31st January, 2014
This morning I woke up feeling sick and it wasn’t because I had spent the day celebrating my nieces wedding.
I felt sick because I came face to face with a family member that I don’t like very much. It’s a long story, but usually when I am in this person’s presence I find myself clenching my fists and gritting my teeth. I can barely speak civilly to her through the surge of anger and the twisted revenge that seethes through my veins.
Not very kind right? Certainly not very understanding or caring. I am barely on the edge of the abyss wanting to push her over the edge.
You could be mistaken for thinking that this woman had killed all of my children; she hasn’t. Her actions were more along the manipulation of a close family member and I am angry for it, and angry that I couldn’t stop her from hurting him.
At most family events when I am unable to avoid her, I gnash my teeth, smile fraudulently, say a few hollow words, walking away to the safety net of family members who have similar thoughts. But I have made a promise, a pledge to extend all the kindness, care and understanding I can muster to EVERYONE I meet this year. Dammit! Not everyone I LIKE. Not everyone who is kind to me.
Now I have to say that if she had killed all of my children, you would not be reading this post. There is a line in the sand I think.
Although it seemed to me when I woke up this morning that the issue is forgiveness’. I am struggling to forgive her and that very lack of forgiveness is poisoning me, not punishing her. After all of these years I still feel wronged, and I still feel justified in feeling this way. It’s also as if this all happened yesterday! And here I am, years later, paying for my lack of forgiveness.
After seeing her I will usually spend days thinking through various scenarios and imaginary conversations, where I say what I want to say, or change what I wish I could have changed. But the truth is, even if I did have these perfectly constructed conversations with her, I can’t actually change what I want to change. What is done is done. There is no going back in time and changing what happened. And in this case, continuing to be angry with also her won’t change the future. All that happens is that I feel sick with negative emotion and frustrated at myself for feeling this way.
So today I am confessing that I have faltered in my goal. I know in my heart that in doing what I have done, I have fallen short of what I am capable of.
Forgiveness is an odd thing. Most people think that forgiveness is all about letting someone off the hook. I really love Louise Hay’s explanation of forgiveness. She speaks about forgiveness as a process that doesn’t actually involve the person/or ‘guilty” party at all. It is a process that happens in your own mind and heart.
This is not about saying that their behaviour was acceptable or excusable. And it also isn’t about allowing someones painful behaviours or actions to continue in your life. Forgiveness is for our own spiritual growth. True forgiveness is about giving ourselves permission to be free of the pain. You forgive them and release them. This is an act of releasing ourselves from the negative energy so we can love and accept ourselves.
My father used to say that forgiving someone was the hardest thing to do as a human being, but if you could genuinely forgive someone from your heart, then it would change your life.
How wise was my dad right? I sense a theme here, and it seems that I have some work to do. So as I pick my self up of the dance floor, I wonder what poison you have been spoon feeding yourself because you are not willing to forgive like me.
‘I truly believe that there are no mistakes. When our hearts are closed and we feel resentment and anger and sadness, it’s hard to see anything good. Yet when our hearts are open, it’s as if so much of that negativity disappears and we’re able to release these old thoughts and reawaken to joy. For each of us, there’s always joy inside. And we need to know how very perfect we are as we are.’ Louise L. Hay