Just to warn you, I have had only one cup of coffee!
Although I am NOT a therapist, psychologist, or any other licensed individual, I HAVE received plenty of therapy to have a sense of what makes sense. Like, for example, it makes more sense to address specific issues you have with someone when you are seeking to find closure than dredge up every slight on the face of the earth that may have happened OR state how you view their life – even in unrelated areas. Or that, to be a good parent, there will be times when your kids “hate” you. Or, if you are in a relationship or in love, you will have tough times on occasion. That communication is hard work. That forgiveness means letting go and sometimes you have to do that without hearing “I forgive you” from the other party. That forgiveness doesn’t mean things go back “to normal”. That forgiveness is an action for both parties, but mostly for you.
Why am I sharing this? Well, I think I have looked at things incorrectly. I have already shared that I expect forgiveness and yet don’t always offer it (I think that’s true for a lot of us). And I have been “taught” over the last few months to change my view. But in doing so, I am learning that, just because I am seeking to forgive, I cannot and should not EXPECT anything. I should not expect forgiveness from others, even if I’ve asked for it. I should not expect the pain or hurt I have caused to miraculously disappear. I should not expect a group of long-haired people to sing “Kumbaya” as I high five those around me as I pridefully say, “Yeah, another one down! Forgiveness rocks and I rock!”
Forgiveness is more important than that. It is knowing you have addressed an issue and humbly faced it. Knowing what you did, whether intentional or not, caused an issue (pain, hurt, awkwardness, whatever). And then, acknowledging that issue to the parties involved – especially yourself. In doing so, you process it for yourself and HOPEFULLY, release any angst for the others. However, it should not be done to find peace, although that is a by product. You should not do it merely to be reconciled. You should not do it to get rid of guilt. You should do it because its the right thing to do, period.
Here’s another example of what I am trying to say. For years I have purposefully allowed drivers with blinkers on to change lanes in front of me, but then would get irritated if they would not say thank you. “How inconsiderate!” I would think! Sheesh, after my obvious nice action and they didn’t say thanks? But recently I realized – in having that attitude, the emphasis was on that I was being nice and the “sin” was that it wasn’t acknowledged. But really, was that what I was doing for? Did I do it to be acknowledged as nice? No, I did it because it was the right thing to do as a courteous driver. So, with the focus changed, if I let someone change lanes in front of me, I never expect a thank you, because I should let them in because it’s the right thing to do. And, if I DO get a thank you, then its gravy.
Not sure if I’m REALLY making sense – maybe I should get another cup of coffee……but the bottom line for me today is – I will continue to forgive, will try to express that verbally to those that need to hear it, and not expect anything else. Because that is the right thing to do. And, even though I am sure to blow it over and over again, I yearn to do the right thing.