my fault that she is destitute.”

I then said it again. And again, again…..

And, once more.

I had to say it until I broke the spell of the words, until I was willing to get out of my head and to bring the runaway train of my thoughts to a screeching halt. I had to say it out loud until I heard the flawed ideas and mistruths.

The truth is, it is NOT my fault. The other truth is, she is NOT destitute.

I was guilt free, if I gave myself that gift. I smiled at the silliness of it all, the ridiculous way that my mind thinks when I do nothing to challenge it.

The real truth is, that I made a choice, years ago, to build my life alone. That was after years of making it my job to fix anything that I saw as broken in her. Taking away her ability to save herself, and bigger than that, not trusting that she even could. After all, I was supposed to be the hero in the story, or so I believed. The one to save her from herself.

How important I saw myself in that scene. And so short sighted.

Because I can now see the real truth, the fact that she is able to care for herself more than sufficiently, and that it was never my role, especially now, to take care of her needs for her, I could let go of that which I bound myself with. I could let go of the guilt that I used to berate myself, and I could move and breathe again. I could build something different.

I am free.

And, the lesson, although I may face it one day again in my life, will never be learned in quite the same way.

shapebuddha

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Forgiveness.

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Today, I have been thinking quite a bit on forgiveness. When a transgression has occurred; when we have been wronged; the action of forgiving that action. For me, I can say that it feels fulfilling and healing when I have received forgiveness for a mistake I have made, or when I have hurt another person.

However, what I understand more deeply today, is that the hardest forgiveness to ask for, and to receive, is forgiveness of oneself.

I have done many things in my life, that under other circumstances, I may have made a different choice. For all of those choices that happened in the past, I haven’t been given forgiveness formally from the person or persons that it affected. However, I have given forgiveness to myself.

In those times when I don’t forgive myself, and instead, keep myself on the hook for a choice or behavior out of guilt or shame, in those times I can’t be my best self. I feel so upset, angry, disappointed and ashamed, that I can’t offer anything better to anyone else either.

The kicker is, until I offer forgiveness to myself, I will be convinced that the people around me are the culprits. Take my breakup from my ex partner for example. Before I was willing and ready to forgive myself, for saying goodbye to the relationship, and for moving out of the house, I was blaming her for all that she didn’t do differently; and angry because she wouldn’t just forgive ME already.

When I have not yet forgiven myself for a past action, I will hold onto my judgments of others more fiercely than ever. When I was finally ready to forgive myself, regardless of whether or not I received forgiveness from her, I was free. I no longer had to hold her in a place of judgment, nor did I have to second guess all of the choices that I had made.

Now, forgiving myself doesn’t mean not taking responsibility where I need to, either. That is always something that needs to happen, in my mind. Even though a part of me can believe that I don’t need to take responsibility, that doesn’t hold much credibility. Instead, when I make a bad choice, I get to apologize and take responsibility for that choice, in a genuine way; and then, forgive myself.

If it is true that relationships are as essential to human beings as the air that we breathe, then I believe that I need to do everything that is possible to preserve those relationships.

My very life depends upon it.