Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Forgiveness

I came across this article by Amy Bloom called "Life Lessons." Obviously I am not of the age where wisdom comes with hindsight and lessons learned through time, but I found it comforting in relation to an instance that took place not long ago in my life.

By the time I was ten, I had really learned quite a bit: (1) Being lost is only temporary; (2) there are mean people everywhere (but fewer in the library); (3) knowledge is power, but make sure you know what you need to know (e.g., I may have had vast knowledge of Charles Dickens’s books, but socially this was no substitute for my failure to grasp the nuances of The Barbie Game); and (4) the gap between what people say and what they feel is like the rain forest: fascinating and uncomfortable.
The article is written about her perspective on forgiveness and how things/memories change over time. Bully's forget how cruel they were and people placate others for the sake of "polite social interaction." I fall into the latter of the two categories. I am notorious for saying things are just "peachy" when things are anything but. Just a few weeks ago I initiated a conversation with a person I hadn't spoken to in years because I wanted to be 'polite' and say hello. Pass on a complement or two and convey a sense of "no hard feelings." In the end, I was discarded by the wayside and have spent many days agonizing over why this happened.

What stood out for me was the fact that I am kind of like that bully in her story. I am focused on making peace with myself for any wrong I think I did that I don't see/I don't understand when someone else responds coldly. In the instance of being discarded - I had done nothing wrong to begin with, I was not her bully or foe from the past, but still I was trying to make amends.

Forgiveness is a two way street. You can seek forgiveness from others for what you've done (or think you've done) but if you do not forgive yourself then the guilt will remain. I am an advocate of telling it like it is and being as 'real' as it gets except with myself. I'd much rather live in a world where everyone things I'm OK than have them all know I've been hurt. Which usually leads to silent agony on my part while I plot your demise. (ok, not really the demise part)

Truth is time flies by in the blink of an eye and before we know it we are looking back on when instead of looking forward to what will be. I don't want to get there and then be filled with guilt - perhaps I should take the forgiveness lesson to heart.


What life lesson have you learned?

7 comments:

A Buns Life said...

Forgiving myself seems to be the hardest. I move on from other people's transgressions, I've done that my whole life.....maybe I just don't have any expectations for others so when they disappoint me, it really isn't a true disappointment you know what I mean? That is sad in and of itself. oy.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I've learned that no matter what you do, there are certain people who are going to find fault in everything you do. And that you can't live your life for people like that.
Great post!

Semi-Charmed Wife said...

I'm learning a big life lesson right now, which is that there are some things that are beyond our control and we just have to learn to roll with the punches...

Kellan said...

Forgivness is a hard life lesson, but I am all for finding a way to forgive - yourself and others!

Great post, Kel! See you soon - Kellan

GoteeMan said...

Perhaps the most life-affecting ones for me have been:
- Realizing that where I am is where I am supposed to be.
- Realizing I am only responsible for my own actions and choices, and that others are responsible for theirs.
- Realizing that the most important things in life are identity and relationship - with God and with people.
- Realizing that since I am forgiven, and since I am accepted and loved, I can also forgive, accept and love others without reservation.
- Realizing that in order to move forward, I must live in the moment - not the past, not the future, but this present moment.
- Realizing I often forget and need reminded of what I have learned - as well as what I have yet to learn... because I have realized I don't really know much at all... but I guess I know what I need to know...

J/

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I can totally relate! I am willing to give everyone else the benefit of the doubt.....but myself, not so much!

I am with Dysfunctional Mom.....you just can't please everybody....no matter how hard you try!

Jojo said...

We are merely human...thus we are all faulty. The problem with me is I can forgive myself and others but I just can't forget. That is such a huge problem, when you can't let things go, it's kind of like you never forgave in the first place. Especially in my marriage I found, this is difficult - I must learn this.