I was watching Oprah’s Life Class last night with Bishop TD Jakes. They were talking about forgiveness and how forgiveness left unchecked is like a cancer in your soul. I had tears steady streaming down my cheeks. I wish I could have been there to say “Yes, YES! I totally agree!” Oprah asked him to explain and he went on to say, and I am paraphrasing here, that it starts with one offense and left to its own devices grows into other offenses, relationships, situations, and spreads into every area of your mind, heart, soul, life. It eats you alive as it turns into bitterness. It controls you.
I lived this. I lived it and I let it take control. It almost ended my life. I say that in all seriousness as days and nights I would have to sit and talk myself OUT of ending my life. I couldn’t breath, it was suffocating me. It effected every one of my senses. I knew I needed help and I knew I needed to let it go but it was so far gone. It had taken over complete control. I was dying, slowly.
Last night as the Life Class progressed people were asking questions like how do you forgive someone who continues to hurt, use or abuse you. I know for me I have had to make a choice to forgive people who to this day continue to mistreat me and people who long ago hurt me that I no longer have contact with. I long ago gave up on the hope of ever hearing an apology and waiting for one just fed the bitterness that was raging in my heart and mind. I had to learn new things. New ways of seeing old situations, people, places and things. I had to learn to set boundaries. I have shared several times about the boundaries I have in place with these people. Holding on to the things they have done to hurt me is what led me down the road of depression. I had to let it go. Making the choice to not forgive was the same as allowing these people and the things they had done to have control over my future. The cost of doing that was too high. (My Life!)
Bishop Jakes made another great point as well. “Why is it we expect a gallon from a pint person?” WOW! It is so true- you see some people are just not capable, like he shared, rather it is because that is just how they are wired, because of addiction or abuse or other factors. They are being exactly all they can be. If I am a gallon person capable of love and caring and so much more and I fill my life with pint people I will be disappointed every time if I have expectations that they can give me more than the pint they are capable of. It has always been hard for me to wrap my head around some people’s behaviours, especially those that can just up and walk away from their children. I have learned though, that some people are just not capable. That is a lesson I learned way before the comment last night. Knowing this as fact has allowed me to better deal with and in some cases even has prepared me to make better choices as to who I allow in my life. For the situations where that choice is made for me, I have learned to lower my expectations and categorize those relationships. Not every is a friend or should be.
So for me, as I examined my life this past year and decided to start removing some of the pint people, surround myself with gallon people and figure out how to start to forgive I started to get better. One day at a time, one next right choice for ME at a time. I stopped owning junk and I forgave myself. I also examined closely the things people tried to push on me and make me own (other wise known as the lies that others tell us so they don’t have to grow up and face their own mistakes and shortcomings, which by the way made it really easy to clear the shelf in my life of pint people.)
Listen, some of these same people I have chosen to forgive still hurt me, or at least attempt to. (The are the ones that for one reason or another I can not completely cut out of my life). Forgiveness is NOT saying what they have done is okay. It is however, releasing me to learn from what they have done and grow stronger, to insure I don’t let it ever happen again. Now, when things happen I take the time to process it. Figure out what, if anything is mine to own, learn what I can and LET IT GO! That is a concentrated effort most of the time but each day that I practice this and each day that I speak up for truth and myself and what is right I get stronger.
The best part is others are noticing. It was never my goal but it is refreshing to finally have someone see the truth, to see things as they really are and it is a wonderful feeling to be able to breathe through these times instead of feeling as if I will suffocate. I love my life. It is not perfect but now it is truly mine. No one can ever take that from me again!