In the last few days I’ve had a couple of moments of real clarity about the idea and action of forgiveness. It was brought to my attention that a couple of people that I had made it my business to keep a distance from started following this blog. And I don’t mean they check in to see what’s new every now and then, they’re on here almost everyday. And it’s a little weird lol. I get that I write and comment on a purposely public platform (say that three times fast), but it doesn’t negate the fact that I still have some relationships that are either a work in progress, or even relatively non-existent.
But back to the former associates that have taken an interest in my writing. I won’t lie, when it became clear that these people were reading my thoughts about a number of topics that are personal to me (and them), I was initially irritated. I thought, “Stay out of my business. I don’t talk to you for a reason.” I started down a path of overreacting that would no doubt lead to eventually acting out. I actually decided to sit on the reaction for a minute because one of the main things that’s sinking in for me is that I can get answers to any and everything that I want to understand…as long as I stop worrying about the how. When I stood still long enough the CORRECT reaction kept showing up. Forgiveness and gratitude. Gratitude is pretty easy for me, but forgiveness? Not so much. Especially with people who have tapped all the way into my nerves, people who have consistently violated my boundaries and continue to do so after they’ve been informed of the boundaries, or, this is the big one, those who seem to enjoy violating others (even in a small way), but feel they deserve understanding while withholding their own. I guess the last reason translates into hypocrites who enjoy disrupting others but easily get their feelings hurt when they’re called to task for their bad behavior.
In the time while I sought out clarity about the proper reaction to these new blog supporters (let’s call them what they are because their clicks count too), it all made sense…I’d been wasting a lifetime on wasting my energy and breath trying to “defend” myself or make sure other people knew where I was coming from when there was a disagreement. Because I didn’t feel heard or respected when I would try to explain my position, that person would end up on my shit/grudge list. I had made a grave mistake by thinking that if I disliked someone or the things they do, when it comes to me in particular, they automatically lost my forgiveness and by default, my gratitude.
Another factor in this acknowledgement of my own frailty came as a result of my research for one of my journaling classes. Specifically, the power that thoughts have over your emotions, feelings, communication, and eventual actions. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t take what I found seriously. I couldn’t encourage and teach others anything if I had not taken responsibility for myself. If nothing else, I have one thing in my repertoire that never fails me…my journal and I knew I could come to something using it.
I sat down (I had to really make myself do this) and completed an assignment that I had given my students to hash out the role that my thoughts had played in the entire situation. The first thing I did was to acknowledge how I really thought of one of the people I mentioned earlier (lurker #1…just saying lol) and the truth is I never really liked this person. I never had hate or ill wishes for the person, I just didn’t care for the way they went about things, especially the things connected to me and mine. For me, that made it easy to never entertain the idea of giving this person the benefit of the doubt. Over the course of our interaction, I’d felt violated a number of times and the person that could’ve stepped in on my behalf and made a real impact never did, and when I did it for myself it was, well, not pretty and in my mind finite. Don’t worry, I didn’t kill anyone, I just made my boundaries unbreakable. The initial decision that I made in handling the repeat offender was the right thing to do. I’m sure of it to this day. It became an issue when every time the person got anywhere near my fortress ( and I mean in an indirect way) I could pull up all of the reason why they were to remain on my shit list.
And then it hit me. I was being unnecessarily unforgiving toward someone that really makes no real direct impact on my life. In my quest to keep this person as far away from me as possible, I’d kept ME as far away from me as possible. If I knew that person was anywhere in the vicinity, my whole routine would change up. I’d find “something else” to do to make sure I wouldn’t run into them. I’d be so concerned about their itinerary and whereabouts that I’d abandon my own. That just doesn’t work for someone who wants to do big things and that someone is me.
So I had to suck it up and say to myself, “Alright, alright. I can let it go. I forgive. I still don’t like that person, but I hope they have a good life. Sincerely.”
And that was it. It was that simple. I realized how little I actually cared about what’s happening in that person’s life and it was quite pointless holding on to any beef.
So…they are forgiven. No strings attached. They have been exonerated from my jail of grudge holding and I’m happy about it. Now I’ve really set my boundary without tying myself up in the process.
I just remind myself that we can be cordial and I wish the best for their experience on this planet…but we ain’t friends.
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