The power of forgiveness: Doing some self-work

 

I have been doing some self-work lately – a byproduct of trying to better myself these last few years.

I’ve been restless, anxious and felt stagnant, even when trying to take great strides in other areas.

Nothing I did was working the way I wanted it to.

I was frustrated and frankly, depressed. I fell into the trap of feeling sorry for myself and whining to Mama far too often.

I am sure any mama would tell you that’s part of their job, but my mama must have the patience of a saint given what she puts up with from me.

That, and it makes her feel bad because when I get in my pits of despair, it’s something she can’t talk me out of or help and every mama wants to “fix it” for their baby.

“Maybe if you moved closer to home, things would be better,” Mama said during my latest rant.

Of course, this is her answer for everything.

“I’ve tried,” I said, and I had. But, I reminded her, unless they had somehow hit the lottery, that was feeling more and more far-fetched.

I told her everyone I blamed for things not working out the way I thought they should. And Mama quietly listened.

Some of the folks I was blaming had long been out of my life – maybe even forgot I existed – but I was throwing all the blame on them.

Mama could understand. Trust me, if anyone can hold a grudge, it’s Mama. Granny taught her well.

When I finally took a breath, Mama was able to speak.

“I know you are going to hate this, because I am going to tell you what you need to do. But what you need to do is forgive.”

“What?”

“You need to forgive them. Let it all go, there is nothing that can be done about it anymore, but it’s hurting you. You need to let it go.”

Crazy talk, I declared. I was justified and I knew it.

But life has this divinely timed way of putting synchronicities in your path to illuminate a point.

Everything that crossed my path in the days following Mama’s advice was about forgiveness.

“Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting it to hurt the other person,” was one thing that popped up.

It seemed like all of my friends were discussing forgiveness and how the freedom it brought with it. Not for the other person, mind you; but for the one doing the forgiving.

It doesn’t mean you condone what they did. It doesn’t mean it was OK, or that you will allow it to happen again.

It means you don’t want to carry around the emotional baggage of it anymore.

I am reading a book and just a few chapters in, is a chapter on forgiveness.

The author says imagine you have a river full of everything you want flowing to you – all the goodness, joy, happiness – is on its way, until unforgiveness blocks the path.

The book also said to forgive everyone. To make a list.

It’s a process – believe me.

I started making my list.

But I started my list and then realized I was focusing on the situation and finding fault – pointing fingers and placing blame.

Rehashing the situation only proved to make me relive it and feel those emotions all over again. I stopped, and just wrote the names instead.

Another quote that came across my screen said sometimes what someone does has nothing to do with you, but is solely about them.

So maybe the people who had been rude, hateful and spiteful were merely working on their own stuff.

Maybe the bosses were jerks because of how they had been treated, and not anything I had done.

Maybe the reason someone hurt me wasn’t because I was unworthy – but their own feelings of unworthiness.

Maybe, just maybe, the only reason I was in the situation to begin with, was so I could learn a lesson and how to forgive later.

I thought about my list, and wondered…if any of the people on there had forgiven me.

I hoped they had; not for my sake, but for theirs.

Because once you experience how it feels to quit carrying those hurts around, you hope whoever you may have hurt can feel that way as well.

Again, it’s a process.

I am sure there will be new opportunities to forgive, people will hurt my feelings, I will get upset, and new names will be added to the list.

But you know what?

I’m going to forgive them, too. After all, it’s for me – not them.

 

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