I tend to agree with Gandhi. Forgiveness is not for the faint of heart or the weak.
Someone told Oprah this: “Forgiveness is giving up the HOPE that the past could have been any different.” Then she adds “It is accepting the past for what it was. And using this moment and this time to help yourself move forward.”
Now me… I think of forgiveness as letting it go and moving on. Usually moving away from the person who hurt me or distancing myself from them…basically treating them like they were just another person in the world, nothing to do with me, necessarily.
I never forget what was done and I expect some kind of resolution from that person..some kind of acknowledgement that THEY themselves know they were wrong. Not just saying “I’m sorry” and thinking it’s all going to be OK because it’s not.
Oprah also said, “Forgiveness is not about saying whatever happened is OK because it’s not.” That is how I feel. Just because I forgave you, doesn’t mean it’s “over.” It just means you’re no longer attached to my figure. You’re a no one, basically, until you prove yourself worthy of being back in my circle.
Now the piece of the puzzle I was missing is this: “Letting go of the HOPE… that the past… could have been… any… different.” That the past could have been different, Oprah? Have you gone mad? Was the guy who told you this on drugs? What on EARTH!? How can that POSSIBLY make any sense?! It doesn’t… you’re insane… I’m insane… but wait… What…?
That the PAST could have been any different… That the past… is different…? The past already happened, how could ANYONE think it could be different… wait…Am I supposed to think somehow that the PAST could have been different… that I could have CHANGED it somehow…?
And here is how my mind goes “poof!” into a mind blow. YES. Intellectually speaking, the past CANNOT be changed. But in your mind, in your heart, in your inner child, your mind IS thinking there must have been SOME WAY, SOME HOW, that you could hvae changed the past… If you had only done X they would have loved you, they would have treated you better, they would not have hurt you…etc. etc. Or that somehow back then you should have KNOWN better…
A friend, who was a therapist told me this once when she was my therapist: “You can only do what you can do, with what you know.” And back then, that made no sense either. Yeah OK, thanks… I smiled politely and nodded in agreement but I thought she was more nuts than I am. She wasn’t…
When I was a child, I wanted to be loved, like every other child. I wanted approval, acknowledgement, love, decency… basically all the things a kid needs to grow healthy and strong in the mind. Instead I got rotten tomatoes and bad cabbages… I somehow thought that was MY fault. I was a bad kid, unworthy, unlovable, unwanted… something was SERIOUSLY wrong with me!! How could I think any different? IF I had been someone else, SOMETHING else… they would have loved me, treated me better, not been such… well, you get the picture… I tried to be a boy, I tried to behave like a boy thinking that’s what they wanted… I tried being artistic and funny… I tried being a girl which I hated but I did it… I tried bending to every will… being a doormat… being a slave… being strong and a bitch…being everything and nothing. NOTHING WORKED!! I went into a deeper depth of despair and I thought I was better off dead. Because *I* was the one who was broken.
And there, in a loop, comes Oprah’s friend’s words and my therapist’s… “You could only do what you can do with what you know.” As I kid, I blamed myself because I knew no different. “Giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” I could NOT have changed the past. I could NOT have changed anything. I AM NOT THE ONE WHO’S BROKEN. THEY ARE!!!
And maybe someone broke them or maybe they never realised they are not the ones who are broken but instead passed on the same traits given to them by the people who broke them. Or maybe they are broken and they tried to pass on the trait to me. I refused it, which is why they were so horrible. I kept saying “But I’m NOT broken!” and they kept thinking I was the black sheep. They treated me as if I didn’t exist…then tried to punish me with their words, their actions, their distance…They inflicted the pain because they wanted to break me. And they ALMOST succeeded!
I bet many of you out there aren’t broken either. I bet you believed the lies others told you and you think something’s wrong with you. Maybe, somewhere in the past, someone said these things to you and after a while, you thought “they must be true.” I challenge you to go back to your life, your childhood, your adolescent, etc. etc. and figure out what happened. And then… Forgive…
“Forgiveness liberates the soul. That’s why it is such a powerful weapon.” – Nelson Mandela
I shared a birthday with Mr. Mandela and I was very proud of it. He passed away and I mourned like I knew the man in person. I still do. I never met him but I have heard of his struggles and I have read the thing’s he’s said… And now, everything is starting to make sense. I need to liberate my soul. I need to go beyond the “I no longer hold you in my circle.” I have to let go of the idea that somehow, as a child, I could have changed anything about myself of the circumstance. At the time, what I knew was that I was not good enough. As an adult, I now know that isn’t true. I AM good enough. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It happens.
I am now writing this in hopes that someone out there, perhaps in my shoes or about to be in my shoes realises it’s not their fault. All the abuse, the words, the pain, the hurt… Even when you do it to yourself because you “need” the pain… it’s not your fault. Somewhere along the line your soul got derailed… I don’t think it broke…but it got held captive by something or someone. Don’t give those people (that person?) the power over you anymore. Be powerful. Take back your life.
You are valuable to this life. Maybe you don’t think so but the proof is, you’re still here… after all they’ve done to you… you’re still here. DON’T GIVE UP!!!! I know because I am here too. I wanted to give up but I didn’t. And now I’m here to say. You’re not alone. You are here. With me. With US. We are all in the same boat of life. We are NOT alone!!
It’s OK to be sad, it’s OK to mourn over the loss, but don’t stay there too long. Instead, spread the word and let’s reach out to others. Let’s go out and find those who are thinking they’re broken and let’s put them back together. Let’s be healthy and strong! We are no longer bound to the lies of others. Let’s make our own truths and move forward. Let’s help others!
And last but not least… because I like giving people HUGS!!
Help me out, eh? Go hug some one!