The concept of forgiveness came up in my reading this morning and is something I know I need to work on.
There are some people that I would probably be better off if I forgave them. Four of them aren’t even active participants in my life anymore.
I pick these people in my mind because when I think of these people the first thing that comes up is usually a negative emotion; sometimes it’s pretty intense. And you know what, that doesn’t do anything except bring me down. With the four people I don’t even talk to anymore, they don’t even know I still think about them. How I feel or think about them doesn’t impact them one single little bit. I could be sending them love mentally every single day, or I could be poking voodoo dolls with their likeness before I go to sleep at night, and they probably have no idea either way. So whether I think about them, or not, or whether I forgive them, or not, really has nothing to do with them. Not a damn thing changes for them if I forgive them, or not. But it has everything to do with me, and how I process what happened, and how I live my life and go forward.
And the more I think about it, the way I feel or think about anyone in my current life also doesn’t impact them either. Because that’s my internal experience, that only I’m participating in. (Of course that influences my behavior around them though, which they do get to feel/see… but it starts from within.)
Not forgiving these people hasn’t served me. It distracts me. It brings my mood down. I tend to ruminate on these negative thoughts instead of doing something else that feels better, or thinking or working on something that actually matters. Because one thing is for sure, me railing in my head over, and over, and over, and over, about how I’ve been wronged, is not at all productive, obviously, as nothing has changed in the past few years in me doing so.
I have had a couple of breakthroughs in forgiveness in my life.
I had a boyfriend I had been dating for about one year cheat on me. I found out and confronted him. It devastated me. I was absolutely crushed. But we stayed together. I wouldn’t make that same choice today. However, I loved him, and I chose to try to work through it with him. And he wanted to work through it with me. So about a year later, I impulsively told him that I forgave him. And you know what, the uplifting I felt in that very moment was astounding. A tremendous burden lifted off of me. I could physically feel it leave in my chest and shoulders. It was incredible. And – I think he felt a similar lift – because he cried with joy he was so incredibly happy to hear that I was able to finally get past what had happened. So I know forgiveness is powerful.
I forgave my dad. He wasn’t a very good dad when I was growing up. He wasn’t malicious, but he just had a lot of inner demons that got in his way. They are still there. So he’s still not the greatest dad. But, over the years I’ve realized a few things. First, he cares about me, in his own way. And he does the best he can, in the best way he knows how. Sometimes that’s not very well at all. Sometimes it’s pretty good. But I’ve accepted his weaknesses and limitations. And because I know what he did/does isn’t malicious, I know it’s not about me, but rather, it’s about him. So I’ve forgiven him. And now we have a pretty good relationship. And now, I can say I love my dad unconditionally, even though he’s a flawed individual. He may never read this (he’s not really a computer guy), but if he does, I love you Dad.
So in typing that out, I just realized that that’s probably a really powerful place to be with most of the people that wrong us, if we can get there. So I think that is my goal, actually. To get there with everyone, past and present.