“True forgiveness is when you can say, 'Thank you for that experience.'"
- Oprah Winfrey
a couple weeks ago i made the decision to forgive someone I previously did not plan to speak to again. word, ms. winfrey, you know what you're talking about. forgive only when you are truly ready to, and not a moment sooner. (the same goes for making an apology.)
i needed those eight months to regain my bearings, and i'm going to be so very honest when i say i dedicated a handful of hours to thinking some pretty shitty things about this person. to putting him down in my head. i took a degree of satisfaction from all the echoes of support. you let that guy hurt you?! come on, girl. i can't remember when exactly my mind shifted from associating him with a bunch of negatives, to where it is now, but it happened.
and thank goodness it did. because putting someone else down to feel better about myself, is a temporary solution, it's not only unproductive, it's a burden, a black hole in my mind that meant less room for positivity. and you gotta be about that positivity.
(oops. i just went from writing along with the taylor swift pandora station playing to now listening to the new arcade fire single and immediately i lost that connection, that sync-ness with the most emotional and reflective elements of myself.
bring me back, taylor swift!)
ok, so here's what i've learned about the act of forgiving.
1. do it.
2. but do it when you're ready because otherwise it's just going to bite you. being ready means you have to forgive with no expectations of any type of anything in return. you can't expect the person to receive it well or even care. it has to come with conviction. do it for yourself.
3. it's OK and sometimes even better to forgive someone in your head, that is, not actually verbalize it or have them ever really know you have forgiven them. i know that seems odd, but in some cases, this will have to do. you just have to trust that in some way, the message has been received.
4. a person doesn't have to offer an apology in order for you to forgive them, you can initiate.
5. forgiving does not need to be explicit or formal. mine was an email that was primarily an update on my life, expressed gratitude for the time we shared, and asked how he was. that was my way.
6. forgiving someone sometimes also starts with or means forgiving yourself. being able to acknowledge that i had a part in how things unfolded, and being ok with it, allowed me to be ok with his part, too. we're all works in progress.
7. forgiving fully means you can be a better person for all the people you care about, and the important people you have yet to meet. it's freeing.
8. it feels good.
maybe you're curious how things went? they went well. he was worth forgiving, received it well, and even surprised me with some touching words (i teared a little). we're friends! it helps that there are so many reasons to like him as a person, i respect him a whole lot; he's like no one else i know. and that's pretty bad ass because i have more than a thousand friends on Facebook, and maybe about a hundred in real life.
and really, forgiveness reminds you not to take life so seriously. i mean that in the best sense of the phrase. you gotta laugh a little. and think, that was silly of us. silly, but still. serious enough to say with a heart full. thank you for giving (no pun intended) me the wisdom that has allowed me to write this blog post. thanks for contributing to my life, helping me get closer to figuring out who i am and want to be. thank you for that experience.