You've been there, I know it. We all have. That moment when we have a choice whether we are going to forgive the person for hurting us, whoever they may be - spouse, parent, friend. We have the ability to forgive and we know how amazing it would feel to be able to move past it. But something inside of you says 'NO. Don't you dare let them off the hook for what they did to you. They deserve to feel what you felt, they need to be sorry, they need to acknowledge your pain.' Sound familiar? I bet it does, as it's how most of us operate. We want so desperately to feel connected, understood and heard, that we end up sabotaging the very connection we desire.
It's Like Drinking Poison And Expecting The Other Person To Die
Setting expectations of how someone should show up for you, love you, and act around you is self sabotage in itself. It is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. it's VERY counterproductive. We cannot control others behaviours, thoughts, or actions, and it will never end well for you if you try. We live in a world today where we are so quick to cancel each other out when they don't readily meet our needs, or we feel slighted or disrespected by them. We 'should' all over them and forget that they are, in fact, just as human as we are.
When we refuse to allow forgiveness and grace for others, we are also refusing it for ourselves. We can package it up nice and pretty and say "of course I forgive myself" or "I have a great relationship with myself". But, in my humble opinion, everything we do is a mirror. If we are struggling to love and accept others, it is because we are struggling to love and accept ourselves. If we feel challenged to forgive others it is because we are challenged to forgive ourselves. This can show up in so many different behaviours, but the core or root is the same - "I don't fully love myself therefore I don't know how to fully love you", and deeper than that is " I don't know how to love myself fully and I am hoping (expecting) you to solve that for me and love me enough that I don't notice I don't fully love myself.
Hurt People Hurt People
Have you ever been in a situation where you have been misunderstood by your actions, lashed out at others without real cause, or been unkind yourself? The answer I'm sure is yes. Think back to the last time you were a jerk. What was going on in your life or in your mind during that time? Did you have a lot on your plate? Were you stressed, depressed, going through something? How much do you wish you could take back the times you were like that? How deeply were you maybe searching for forgiveness from the person YOU hurt? Or deeper, how many times do you think you hurt others without even realizing it? How many times have you been the perpetrator in someone else's story and you don't even know? Or how many times has someone said you did something and you can't, no matter how hard you try, see it from their perspective or understand them?
So let me ask you, what is the difference between you and them? Really? What is the difference? Are you somehow better, more special? Are they somehow less deserving? What is the difference? I can tell you from personal experience, the times I have been the worst person were the times I was feeling the worst. i was hurting, so I hurt others. maybe not overtly, but I found ways to lash out and release my pain to the world. I know I am the villain in many stories and my name is cursed and whispered among people I will never see again. None of us are without blood on our hands. This is the truth of life.
Releasing The Chains That Bind You
This may sting, but it has to be said. It had to be said to me, and it was one of the most freeing revelations of my life. it is this - No one, not even your parents, your children, your spouse, not even the closest person to you, NO ONE, owes you a damn thing. Not a one. By realizing that we are ALL individually on our own journey, with our own life lessons, pain, love, joy, to experience, and that we are all gifted with the flaws of humanity, we can truly break free of the chains that bind us.
No one owes you anything. you parents did the absolute best they could with what they had. No parent decides that they are going to intentionally F%#K up their child. No spouse decides that they are going to emotionally destroy their partner, no child chooses to disappoint their parents. No one really WANTS t cause harm, they are simply living out their model of the world, which doesn't match yours. But why should it? Why is your model of the world the one everyone should live by? Are they not free to make their own choice of how they live? What makes your perspective so great?
We are all just trying to navigate this incredibly hard and amazing life. No one really knows what is going on, let's be real. We speculate, assume, and estimate, but no one really knows. Holding on to hurt will only dampen your experience of this miracle of life. You get to decide how to live, and you can live it angry, fully of sadness and pain, seeking vengeance, or, you can live a life of love, forgiveness, joy, and connection. The choice is always yours. Choose wisely.