Forgiving and Forgetting are the words on my mind this morning. THE “F” word does not trouble me nearly as much as these other two…I have no problem muttering under my breath for somebody to go F*off, F* yourself, go F*ing die, but “I forgive you” or “let’s just move on and forget about this” well, those are doozies for me!! I F*ing loathe them!!! But they are necessary in the art of letting go and growing and they are the F words of my own “Super Soul Sunday” today.
I finished a memoir last week, written by a young monk who basically said, well, the way I summed it up for my own understanding was, what good is dwelling on somebody who hurt you, or lied to you or did you wrong, when instead you can just forgive and move on?? We hurt our own selves every day and we lie to ourselves every day and we do some things wrong almost every day, yet forgive our own selves and just try to move on and do better, so why do we make it hard to give that same kindness or empathy to somebody else??? This was a very small book that packed a big punch! On the author’s web page he is described thusly: “Timber was born Jewish, ordained Buddhist, uses a Hindu mantra, and his morning meditation is a Catholic prayer. His altar at home features a statue of Jesus, one of the Buddha, another of Saint Francis of Assisi, and they get along just fine. On paper, Timber Hawkeye is a bestselling author, a podcast producer, a publisher, and an international public speaker, but in person, he is just another friendly face in town.” He signed my book when I bought it and wrote: To RStar, discover the freedom and the beauty of letting go…and I took this to heart.
I was away for a few days last week after Thanksgiving; friends invited me to spend some time at their vacation home in the Virgin Islands. I was grateful for a chance to not HAVE TO DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN BE. I read and wrote every day and did a lot of contemplating about a lot of things. I realized that I prefer the happiness of my personality when I remain positive and hopeful and optimistic and cheerful even in the face of difficulties or sadness. I realized after finishing this book, that I do really work hard to practice the two F words of forgiving and forgetting, but sometimes the opinions of others or the words between my own ears make me steer away from that freedom, of forgiveness, and I do not want to be a woman who dwells on bad stuff, or sad stuff, or old news of old wrongs or pains. This kind of behavior does not serve me.
When somebody hurts you, and they apologize with sincerity, and you accept the apology there are two pretty important steps that come after; forgiving and forgetting. You can disagree with me all you want, but I feel pretty sure that these are necessary for moving on, whether you ever speak to said person again, or not, these steps are part of the healing process of a hurt, and if you don’t take the time to do one, or both, there are thoughts and emotions that linger and they can EAT YOU ALIVE for the rest of your life. Staying angry at a person who has wronged you is, as I misquote the Buddha, like holding onto a hot coal and thinking the other person’s hand will burn.
Accepting a humbled and heartfelt apology is a challenge in and of itself, but in order to not dwell on any event that caused suffering you have to let it go…literally, the only way to not suffer is to not hold onto the hurt and once you say, I accept your apology, you can’t then go backwards over and over and discuss the event again, it just stirs up the sludge that has settled…forgiving and forgetting is healing.
I suffered some difficulties over the summer that left me bereft, and I needed to start this new year with a clear head. I needed to move on from the thoughts of what had happened and I needed to change the narrative…things could have been exceedingly worse than they were, and so for me, forgiving and forgetting is how I let go. I am just turned 54. I might have one week left on this earth or I might have forty more years, who knows??!! WHY would I spend one more minute lingering with any thoughts of what went wrong over a period of 13 weeks or so of one summer, when I have lived many summers that were much happier, and I potentially have many summers ahead of even more happiness??!! Thoughts that do not serve me of events and behavior that can be forgiven and a summer that can be forgotten seems like something that I can control and choosing to control these thoughts, forgive and forget and let go, feels good. I am a happy person and I am a cheerful person and the only person I can control is me. The things that somebody else did wrong are things I can’t control, but how I deal with them is. The things that people said or the opinions that people have, are things I can’t control, but how I listen or comprehend and then act accordingly, or not, are.
Forgiving and Forgetting, well that doesn’t mean that I was not angry, or sad, or hurt, or mad…forgiving and forgetting FREE ME. That might be the best F Word of all…FREE. I am free to choose happiness. I am free to choose to look on the bright side. I am free to say, I forgive you and I accept your apology. I am free to look back on nearly a decade and ask myself, “Was it a relationship of 50% joy and 50% crap?? Was it a relationship of 90% some kind of wonderful and 10% dreadfully woeful??” Is this the barometer for everybody?? No, but is it the barometer for me?? Yes. We all have choices every day to make…do we merge or yield, keep smoking, stop drinking, take up jogging, stay at this job, move from this house, cheat on our wife, lie to our husband, quit, love…choices that either free us, to make room for more happiness, or freeze us, stagnation and in a constant state of dwelling on bad news. I am choosing the F words that make me feel mighty fine…forgiving, forgetting, freeing me to keep choosing joy and creating it wherever and whenever I can…the glass is nearly full all of the time for me, and I don’t intend to let a total crap of a chapter in a whole book of life turn me into a glass half empty kind of person…I let go.