1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Kerry's Causes

Both Sides of the Forgiveness Story, #1000Speak

Some people who say they’re sorry aren’t and don’t feel genuinely sorry and some who feel truly sorry never say it, or get the chance to even try.

There may be a quote like this somewhere out there already, but, if there is, I don’t recall and, I swear, these words are my own. Chances are it isn’t stated nearly as poetically as how I’ve written it here anyway.

🙂

If it already exists, I am sorry and I really do mean that, but in this case I came up with it in my own words and from my own heart.

I am speaking of being sorry. I apologize a lot more than some people, perhaps a lot of people, but I know I am not the only one. It is said that women are forever apologizing for things, (big things or little things) whether warranted or not, and there is such a thing as too much being sorry, overkill.

This will all make sense, by the end of this post, I nearly certainly promise you that.

January’s #1000Speak topic is “Forgiveness”. Oh, the things I had to say about that, I told myself, upon hearing of the subject matter.

Spoiler alert (full disclosure, before I continue): I don’t have many answers and I don’t even have much of a handle on the monster that is holding a grudge or laying blame.

I know what you’re thinking, what so many self-help experts would shout out loud – anger, grudges, and blame only hurt the one doing the holding and the laying, that it is a much healthier thing to just let it all go and that getting on with life, being happy, these are the best forms of revenge. I don’t even like that way of putting it though, to be honest. Using the word “revenge” is still holding onto negative thought process and talk.

I don’t want to take out my anger on people or to take revenge on anyone, especially those who I have loved, at one time or another. Those are the ones you usually blame for things or can’t forgive for something.

Well, to begin with, I am working on forgiveness toward those who ever decided to title it “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” here in North America.

I do not love those people, never did, because I have never met them. I do love those books though.

Forgiveness is necessary for so many things, as this first example shows.

😉

My real list of those I have had to work to forgive is as follows:

–To a world of ignorant people, unwilling to look past disability and my blindness, to give me a chance and to get to know who I really am.

–To the doctor(s) who didn’t take me seriously enough when I told them I was feeling unwell, (when I was in renal failure or in chronic pain).

–To the schoolboard/administration who didn’t think I was smart enough. Or who used my blindness as the reason why I wasn’t keeping up, when I was really very ill from an entirely separate medical condition.

–To my high school boyfriend who used me to figure out the problems with his own life.

–To a friend who did not care.

–To an ex boyfriend who hurt me when he left.

If I was affected by these things in the past, I cant say for sure if I have forgiven completely. If I am still angry, I don’t want to be. Is it as simple as letting that anger go? Really? If it were, why wouldn’t I have done it by now?

What’s the real answer to that question?

Must mean I don’t want to let it go, right? I don’t know about that.

Certain times in my life have affected me, so profoundly, that even years later I think back on them and cringe a little. They often feel like a tiny little wound, one where when I brush up against them (when I let my mind go there) I feel just a little sting of regret or sadness or disappointment.

How do I ever completely heal these wounds?

I move on. I move forward. I get on with life. I have survived it all and I am still here. That offers endless comfort to me, but it doesn’t erase the experiences and the memories.

Forgive and forget. I often wonder about this line from the self-help field as well.

Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out which one I am left with at the end of the day.

I know the person I have the hardest time forgiving is myself. I try, once more, I really do try. I know blaming myself for things I couldn’t have known better of back then or ways in which I may still be punishing myself now is not helping me.

I don’t know how much, if at all, anybody from my past thinks about me now. How wrapped up in myself must I be to even think they think of it at all, when so much of life is a one-sided argument happening inside our own heads.

If someone had nothing but the best intentions, I know they didn’t set out to hurt me, hurt me bad enough where I am still talking about it now. I acknowledge what good and decent people I have known. I am glad I’ve had certain people in my life, as a part of my history. I don’t wish them any ill will.

I gave my five-year-old niece a necklace for Christmas. It was a snowflake with the words “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen” on it.

This I liked right away, on finding it in the store. I wanted her to have it, just as I want her to have the skill, the ability to forgive and to let go of anger and hurt, whenever and wherever possible. I don’t think it brings much else but suffering and I want her to know less of that than I’ve known. I want her to have a life with less regret and disappointments.

I hope I am not an angry person, but sometimes I’m not really sure deep down. I don’t ever want the level of anger (a perfectly common human emotion) to balance out the love and the kindness I feel and show to the world, but I try to remind myself that I must start with me first.

Give yourself a break, I remind myself, when the bad feelings surface. Life is much too short.

That is true.

I am always sorry for things and I don’t know if this is something I need to work on or not. I need to learn to forgive a world where disability and blindness is still not understood as well as it should be. I need to learn to realize that other people are fighting their own battles within themselves and that, if they’ve hurt me in some way, it’s not normally an intentional act. They were doing the best they could too, just like I am.

The hardest part is imagining what could have been or what will never be. Doesn’t mean there’s no hope that it could have all been worth it in the end.

With the death of a “Harry Potter” film star last week I have been watching a marathon of the movies and there was the scene about “The Unforgivable Curses).

They are “so named because they are unforgivable” and it got me thinking.

If you think that there are those things that shouldn’t be forgiven, I am just lucky that I can’t say that about my own life.

And whether you believe even the worst and most unforgivable deeds and actions towards others can still be forgiven, if only for the sake of the one who was wronged, so that person can find peace – well, I guess we’ll all just have to agree to disagree on that.

The only way I can look at it is that we can only know what this life and its most painful parts are like for ourselves, no one else. We can try to see things from another’s point-of-view. Maybe that will help and maybe it won’t, but we can at least try, right?

