"To err is human. To forgive is divine." Alexander Pope
Forgiveness has been in the forefront and "theme" in my life for the last few days. There have been several situations where I have allowed myself to take things a little too personally probably overreacting or even being in a situation where someone had been holding a grudge against me for years. And even a family member who has hurt me for many years that is bringing up old emotional wounds.
Last weekend, my husband and I were on a very rare "date" night when we got asked to come and hang out with some of my husband's old friends. My husband being the introvert that he is was quick to say "It's date night - not tonight!" but me - the extrovert and social butterfly decided it would be good for both us to have a little socializing time with some old friends. As we arrived, I found out that a friend of ours that hasn't been talking to me for some time was there. Now, I had made a mistake years ago by blurting out something a little mean that was alcohol induced. I apologized profusely to her at that moment and even later showed up at her work the next day to apologize. It was all she needed to create drama in her life - to have someone to blame and feel like a victim. And although I had tried on numerous occassions to apologize - she wouldn't have it. It's been tough for our friends as they would invite us to similar functions and neither one of us have felt comfortable going. For along time, I beat myself up for making a stupid comment. I beat myself up sometimes more than anyone else could. But finally, at one point I had decided that I had paid the price enough for a simple mistake. I had forgiven myself even if she hadn't forgiven me. When we saw each other it was a bit awkward but I was gladly going to make the first move. I walked over and said hello hoping to break the ice and end the issue. Surprisingly, she quickly apologized to me for not speaking to me for all this time. I simply stated that I had been over it for a long time and if she was fine - I was fine. WOW! A huge weight truly had been lifted. Luckily I had allowed myself some peace prior to this or I would have spent 4 years in misery waiting for that moment. It's not to say we will be best of friends, but at least the awkwardness is over. The gift of forgiveness truly helped me and her to end this situation.
Similarly, in dealing with all my sisters issues the last few weeks, I have been dealing with my mom. I love my mom and all but we have a lot of unresolved issues. I will spare you all the painful details but our relationship in a nutshell is surface. If I try to go much deeper than that, I will find myself in an emotional filled land mine. We just can't go there. And now with her temporarily taking care of my sisters kids, I am seeing a lot of old parenting habits that I felt caused turmoil for me as a child and into my adult years. I know I need to stand up and speak my peace for my niece and nephews sake but I am also protective of my emotions and unwilling to be pulled into it. Through this, I am becoming more and more aware of the negative emotions that I have towards her and the fact that I have been unwilling to forgive her. I have to ask myself as well - how long will I stay prisoner to these negative feelings? How long will I allow myself to be controlled by this? When will I break myself free from the pain? Its me these emotions hurt not her. So I begin to work each and every day on not allowing myself to be affected by her. Each moment that starts to head down the wrong emotional path - I have to cut it off and step away. Then come back when I am ready and try again. I'm praying that our next conversation will go a little smoother and I will be less likely to react - as hard as it may be. I just need to know where my emotional boundaries are but working on not living in the past. That she too shouldn't have to continuously pay for her past mistakes. I'm working on receiving this gift.
Lastly, yesterday I got very worked up over thinking my brother-in-law had not "included" my husband and I in an event that I thought we were all planning on working on together. Plans had already been made, dates set and our opinion hadn't been requested. It felt like all though we were supposed to be doing this joint event - there wasn't any part of me or my husband in it. Only what they were wanting. At first, I got riled up but then realized - they know not what they do. After thinking about it, I felt bad for being angry. They don't know any better but I do. I know that reacting in anger isn't healthy or best for me or the situation. Once I released it, the situation (although not perfect) did however improve. Another gift for myself.
One of my favorite sayings is "Forgive them lord for they know not what they do." So many people truly are unaware of the way they affect themselves and others. I was and have been affected by so many people in my life - allowing others to take advantage or not standing up for myself or just simply not letting go of the past. Today I break myself free of the chains that have bound me - I choose to forgive. I choose to let them be who they are. I don't have to choose to be around it but I can also choose not to let it rule my life.
Give yourself a gift today that will last you a lifetime. Forgive someone for wronging you and set yourself free from unnecessary negativity. Although it is truly easier said than done, with a little practice - you will receive a feeling of peace, comfort, gratitude and love that you have never achieved before.
In love & kindness,