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Sometimes I think I know more than others; I assume things I know very little about and without meaning too, I hurt another’s feelings. When this happens, I also hurt inside. Reaching out again I clarify my lack of knowledge and when the other forgives me it feels like standing under a mountain spring. Humility is a gift that needs to be honored and strived for, I still have quite a way to go.
Growing up I learned from my parents that there are consequences for wrong choices, but forgiveness was always available if I asked and that love was never at stake – it was never pulled away, it remained a constant no matter what.
I experienced forgiveness when I realized that the wrathful god of my old understanding was much smaller than the gracious God of my present understanding. If there is a God, I believe that God is infinitely and fundamentally forgiving and gracious. When I rejected the unforgiving, angry god, I felt a great peace and a profound gratitude for the gift of forgiveness. From fearing the angry god, however, I learned how much it hurts to want forgiveness and feel like you can’t get it no matter how hard you try, so I try to be forgiving as possible with people so that they won’t have to experience that pain.
The place I sometimes neglect, when overlooked and avoided, this Absence feels useless and boring, the shadow of a shadow, a dead loss. Or worse: as more terrifying than any ghost or devil. When taken in and taken on, however, it becomes the Presence that is my treasure. This neglected No-thing at my back turns out to be far more real than any of the things in front of me. This neglected Place is a truer one than any on the map: for, in contrast to them, it’s infinitely wide and deep, uniformly itself through and through, all on show at once, always accessible, unchanging. It is my Native Land. The Big Country, the Country of Everlasting Clearness. This is what I see it is, not what I imagine it is. Above all, it’s vividly aware of itself as all this, and free from every limitation. Described negatively, it’s my way out of the tightest spot, my escape route from the most secure of prisons. Described positively, it’s my way into the absolute Liberty that I am.
I have recently started the process of forgiving myself. Including apologizing to my inner child. Its difficult. But I know guilt and shame are hindering my growth. I’ve hurt those closest to me because of the actions I’ve made. I don’t feel “I’m sorry” will quite cover it, so I’m hoping that action and growth will allow those words to have more meaning when the time comes for them.
Most of the time I do forget that I exist because of earth, sun, air and so on. Yet they nourish me all the time . Moment by moment
I’m forgiving my self each time I meditate on letting go of the false mind and its lies. I think they call it repentance. Repentance is teaching me slowly to start to accept myself and let go of the past and future. Allowing whatever comes up to be a gift from the universe. I’m grateful for repentance, because it makes room for forgiving and patience.
I have learned that it’s okay to apologize. My mouth gets ahead of me sometimes, and In retrospect, an apology is necessary.
As for being forgiven, I have carried around guilt for years and finally said “I’m sorry” to that person. Such a relief, and it usually opens a new door to this person and deepens our relationship. Why I didn’t do this sooner, is the thing I’m working on.
The first thing that I leaped into my mind was something that happened when I had just started dating the wonderful man I’ve now been married to for almost 15 years. I did something that caused him pain and he forgave me. I learned that he felt things deeply, that he wanted and more than deserved honesty, and that we could get past a very rough patch as long as we talked it through. That was a very powerful insight very early in our relationship.
I still struggle with extending forgiveness to myself for staying in a marriage that should have ended long before it did because staying in it damaged my kids.
I don’t know that I’ve forgiven him for his cruelty and lies so much as I’ve learned to let go of winding myself up with anger. He died several years ago. The anger only hurts me.
I’m so sorry this still brings pain, Laura. I had a somewhat similar circumstance (second marriage, he was much harsher with his approaches to discipline and standards for their behavior) and if I think back on that marriage it hurts to think of what it meant for my children.
I don’t think back, though. I can’t rewrite history. My children are grown now and we’re close. With the distance of years and a much happier marriage to a far better man, that isn’t a burden I make myself carry. Years ago I read a line about letting someone else live in your head rent free, and I remind myself of that with anything I might have a tendency to dwell on.
I also read something about parenting along the lines of “at any given moment you’re doing the best you can”, with the added note that this is always true even if “best” isn’t where you want it to be in an ideal world. That has also helped me–not a get out of jail free card, just a reminder that I too am human.
Sending virtual hugs from an internet stranger.
Thank you, Barb. As the saying goes, it’s a process. I’m in a much healthier emotional space than I was a few years ago. Still, past regrets can sometimes surface and stir the waters. Your post is a good reminder to pick up the tools I used in the past to continue healing.
For years i suffered anxiety and depression because of my relationships with my parents. It was through therapy, confronting my dad personally and my mother by an “after death letter” that I started to heal. I also focused at learning to love me and being here when needed. With the passing of my father two years ago and when the first year was over I was able to forgive them. I learned that we are all human, we all make mistakes and that our own experiences affect how we treat others.
I know I should write freedom.
Yet right now I’m caught up with my inner critic and I know that this is a challenge within me, and me alone. And I know that there is no one to blame.
And, even though my thinking mind knows the Chan teaching of ‘The person in my mind is not the real person’ I’m still blaming the installer instead of doing the investigative and transformative and self compassionate work etc of letting go. So at this moment I’m in stuckness. So there is another key that needs to be heard.
So, I’m in the learning to listen phase of learning about forgiveness.
Speaking about “poor decisions” and, when looking back, often happening really unnecessary, I experienced undeserved forgiveness. It taught me about love deeper than my fear, deeper than my self-imposed will, and stronger than my sadness and about commitment and friendship. This has always been an inspiration for me to be with others with a kind and understanding open heart and to giving support to the best of my ability. To having had the blessing of forgiveness experienced the last years is due to kindred hearts having my deepest thanks.
Good question. I have felt the outpouring of love from forgiveness that cannot be taught, but felt. And I was so touched by that love I have done my best to pass it on.
So many times, but most importantly when I forgave myself for allowing something to go on for way too long (my 1st marriage). I learned a lot about myself thru that whole process, and I am grateful for the woman who came out on the other side.
For me it was my second marriage that brought this lesson. I often remind myself that I’m the sum of all my life experiences, both good and bad. If I like who I am now I have to accept the path that brought me here, including the ruts and rocks.
Yes, Barb! Everything on our path has led us to where we are right now… the good AND the not so good. Getting to that point of acceptance has offered so much freedom.
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