I know what it’s like to not want to forgive someone or something for fear of forgetting what they did, or what was done to me.
I know what it’s like to want to hold someone “to blame,” but really just not wanting to let them off the hook because what they did hurt me so much.
I know what it’s like to want someone to pay for what they did to me, to make some kind of recompense for what they took from me, or for what they gave to me that I didn’t want.
I know what it’s like to hate someone for what they did, or did not do.
I know what it’s like to hate a situation for how it misrepresented me to others, or to hate the f’d up circumstances that were dealt to me.
I know what it’s like to be hurt, and in pain, so much pain that I can’t stand it all. So I remove myself from the pain and the hurt. I hold it at a distance so it can’t hurt me more. I hold it at a distance so I won’t feel the sting of betrayal, the pang of knowing someone in my life wasn’t for me like I thought they were.
I know what it’s like to have regret about having done something that put me at risk, risking my heart or my mind, both or something else entirely, like my reputation. A risk that didn’t look like a risk at all when I first saw it. A risk that actually looked like the next logical step in my path at the time. But now just looks like a horrible mistake that I’m reeling from.
I know the pain, the hurt, the regret, the resentment, the feeling like I was taken advantage of, the feeling that I was unjustly compromised, the feeling that I was taken for a sucker or a ride, a feeling that there was a rudeness played upon me that surpassed any rudeness I had known before. And that it caught me so unaware. Blindsided me, until I was also stung by my own surprise and began to mistake it for naivete.
I know all of those things and more, and I am only willing to admit to most of it. Some of it is far too humiliating to let everyone’s eyes peruse, so there will always be pieces of me – even if they are just small slivers of me – that I will not let out into the “broad daylight” where all can see.
I am much too tender for that.
But I say all of that to say this…
I also know the peace of a lifted burden, a burden that felt too heavy and too overwhelming at times; a burden that I discovered was my unwillingness to forgive another, or to forgive my circumstances and how they fouled me up.
I know what it’s like to breathe freely once I have found it within myself to release the tension and toxicity of my own orneriness; being ornery in my desire to never forget what was visited upon me so that I would see it coming the next time. And so I could firmly (and I mistook that for confidence) say, “It will never happen again. “
I know what it’s like to feel relief again and again from my worst feelings of despair and resentment as I remember (and act upon) the saying, “not forgiving is like eating poison, and expecting someone else to die.
So I choose to forgive. Again and again.
And even if I choose never to see that person again in my lifetime, or never revisit circumstances like those I’ve known in the past, I am free to love and yield compassion for all.
Because I have all of that within me. I have access to it all always.
Now, once I’ve forgiven, I can know that it’s good.
And not because someone else says it is so, or because of the good book or the golden rule or all else.
But because I see it, and it is that way for me.
Only my judgment matters, as it is only my judgment that kept away my forgiveness to begin with.
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