It’s Saturday here in Oz and that means I didn’t have to write my post the night before, for a change. Although… as I spent a few hours at the pub with a work friend and indulged in 4 glasses of champagne, it could have been more interesting. (Though possibly laden with far more typos and swear words!) I must confess I’m not particularly looking forward to today’s topic, Forgiving others, because there’s probably things I could write that would make me sound petty or could at some point be read by others who would be able to see themselves in my words. So, I will endeavour to be honest, though perhaps not divulge as much as I am sometimes prone to when solely talking about myself and my foibles. But first, to challenge creator, Tina’s words:
We have already discussed achieving the capacity to forgive ourselves as a means to self-love. I know many of us struggle with that, some of us more so than others. For me personally, I knew I could not forget to include forgiving others as well. Forgiving others played one of the biggest roles in my growth as a person and in the process of getting out of the negative treatment of myself. Emotions and hurt dictated my life and who I thought I was for too long. Being able to let those go helped me to move on and pursue my best life.
Forgiveness holds great power. Having the capacity to forgive displays strength, compassion, and beauty. When you forgive, you make a statement of who you are. On the flip side, when you withhold forgiveness, you cling to anger, bitterness, and harsh feelings. Those build up inside of you and, with nowhere to go, often turn against you so you end up defeating yourself. Sometimes, we hold grudges against someone who doesn’t even know what they did bothers us. Sometimes they know, but simply don’t care. Why should we continue to feel such negativity in our lives and let the person who afflicted us continue on without a care? We can choose to not live in such a dark place. Forgiveness and letting go of the pain comes first.
Do you have trouble forgiving others? What do you think are the benefits (or negatives) of forgiving others? How have you seen forgiveness of others make your life better or worse?
I’m not great with confrontation. I’ve often surprised myself on a number of occasions where – in the workplace – I’ve had to raise difficult issues, or speak up about something… but in my private life I’ve never been as compelled to confront someone. If I feel wronged by someone I let my anger and frustration bubble up inside of me and before I know it I am binge eating to quell the rage, or snapping at complete strangers who happen to cross my path at the wrong time. I HATE this aspect of my behaviour. Hate it. I’m prone to sulk or make someone feel guilty if I believe they’ve hurt me, rather than just bloody telling them. I simmer and simmer and simmer.
By not forgiving others for events of the past, we are unable to not only get past the issue itself, but also wallowing in ‘once upon a time’. Trapped in a time warp of sorts. And I’ve already talked about living too much in my past; When I was goodish at sport… When I was anorexic… When I thought I would make something of my life…
I have perhaps mentioned previously the Stephanie Dowrick book, Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love. I’m not really into self-help books, but about 15 years ago when I was putting on weight, though trying to control (and not purge) it I started reading about eating disorders and binge eating. I read through books by Geneen Roth to try to better understand my behaviour and those by Dowrick to understand my feelings. I always attempted the exercises included in those books, but never really made my way through the whole thing. I still, however, remember an exercise requiring me to write letters to people from my past who I needed to forgive, in order to move forward with my life. I can’t exactly recall all of the letters, but remember one to my basketball coach from about 30 years ago… who had no confidence in me at the time and instead played favourites with one or two of my team-mates. Years later I was one of his favourites but I NEVER forgave him for those early years. There are others, there must have been. I’ve been shitty with my family members from time to time, and even now my brother’s apparent lack of concern for me (or interest in me) despite it being just the two of us, frustrates me.
But I need to not only forgive others for events of my past, but I need to CONTINUE to forgive others as I move forward. I will continue to be slighted by others. That’s human nature. Not everyone is considerate, not everyone is aware, and – frankly – some people are complete bastards or bitches. And… I’m overly sensitive. I know this about myself and I admit to this. I let my own behaviour and feelings be too influenced by how others see me and treat me. My sense of self isn’t as great as I’d like it to be and I need to focus on that. After all, only I am responsible for the way I react to others’ words or behaviour. Others can only hurt me and anger me if I let them. I need to forgive myself for my fuck-ups of the past; but I need to remember there will be many more. And I need to become a better version of me and one less prone to disintegrating at the behest of others.