I realized after much prayer and contemplation that I first needed to forgive myself. While the people who had hurt my family were malicious and purposeful in their intent, what they perpetrated against us happened only once on their part. My anger and resentment towards them brought up their perpetrations multiple times. Each time I thought about and became angry again, each time I cried, every moment I spent in sadness or frustration, relived their actions against us. Essentially, I was hurting my family repeatedly while these other people hurt my family once. Before I could forgive them, I needed to forgive myself first.
I needed to forgive myself for being angry and resentful. I had to forgive myself for wanting revenge. (I never sought after it.) I forgave myself for being a sometimes bitter woman who narrowed her eyes. I needed to forgive myself for scanning articles of terrible accidents for certain names. (I never said I was nice all the time.) I forgave myself for not always being the example for my son that I need to be of someone who is kind and charitable. I allowed him to hear me say unkind things about people, mean things, and I am sorry about that. Lastly, I forgave myself for allowing these people to change me in the first place.
My sweet friend was right; I began to feel much joy in forgiveness. Have I forgiven everybody else yet? I haven’t. But I have peace in that and in the process. I know that it will come. I feel less angst and anger now that I have given absolution to the person who I believe needed it most: me.
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10 thoughts on “Joy in Forgiveness”
So very, very true: You can't forgive anyone else until you forgive yourself first. This lesson has been a constant stumbling block for me. But I take so much comfort in how you wrote that even if forgiveness hasn't come in total, you can feel it on the horizon.
Yes. Yes yes yes and yes:
"Each time I thought about and became angry again, each time I cried, every moment I spent in sadness or frustration, relived their actions against us. Essentially, I was hurting my family repeatedly while these other people hurt my family once. Before I could forgive them, I needed to forgive myself first."
It took me a long time to realize that forgiveness has to start with your own self, or it's absolutely meaningless. We're not really taught that, or at least not directly; from day one, we're mouthing "You're forgiven" when we really don't mean it, when we really haven't even had a chance to let ourselves complete the cycle of getting good and angry, or good and hurt, or good & angry & hurt.
No wonder it takes us so long to realize it's okay to feel the way we're going to feel. The trick is to learn from it.
Isn't it interesting that the main thread running from this prompt has been forgiveness of one's self, first? I didnt read the prompt until just a few moments ago, and ghat's immediately where my mind went.
I am so glad that you have made strides in that direction. I, too, know the peace that it can bring.
I believe forgiveness starts w/us and ripples out. I could feel your angst and pain and heartache in this post.
I think. Usually It can ONLY START there. Not elsewhere. Then it can spread. But not all things are forgivable, sometimes, and I often even think that of myself.
Forgiving oneself can be the hardest forgiveness to give. I struggle with it as much as anything else. Thanks for sharing.
I love your insight about how they only did their hurtful act ONCE to your re-enacting it OVER AND OVER. I've not really thought of it like that and that is a very, very important truth to acknowledge.
I also chose myself as the subject of this reverb post. I cannot yet decide if it is harder for me to forgive me, or forgive those who so carelessly hurt me. I only know that I have to forgive me at some point.
the day I realized that who I had to forgive was myself was a powerful, opening day. I still work on this.
yes. i started there, too. 🙂
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