it is a process

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I just read this moving article on forgiveness and the tears started almost instantly. (Please… I urge all to read it before finishing this post) When I was barely a teen, there was an incident that took away my innocence, and in turn, took away my power. For a really long time. Dare I say it has affected my entire life, even to this day.

Like the author here, I did not tell a soul. In fact, I only told Sir the whole thing two years ago. I never wanted sympathy. I never wanted people to say “oh, well that explains it”. I never wanted to be seen as weak or used, even though that’s exactly how I felt. For years. Decades. I kept quiet and I lived my life happily, but let me tell you, I never forgot and I sure as hell never forgave – mostly myself. I convinced myself I got exactly what I deserved… and the penance would be to pay, in big and small ways, forever. In the years immediately following, I made many bad choices in the name of taking my power back. Around the still very young age of 16/17, I got most of my shit together and stopped with those choices, but forgiveness never came, not for myself. I dropped the anger at the people involved. I said it is what it is. But I continued to blame myself. I continued to hold a grudge against myself. Forgiveness wasn’t something I deserved or could even begin to contemplate.

Some days, I still fall back to the whole ‘getting what I deserve’ thing. When things go sideways, when I am hurting… many times, my first thought is: well that thing happened so long ago and I made all those bad, ugly choices… of course I deserve the sadness that is happening now. I am tainted and unworthy. I still owe the universe. I am only getting what I deserve. Obviously, that’s not a very productive way to think. Typing it makes it seem quite irrational, but when the feelings hit, it feels like the ultimate truth.

I have this thing where dadgummit, I just want the offending party to see and to understand why I’m feeling how I’m feeling! When my feelings get hurt, I need them to really know. It is hard for me to realize that feelings are an extremely personal thing and sometimes no matter how many words are spoken, the other person just will not cannot understand. Needing people to comprehend the why and the how – it makes life a little tough, a little isolated, even. It also makes it difficult to forgive anything or anyone.

That includes me – I do not forgive myself, either. Small, big, it doesn’t matter. I pile it on my shoulders because that’s what I deserve, that is what will show the universe that I know all of my mistakes. That’ll prove how sorry I am. That will be evidence enough that I’m not that girl that made all those bad choices.

It doesn’t work that way. It hasn’t worked. It is not working.

This article spoke to me in the biggest way. I love the part about not forgetting. I think forgetting what has been done, is impractical and really sort of stupid. One must remember the bad and the hurt in order to grow and to break the cycle of wrongs. I know we cannot live in the pain for long, we should not wallow eternally, but forgetting entirely seems like an invitation for history to repeat itself.

And I love that she says “I am forgiving you.” Instead of “you are forgiven” because it really is a process. Letting go and forgiving is an ongoing process. In my life, people have gotten so frustrated with me, asking “Why can’t you just forgive?!” I always attempted to explain that I was trying, but I wish I knew to say “I am forgiving you.” Now I know. Like love, forgiveness (and letting go) is an active thing.

What would happen if, just for today, you thought about the person who has hurt you most and said to yourself:

“I am forgiving you. By that I mean, I’m not going to blame you or hold you responsible for my life or my future any longer. The power to shape what is coming is mine now. I take it back for myself. I reclaim my power. And that grudge I’ve been carrying, well, it’s hurting me more than it’s hurting you, so for that reason, I’m going to set it down. I’ll see how it feels to walk around without it, a little lighter, a little freer. And I don’t have to make any promises about the future—except that I will try again tomorrow.”

Starting today, I am truly forgiving – myself and those that have hurt me. I am done feeling bad or flawed because my forgiveness is not instant. Letting go and forgiving are really hard things, and one day at a time is all I can offer. But I am willing and ready for the process to begin.

I know this post is a little heavy and, as always, rambling, but rest assured, my heart is light. My eyes have been opened the past few days… with articles, blogs, songs, near-wrecks… I suppose I’m just open and receptive, but the timing is amazing. I am learning, loving, apologizing, forgiving, appreciating, growing. If that isn’t what life’s about, I don’t know what is.

Happy Friday!! (I don’t have to get up at 5:40 tomorrow morning, so I am over the moon!)
~shygirl

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13 thoughts on “it is a process

  1. That was a fantastic article, Shy. I appreciate you sharing. And as for the rest of the post, I can relate very much, in so many ways. My internal process has been very similar, and it has NOT worked for me. I’ve been committed to forgiveness for a while, but like it’s said, it is definitely a process. Forgiving myself and not being so hard on myself is tough, as is setting boundaries that I need. But I try!

    No apologies for the heavy posts! I don’t know about others, but there are my favorite to read. I want to know and understand, I want to relate and share. So, thank you. I’m so happy you are in this place!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. ❤ I’m sorry your internal process is similar. I’m really glad though that you’ve been committed to forgiving. I’m going to be better. I always felt I couldn’t even forgive correctly, or fast enough – maybe because I forgive myself nothing. I don’t know, but learning it is a process and that’s okay… well, that just blew my eyes wide open. Thank you for reading and commenting – especially on this heavy stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. biggest of hugs*
    It takes a lot of courage and growth to even begin at this place for ourselves! How scary it must of been for you to post this, and trust that it was what you needed to do first, to begin your forgiving of yourself.

