Saturday, January 10, 2009

On forgiveness

First of all, I'm the first to say that I make a very bad therapist. I'm a pretty good social worker, but as far as therapy goes...I stink. Here are some reasons:

Some would say it's good to write a letter to someone you hate and tell them all that's on your mind/in your heart; but don't mail it! But I say, mail it! What's the point in writing it if you don't get the satisfaction of knowing they've read it and know exactly how you feel? Now, I know that it won't mean much and not to expect anything from them, but it does feel good knowing they've heard your feelings.

Some say it's not healthy to check the voice mail messages of your ex's, follow them, sneak up on them, or check their computer history. I say, how else would you know what they've been up to? I mean, really. You can't trust people these days, especially an ex or a "soon to be" ex. It helps to be aware of their habits because when there's a break-up you'll know why.

And finally, some will say Forgiveness is good. Forgiveness will free you to be open to other relationships. Forgiveness brings you closer to living in peace. I say Forgiveness is for the birds. So, you see, I make a rotten therapist.

Just to clear things up. I don't do these things anymore and like to think I've evolved into a healthier person, but the ideas and beliefs are still there. I understand the true fundamentals of what it means to move on or forgive, only I don't do a great job at it. This is where the title comes in. I know that forgiveness is right and probably a good idea. I know that the things I do aren't healthy. But I do, and did, them anyway. I really think most people have, only they won't admit it to anyone.

The way I see it, my life is not much different either way. I don't spend hours or energy thinking negative thoughts about someone I dislike. I don't waste time talking about them. My new relationships aren't affected by my lack of forgiving someone from my past. At least I didn't think so. The problem with not forgiving is that the person is still in your life in some way. Their presence, their memory, their history is still in your heart somewhere. If I want it gone, then I have to forgive. If I forgive, then the memories just become stories...nothing but a story from some moment in my life. Nothing personal, with no hurt or bitterness attached to it. If I forgive, then they no longer have power over me.

I have lots of experiences with not forgiving...of not being forgiven by others. I know what it's like to be begrudged by someone. And how it can destroy that person who holds the grudge. I don't want to be like him, not in that way. There are lots of qualities that he and I share, but I don't want this to be one of our commonalities. So, I'm going to work on forgiveness. I'm choosing to make this a public post only because I want to be transparent in my work and I want others to hold me accountable and give me feedback. Plus, if it's any good then others might want to try it with me! I went to this conference on Girl Fighting(!) and I received a handout of the "10 Steps to Achieving Forgiveness" to share with my girls. I think I should try it first...so stay tuned.

Forgiveness: overcoming the negative affects and judgment toward a person by viewing the offender with compassion, benevolence, and love while recognizing that he or she has abandoned the right to them.

"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge our future." Hmmm, we'll see.


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