I get a lot of inspiration for what I write from what I read. And, I try to read as much as I can. I am obsessed with other’s blogs and try to reference them and share them as much as possible. People touch me and help me understand the world in a more meaningful way than I ever could on my own. I have been diagnosed as an extroverted thinker which means that collaboration is critical for me. When working with clients or sorting through problems, I do my best work when talking it through with others. It is not that I do not have my own ideas but my ideas flow more readily when I am thinking aloud with others. A friend shared a blog post last week that I checked out and, while I did not 100% relate to the author’s feelings or her place in the world, I appreciated where she was coming from and she was provocative enough to make me contemplate my own life.
What I related to the most was her background. She said a few things that struck a chord with me – deeply.
“I’m usually an honest person. I am creative and kind. I’m brave and loyal and trustworthy. I’m smart. Wicked smart, sometimes. I’m quite funny. I make big mistakes and I say I’m sorry and then quickly forgive myself. And that nakedness, brokenness, and sensitivity I was born with? They’ve turned out to be my greatest gifts. My nakedness allows me to tell the truth without shame or fear and my brokenness is what allows others to trust and love me. My sensitivity is what drives me to feel the pain of others and love them so fiercely. The parts of me that made the first half of my life so exceptionally hard are the exact same parts making the second half exceptional.
Life’s about how you use what you got, I think.
I was right when I was little. Life is brutal. But it’s also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it. Life’s brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can’t be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty. So now I embrace both, and I live well and hard and real.
I write this blog because it’s part of my healing process. Healing starts fresh each morning. I pour myself out and drink you all in. Because sharing life’s brutiful is what connects us and makes us less afraid. Life can’t be stuffed down with food or booze or exercise or work or cutting or shopping for long. Hiding from life causes its own unique pain, and it’s lonely pain. We have to Live – we have to show up for ourselves and each other – even when it hurts. It’s the only way through.”
I love every word of that and it resonates with me on a very deep level. The one part that I could not get out of my head were I make big mistakes and I say I’m sorry and then quickly forgive myself.
I make a lot of mistakes in my life. We all do. I hurt people, I say mean things, I am insensitive. I am human. Naturally, I make the most mistakes with the people closest to me – my husband, my family and my close friends. I make these mistakes and I expect people to forgive me for them. Mostly, they do. Yet, I rarely forgive myself. I wish I could pick myself up, forgive myself and move on. Regrettably, that is usually not the case for me.
I have spent a lot of time in recent years focusing on guilt and the force it plays in my life. I often feel guilty. Mostly about things I probably should not feel guilty about. I remember being told that I should take all my feelings of guilt and lock them away in a closet inside of me and throw away the key. There is no room for guilt in our lives. Remorse and growth is powerful; guilt is crippling. Guilt is actually what often causes us to do really bad things – to ourselves and others. It is an emotion that we have little control over yet it sometimes completely controls our life. In my journey of trying to release myself from absorbing all of the pain those around me have suffered (and taking the responsibility for it), guilt has become a big topic of conversation.
One of the primary definitions of guilt is “a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.” Ironically, so many of us experience guilt that is completely unrelated to any moral or ethical offense or crime. Our guilt is lingering residue from experiences that lay either unresolved or we have not granted ourselves forgiveness for. As much as we are willing to forgive others for any wrongdoings, we seldom offer ourselves the same courtesy.
I will admit that forgiveness is not something at which I am extremely adept. While I definitely hold grudges against people who have hurt me, I am usually very quick to forego my grudge and forgive them – sometimes at the cost of squashing my own feelings. I do not like to be angry and do not like to make other people feel bad. In my family, we never said “I’m sorry” and I learned later in life the power of those words when they are connected with genuine commitment to the apology. Often, my husband and I fight and forget to apologize for the hurtful things we say to one another (well, mostly I forget) and expect that, because we are married and love each other, that we will just move forward. I was recently talking to a friend about this who told me that she refrains, as often as possible, from making any biting comments that she cannot take back because no apology can pull the words back in. I’d like to think I could subscribe to such disciplined behavior but I know myself better. I know I have a temper and I know that, like any animal, I immediately fight back when I feel vulnerable or under fire. It is what I do afterwards that matters. I can always apologize to my husband and sincerely ask for forgiveness but will I ever truly forgive myself for the hurt that I cause?
I try to bear a sense of responsibility for my actions and work very hard to not cause pain or suffering to others AND I know that, once again, I am human. Also, I know that when I let go of my bad feelings towards myself or others, I feel freed. It is a feeling like no other. It is weight lifted from my body. It is a liberation of my heart. It is a spiritual rebirth. Hanging on to anger towards anyone, especially myself, hurts even more than the original sin that caused me to feel angry in the first place. And, while I continue to mandate no resolutions, I do pay attention to the universe which is telling me right now that I need to focus on forgiveness towards others but mostly of myself. We cannot control how others treat us or feel about us but we have absolute oversight of how we treat ourselves and the more we are able to free ourselves of pain and guilt, the easier and happier our lives will be – and the easier it will be to deal with pain as it arises.
So, I thank my friend (and all the friends) who posted the link to this blog because it gave me a message that I so readily needed. Now let’s see what I can do with it.