Around the 20th of every month

1000 Voices

explores topics like forgiveness and compassion, when a group of bloggers and writers do their part to spread all manner of good things, as a breath of fresh air with all the negativity and bad vibes in the world.

This month’s group and their thoughtful stories have given me a lot to think about, as usual.

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27 thoughts on “Both Sides of the Forgiveness Story, #1000Speak

  1. Once again, I enjoyed chatting to you. Our posts are side by side and quite a match. I called mine; “Forgiving the Unforgivable” of the difficulties of living with a chronic illness and you just want to punch its lights out but you can’t. I also agree with what you say about the lack of support from governments etc. I swear our politicians take part in disability bashing. Disgusts me. No forgiveness there..sorry not! Ha!
    Would be really interested in your feedback on my post. https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/forgiving-the-unforgivable/
    xx Rowena

    • Thank you. It can, but there are those who go out of their way to do whatever they can to be kind and helpful. What’s one without the other I guess. Still far yet to go. Thanks for reading.

  2. This is a fab post. It’s clear how much you’ve put into it. It’s very well thought out…and very well written. The quote you mention at the top… I’ve never heard it, but i like it. You should google it. If it’s been said before google will have it. If not, you should claim it… own it. It’s a good one 🙂

    • I hope we can all figure it out and do better. I am working to move forward with this. Hoping that writing this can be a part of that.
      I think every child is different, if they are ready for it they will let you know. Kids are pretty smart though, bud maybe waiting a few more years couldn’t hurt.
      🙂

  3. Hi Kerry; Yes the hardest thing to do is to forgive ourselves. And often its for decisions that were the best we had available at the time. The problem is often caused by the feeling that we could have or should have known better when looking back upon them. I find that I have been able to forgive some people and not others. For example I have forgiven my cousin for forcing me out of the carnival business because it lead to me doing something that I am happier with that is all mine and that doesn’t continue to ruin my body like traveling with the carnival had been doing. While I have yet to forgive the carousel owner who didn’t pay me for selling his ride. Maybe its the money I didn’t get and the things I had already pictured buying with the money. Maybe its because it was a big mistake in my new field. Not sure, but we all need help with forgiveness. By the way there are people who say I’m sorry a lot but its more a reflex action and the only way they know to acknowledge small mistakes like bumping into something or spilling a cup of coffee. the examples you mentioned in the post easily sound like the kinds of things that could be hard to shake. And if it makes you feel better I sometimes think I don’t get angry enough or hold on to grudges enough. I have been told I’m too forgiving and too easy going. My response is just because I’m not foaming at the mouth swearing and throwing things doesn’t mean I am not effected. Its just the result of a life time of being told how to handle or not handle life’s disappointments. thanks for sharing my friend. take care, max

    • I tend to keep things inside. I don’t speak up when I am upset. It is hard to feel like I have the right to be angry, but I really don’t want to be. Thank you for reading.

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  5. valj2750 says:

    So true. Women apologize for others or situations or things out of their control. I think it is because women have an deep empathy with others. Saying sorry for the pain something has caused, not because the woman herself, did something. Anyway, Kerry, you wrote from your heart and left me with many things to think about. Forgiving oneself, truly letting go, leaves us with many questions. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    • My sense of empathy is only becoming stronger as time goes by. It makes things difficult sometimes. This is a difficult subject for me to write about, but it’s an important one and so I did it anyway. Thank you for reading.

  6. It’s so very true, Kerry – we women seem to apologize reflexively. As for the rest, you brought up much to ponder. What would be an unforgivable transgression – one that I could not move past? I still believe that forgiveness is really for ourselves, not for the others. We learn by not forgetting, but by forgiving we give ourselves permission to move past the hurt and simply get on with our lives.

  7. This is a very insightful essay, Kerry!
    Forgive yourself first,
    Forgive and forget…
    These are very common advice we hear and we often pass on to others, however, one of the hardest things to do.
    We forgive others, not for their sake, for our sake, because ultimately, that’s more of s salvation for us, not necessarily for them.
    Very personal, but insightful, honest, and poignant writing.
    I really enjoyed reading it.

    • So I forgive someone else, to forgive myself, which requires forgiving someone else?
      😉
      I feel like I’m going in circles here and my head hurts a little, but I see your point.
      🙂
      Thank you.

  8. This post is actually quite beautiful, with depth and that non-definable quality we sometimes call wisdom. I mean it has the feel of something that’s written from a deeper place, the inner wisdom. (Does that makes sense?)

    I am still working on the forgiveness theme – hoping to finish and post tomorrow before January is over – and found several articles with quizzes “How forgiving are you?” (One of them can even be embedded in a post, so I’ll do that!) Anyway, I was surprised to find questions about: “Do you want revenge?” Because like you, I don’t. Never even enters my head to want another person to suffer, though when I thought back, I realised I used to feel that way. I learned to let go, just as you have. It is freedom.
    One of the posts for the link-up had a quote by Martin Luther King that I really liked. I can’t remember which post, but this is the quote: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.’ So, the way I see that is that our willingness to forgive in general is more important than the degree to which we believe we have forgiven any particular person. So yes, I’d say you are a forgiving person. And that it’s okay to forgive yourself.

    • Yes. He was a wise man because it’s the sort of thing you don’t just do once. You have to keep making the decision over and over again. Oh, I may have thought of ways to make someone pay, but only for a split second in my head and never as something that I’d actually want to happen.

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