What I’ve been most of 2019 is forgiving. It has unintentionally become my word of the year. Forgive.
When I’ve practiced this, it’s rarely been for others but for myself. I’ve come to realize how much strength and release comes from it. It’s taken me 29 years to understand that when I pack away resentment and grudges and bitterness that it starts to weigh a lot. That baggage forms my body differently from having to carry it. It changes my future and present with all of it’s clutter and anger. It clouds my judgement and honestly just ruins parts of my life. Forgiveness, though, washes over me in waves. Every time those waves return to the endless ocean it takes something with it. It takes all those horrible feelings until I have none left to pack.
Practicing is just that, practice. It takes time and courage and strengthens that muscle every time it’s used. Learning the sea of forgiveness isn’t easy, if it was there’d be a whole less hate in this world. This world makes it so easy to become cold and bitter but at what cost? Why carry these heavy, drowning feelings when instead you could float?
I started with first, forgiving others (this was easier than forgiving myself). I forgave family and friends and even enemies. It took time but I did it. Remembering that I cannot control other people or how they react is the key in this. I am in control of no one but myself and how I respond to my environment with the knowledge I have now. People are who they are. Did I forgive many? Yes. Did I forget? Honestly, some I did. Just because I forgave people for the wrongs against me does not mean I kept them in my life. Sever all dead ends.
Once I had accomplished strengthening this muscle I turned inward. This is where the blood, sweat and tears came from. The expectations I hold myself to are greater than any other. I have criticized myself ruthlessly. I have called myself names, I’ve made my self cry..on more than one occasion! I still struggle with it sometimes. I’m far from done in this area, I’m not sure I ever will be, but I’ve made such progress. I barely ever degrade myself anymore and I don’t allow my friends to do it to themselves in my presence anymore. I give myself permission to fail and be a human with flaws. I focus on appreciating myself for all that I am, instead of all that I am not.
The world is cruel enough and will only change when we truly start loving ourselves. I hope my sharing helps you let the waves of forgiveness take away your baggage. Do it for no one else but yourself. You owe it to you.