As the year ends… I want to highlight a topic that may not be big to others, but it’s been huge for me this year: forgiveness.
When you Google forgiveness it says to “stop feeling angry or resentful toward” and the synonyms listed are to “pardon” or “excuse”.
In my opinion, forgiveness is a process. I think there are things we have to work on within ourselves in order to forgive. For me, I have truly forgiven someone when I know longer have ill feelings, resentment, or lack of trust for the person.
We need to come to terms with the situation, accept what has happened, acknowledge our role in the situation (if there is one), and focus on how to move forward. Forgiveness seemed to be a recurring but powerful and changing thing for me this year.
Previously I shared about how dealing with fertility took a toll on me earlier this year. After hitting a low point in my fertility journey, I had to forgive myself. I had to forgive myself for shaming myself, I had to forgive myself for putting unnecessary pressure on myself, and I had to forgive myself for not giving myself permission to be in a bad space. That last one was the hardest for me to do. I was so busy trying to “save face” and pretend I was fine, when I wasn’t. I did learn that it’s okay to not be okay. I had to forgive myself for holding myself to a standard that I would not hold anybody else to. It’s completely absurd to face a significantly stressful time and to think I was going to move on from it with no issue. I just didn’t want to feel weaker than I already did, but I had to come to terms with that. I also had to forgive myself for thinking I had failed at something that I was not in control of.
Ironically, working through the woes of my fertility journey, I also turned over another leaf of forgiveness. While talking to a professional about moving forward, another topic came up that was a sore spot for me, my sister. My sister and I have never had a strong relationship. She spent the majority of my childhood in and out of jail and addicted to substances. During that time period, I was told many promises that were broken, which is hard for any child to accept. As I became a teenager, I no longer trusted her due to the broken promises and I had difficulty understanding why she chose drugs over me. As I became an adult, I began to understand the effects of drugs and that nobody wakes up one morning and says I want to be addicted to substances. I also now understand that sobriety is a constant battle. But that little girl in me was still angry! I was still hurt that I never got to experience that sister bond… I was also angry at the stress I watched her mom and my dad experience due to her drug related behaviors. But my therapist said something to me that was profound… she told me that even if my sister got clean and wanted a relationship… she could never live up to this standard that I was holding her to nor could she go back and change everything to the point where I would fully trust her. After thinking about it, I realized that the little girl in me needed to let go of what could not be fixed and to move forward. This is not to say that all hope is lost or that I will never have a positive relationship with my sister. I have accepted what has happened and I am aware that her actions were not out of malice. She could never make up for time lost and I stopped holding that against her.
In coming out of therapy, I begin to become more aware of the vibes and energy that were around me. I really started feeling positivity and growth within myself. I could feel myself changing. With that happening , God presented another opportunity in which I had to open my heart and be ready to move forward.
But one thing people fail to realize about forgiveness is that your heart needs to be open. I know that if I was in a different state of mind or was not open to change or receiving positivity, this would not have occurred.
Another situation that occurred that involved me forgiving someone and I also had to ask forgiveness.
It involved an old friend of mine. Let me rephrase that… they were like my best friend of all time lol. Our split was one of the hardest for me to get through. I’ve always wanted to reach out to him, but decided against it out of fear or feeling like it would be pointless. He had already reached out to me a few weeks prior about linking up, but nothing was set in stone. After watching an episode of Red Table Talk, I got the urge to reach out to him. But I needed to get this out, so I asked him could I FaceTime him, we exchanged numbers, and we ended up having a two-hour conversation. This was our first time talking in eight years!
I opened the conversation by asking for forgiveness. After years of being angry with him and blaming, I realized that I had a fault in our friendship failing. During the ending of our friendship, my friend was going through A LOT. As a result, he began making bad choices and after a while, I was over it. I was tired of trying to help him “get back on track”, our friendship became exhausting. But looking back I realized, I could have been more sensitive to what he was going through. Who am I to judge how somebody else gets through stressful times in life? Who am I to dictate how long it takes for somebody to work through their issues? Why am I walking around angry at someone for not being that friend they said they’d always be? It just didn’t make sense and it was selfish. I know I can’t change what happened, but looking back I would’ve felt some type of way if I was in his shoes.
He also ended up apologizing, which was unexpected. He apologized for not fighting harder for our friendship and letting so much time pass. He also let me know that he understood my reasoning for why I acted the way that I did. Apologizing helped get rid of the guilt I felt for thinking I could’ve done more. Receiving his apology helped to let go of the anger I had been harboring for so long.
I truly feel lighter. Perception is everything and I know that people do not experience situations the way that I do. Working through forgiveness has truly been enlightening and helped to learn some things about myself.
Forgiveness taught me that sometimes it is not worth it to lose time with people over things that can be worked out. Time moves forward regardless of what we are experiencing.
Forgiveness taught me that you don’t always need an apology or explanation from the other person to move forward. You have to be willing to work through it on your own sometimes.
Forgiveness doesn’t look the same for everybody and I think that is important to remember when you are going through the process.
Is there anyone you need to forgive? Do you need to forgive yourself?