    I’m so proud of you, and you should be proud of you!

    I can’t promise it is an easy road, but it does get easier. You are and will be growing stronger in ‘you’. If that makes sense?
    I know each of our own battles are different, but a lot of what you wrote seemed so similar(familiar?) to my own experiences in life and my own self loathing for something I had no control over. But yet we still as you put it, shoulder it- big or small.
    Forgiveness IS a daily active thing we have to consciously do for ourselves, even when we don’t want to! Those years of negative living and holding on to hurt and anger do nothing for us except to keep us numb and locked inside ourselves. We have to almost physically set that hurt down and let it go, so we can grow and thrive outside that negativity we were taught to inflict on ourselves. At the time when our situations happened, it was how we survived- holding the hurt as a shield. It became part of us. It became a way of life- it was the only way we knew to keep going and is why we keep reliving it and holding those ways to us. We have to accept we are walking-wounded, complete with invisible scars. But those scars and memories can’t ruin us. We can’t let them! We are not those people who give up!
    We have been at war- an emotional and psychological war. Not with the people who hurt us, though they started the process, but our war has been with ourselves.
    Those scars we carry? They decorates us as war metals and with survivors honor! (Just prettier and more sparkly! lol)

    Again- biggest of hugs*! You are going in the right direction!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Your comment made me cry – in a good way. It’s so weird to say to someone “I’m glad you can relate” when the thing being related to is down, and scary. But it helps to know that others have traveled/still travel this road and came out so much better. I am going to actively forgive every day, maybe I’ll say it out loud even – not just others (my world is pretty small right now, so that’s the easy part) but especially myself. It’s sort of a new concept to me – but Sir/Husband is on board to remind me when I falter.
      Anyway, thank you so much for the kind, encouraging words! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t apologize for the heavy post, it was wonderful as always. I’ve read the article, I relate to it a lot. I am still in the process of forgiving the person who abused my trust in my childhood or to forgive myself for many bad choices in my teens, the hurt I have caused to people. Most of the time I am just fine, sometimes the dark clouds of doubt get the better of me and I feel that forgiving someone makes you more vulnerable to get hurt again. As it says in the article, tomorrow I’ll try again.
    Great post, thank you so much for sharing and Happy Friday to you too.
    (and sorry for my really long comment)

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    • Thank you for the long comment! I’m sorry that you relate to the article, too. But holy guacamole, you seem to have a decent grasp in forgiving and trying again when you stumble. That’s so encouraging to me. I really thought when I told my Husband/Sir two (or maybe three?) years ago all of the details, I had made huge strides. But I see that I still feel the same way about myself and I still take all the blame and lug it around – a dysfunctional armor of sorts. ACK. I’m old (38) and tired and to realize that forgiving is a PROCESS… I think that is something I can totally work with!
      Thank you again for commenting. 💙

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  4. P.s. I also have a deep need for the offending party to understand and know why I feel the way I feel. I often wonder, since I seem to look for my worthiness on the outside (goes along with feeling like I get what I deserve)that my need for the other to understand and know is because I need that justification for my feelings to MATTER. Because I can’t accept that my feelings matter to me, and I’m not some crazy loon for feeling them, unless it’s proven by some outside source….

    Liked by 1 person

    • That hits the nail on the head, Kay. And boy do I feel like a crazy loon when I cannot get people to understand the things I’m feeling! And that compounds the problem.
      My oldest daughter has the same “affliction” of wanting/needing people to understand. I’ve mentioned some of the friend drama here… but it is heartbreaking to watch. And we give her advice that I can never follow for myself. To think that I’ve taught her this thing, well it is not easy to stomach.
      Again, it’s a shame you totally get this, but it is overwhelmingly helpful to know I am not alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Me too, with my daughter. Unfortunately, I see her feeling like no one truly understands, which lends to feelings of aloneness. But! She’s grown so much, has become so open and and matured in her relationships and her ability to make wise and healthy choices. I’m trying so very hard to model that! And being vulnerable and open with her in healthy ways, sharing what feels helpful, and even apologizing for what feel like my mistakes. That feels good. 💜

        I hope things are going well with your daughter. Maybe begin by forgiving you for those things you feel you did wrong with her….you did your best, mom. And you’ll keep doing just that.

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  5. No matter what has happened to you, remember that you cannot ever control what happens to you, you can only control what you do now. Self-love and self-forgiveness are important steps on the path to freedom from pain and suffering. For ever so long as you go on blaming yourself the evil one still has power over you. Remember that you are loved and can love, icluding love for yourself. xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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