Forgive Yourself ( March B4Peace Post)

Bloggers for Peace is a monthly tribute post to peace. This month post the topic is “Marching towards Forgiveness” ( I am a bit late in posting for March since it is already April) This is my thoughts on Forgiveness and my contribution to B4Peace . To read more about Be4 Peace please click here.

I’m not a religious person, but I am spiritual. I believe ultimately it is up to whichever higher power you believe in to grant forgiveness.  I do believe if we are sorry for our wrong doing then we seek redemption from those we have wronged by letting our actions show them we are trying and we are remorseful and genuinely want to be better. As a person, we can acknowledge the desire and pursuit to do better and withhold judgement upon them and support them in that positivity.  But who am I , a mere person, to anoint forgiveness? When the words ” I forgive you” pass your lips that is a deep message with ALOT of implications. It means that you harbored judgement on that person and ultimately admitting you have thought less of them for their actions and somehow you’re taking pity on them and bestowing upon them this great gift of salvation. I don’t think that highly of myself.

I do believe in not passing judgement regardless to how a person acts or has acted( with exceptions to vile things like abuse). I guess in a way that is a form of forgiveness(not judging). But i believe the most we can do is not judge a person based on their actions. It’s not our place. I believe if someone has done you wrong( to a certain extent) you don’t shut them out if they seek you out to apologize. I can accept the apology. But only if I reserve judgement about you based on what you have or have not done to me. I would never accept an apology if their actions are still in my mind but most importantly in my heart. I was just watching a documentary on Hallie Berry  this morning and  they were doing the timeline of their careers alongside their personal lives and they mentioned when her father died she did not attend the funeral because she never forgave him for his abusive behavior. I actually admire that honesty on her part. Some people have done vile things in their life, I can’t imagine a victim being asked forgiveness from their abuser. How sorry can you really be if you knowingly and willing and even forcefully inflicted hurt on a person. How do you “forget”that? I have been abused. I cannot FORGET that. I cannot accept an apology because that is always in the back of my mind. I don’t let it hinder my life and happiness but I’m honest. I cannot forget what was done. Those actions can never be undone no matter how saintly you are henceforth. Maybe that makes me a lesser person, I don’t know. But, i don’t wish them unwell, I urge them to be better. If they are sorry, show yourself first then show the world by living an honest life helping others.

Does anyone remember that show Forgive or Forget? It was a day time TV show that was on when I was growing up and as a young child i loved that show. Even as a young child I was the ever eager optimist  and routing for the families on the show to reunite. The show was set up by introducing the person seeking forgiveness and when their stories were told the camera would focus on a door. We would watch in anticipation as the door opened. If a person stood on the other side of the door they have chosen to reconcile and forgive. Even as a young child my heart broke when the door opened to blackness and no one stood there.

Growing up, i tried hard to aspire to that mantra “Forgive and Forget”.

However I struggle with the forget part. I’ve been hurt. Time and time again. It leaves a scar. We become protective of ourselves.
Above all else I believe in protecting ourselves.

So, I don’t take forgiveness lightly.

I”m still learning. Still growing.

But, I believe in not letting the protectiveness, or fear of being hurt even, to hinder myself. To not let that negativity have a hold over my life.  I can choose to forgive MYSELF , to let go, to be a better a person and aspire to not inflict whatever was inflicted on me onto another person.

I think that’s what’s most important. Forgiving ourselves.  We have to work to forgive ourselves. Accept our bad decisions and actions. We have to learn to forgive ourselves and come to terms that we are only human and growing. We can’t let what happened to us to turn us sour. If we forgive ourselves and let all that emotion go then we can be more accepting to others.

What I’m trying to say, it’s not our job to forgive others. We forgive ourselves first. Sure, if you have done wrong you ACT accordingly to make it right. But forgive? That’s placing judgement on a person. Judgement we have no right to place. We accept that mistakes have been made, and we agree to move past it. If you can’t Forget, then you do not accept the apology. It is not right to accept a person’s apology and their attempt to change and better themselves and then constantly slap them in a face with their downfall. That’s judgement of the worst kind. It’s bitter. It’s vengeful. It’s not peace.

At work the other day,  i greet a customer walking by me and he turns around and says excuse me and backtracks. He doesn’t say anything for a moment and then he said you look familiar. I stare in silence because this could go anyway. He then goes on to tell me how growing up he was a mean kid . I was like Um okay. Then he asked me if I like butterflies.

At this point I’m leaning to “this guy doesn’t want my help in picking out a shirt” so I said NO in hopes to end conversation right there. He responds saying ” I thought you would say that!” Then he jumps into a long-winded story how growing up there was girl who loved butterflies. She would draw them. Paint them.  Try to find them and capture them in jars. She just loved butterflies. And he was mean to her. He went on to ask me if I was that girl. I told him ” sorry, that isn’t me” . He goes on to argue that it COULD be me and I wouldn’t say so because I am embarrassed and he is trying to atone for being bad his whole life and would like to apologize. I told him  I thought that was a nice thing to do, but really that girl he knew wasn’t me. He was arguing for some time that it COULD be me and after a minute or two i just stood quiet. Then he said would you forgive me? For my karma? I told him, I cannot forgive you, that is not my forgiveness to give. He was arguing he was mean kid but kids are mean and now he is trying to do better and get better karma and he knows better now. I wished him luck and then he persisted in me forgiving him. I told him plainly “Karma doesn’t work like that! You have to want to be a better a person. Act on in. Find that girl and tell her you are sorry not find a random person and tell them sorry just to wipe your conscience clean! Karma doesn’t work that way. Just because you say sorry doesn’t mean you are. You have to act on it!”

He proceeds then to ask me out -__-  and that’s when I realized it was all a convoluted pick up line.  Then he went into creepy customer territory and was asking when my day off was . ” I work EVERYDAY!” I told him.  He kept asking me to go to Starbucks with him and I told him No thank you and after a few times asking me various different ways I told him I will go to Starbucks with my HUSBAND and he said,” Husband so what? We can’t go get coffee?” At this point I wanted to throw the phone/register device at his head. I said NO thank you and was walking away and he said but you’re talking to me! You are not obligated too! Actually, sir you have come into my place of work where it is my JOB to talk to the customers soooo. He got mad and stormed off and I worked the rest of my shift wondering if I had to duck and hide through the parking lot when leaving for work.

Anyway, the point is most of the time we seek forgiveness of others FOR OURSELVES. That’s selfish. If you are sorry for something it has to start in your heart and show through your actions. The universe , God, whatever you believe is the ultimate one to grant forgiveness. I just believe we have to live a life without judgement. Judgement of ourselves. Of others.  We let our emotions and our actions do the talking. If you stumbled and done wrong, you work hard to do right.

In short, I believe forgiveness is complicated. It’s not a quick ” I”m sorry will you forgive me?”  It’s a life long pursuit of trying to be and do better. Treat yourself better. Treat others betters. It’s dedication towards peace.  That is what true forgiveness really is.

Forgiveness is reserving judgment. Forgiveness is working to live a life of peace. Forgiveness, most of all, is trying…just trying… to learn and grow.  Forgiveness is supporting others fighting through their darkness.
light and dark, forgiveness, sharing

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