Forgiveness is a Gift You Give Yourself
I am facing judgment and criticism, a lot of it, from those who are closest to me and I am sure from those who I do not know.
I bought The Book of Forgiveness on a whim almost two years ago and picked it up two days ago. Why? I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that I had an undeniable need to do so.
A Morning Awakening
It’s 10:15 on Tuesday morning, May 12 2020, I have been reading and journaling for the last three hours. And like I felt compelled to read The Book of Forgiveness, I felt an intense draw to write this post.
There is light and dark in life. I believe that the two do a dance that intertwines and separates them all within a few musical notes. Good and bad, happiness and anger can all exist in the happenings of our day. We live in a very social and public time where our life is on display for all to see. I am aware that there is a choice to display our life or not to and in what detail. The decision is made for me because of my career as a speaker and author. For those with a ‘public brand,’ we have a choice: how much do we share? I don’t know how to be any other way but genuine and authentic, which means sharing all the good along with the bad.
The Path to Forgiveness
I have recently chosen to tell my story publicly through Instagram and blog posts. There is so much light in my life that I want to share with the world. I am but human and darkness exist too, and sometimes they both exist on the same day or even throughout the weeks and months.
Telling my story, my truth as it happens in which I am learning is the first step to forgiveness. It was this quote that urged me to type these words.
“We cannot walk the Fourfold Path in shame or silence. After all, the first step on the path is telling our stories. The process is not quiet and is not always pretty. It calls for a vulnerability that can be uncomfortable at best. It will ask much of you, sometimes more than you think you can give. However, the gifts and the freedom that will be returned to you are beyond measure.”
And while my story will come in bits and pieces, I am writing it and telling it as I remember it. It is my truth, my perception, and my story.
Forgiveness Can Take a Life Time
It took me almost my entire life to forgive mp parents for our time as children. To overlook their inability to choose alcohol over us or their desire to ignore the fire in front of them. Going through the exercises outlined in the book this morning has been eye-opening. When asked to write down who I need to forgive, my parents were not on the list.
I remember telling my story a few years ago. It brought about the same anger and criticism from those in my life (and probably those I did not know) as it is right now. I can say without a doubt, however, that sharing my truth was the start of a beautiful relationship with both of my parents. A relationship built on the foundation of peace, acceptance, and understanding of the fact that they did the best they could with the tools they had at the time. It was my path to forgiveness.
Now, even when my mom shares that she feels terrible, I can honestly look her in the eyes and thank her for what happened as it has given me the strength I needed to forge through life. Without that strength, I don’t know if I could endure the chapter I am closing in my life right now. I can look at my dad in the eyes and tell him I love him and that I am proud to call him my dad. With the purest form of love, I can say that I am proud of what he has accomplished and overcome.
I chose to forgive but not forget because it is within my story that I have gained strength, character, love, and the skills I need to do life on my terms.
Forgiveness is a Choice
I have a list of people in my life that I need to forgive. A list I will not share publicly. The stories, my truth, however, is part of my healing. I choose to go down the path of forgiveness so I can walk through life unencumbered.
For those that don’t agree, that is ok. It is your choice to walk by my side on this journey, to judge me, or meet me at the end when we decided if our relationship will be renewed or released.
“Forgiveness is not a choice you make for someone else; it is a choice you make for yourself.”
We Have All Been Harmed, and Have Harmed
I do want to make it very clear that I have harmed as well. I am human, heck, we all are. The choice to be free lies at the fork in the road after we’ve been harmed, injured, or hurt. The decision to walk down the path of anger, resentment, and retaliation is your choice. Will you become victim to the hurt others (or even I) have caused, or will you choose to walk down the path of forgiveness? Making this choice will allow you to lift the burden of anger that you carry on your shoulders.
I realize that not everyone is comfortable with being vulnerable, that is also ok. That doesn’t mean others shouldn’t be.
If you have woken up this morning angry for being harmed ask yourself why? And when you are ready to forgive, start by writing your story.