This week I asked my readers to make suggestions of topics they would like me write about. An old friend wrote, “Finding the strength and fortitude to forgive someone who feels no regret or remorse for their actions!” Ahhhh…a tough one!
Or maybe not. Really, it’s just a question of dissecting the real issue. First of all, we all have people in our lives that take no responsibility for their actions. Children, parents, spouses, friends, bosses, coworkers…the list goes on and on. We are powerless over changing these people and their actions. That is key. We can’t do a damn thing about anything they do and how they react to it. Typically we become frustrated because, if you are a control freak like me, you want to make them apologize for their actions and own up to their part. But the reality is that we can’t make them do anything. Alas they are they’re own people…are so are we.
So then it all comes down to us. My first question would be why do you have someone in your life who is so careless about their affect on others? Do you really want someone around you that doesn’t care enough about you to own up to their part and show some remorse? I don’t. But I do become consumed with these type of people because I’m not one of them and I just don’t understand how they tick. I’ve realized I don’t have to understand them to forgive them and not have them in my life. It’s really that simple. The act of forgiveness is simple, it just doesn’t feel that way.
The first step is loving yourself more than you love this person. If you did, you would have already taken the steps necessary to forgive them, remove them from your life and move on. These people will never understand their actions until people begin to hold them accountable. Typically, it’s a pattern they’ve gotten away with for years. Do you remember the part in The Wizard of Oz where the Good Witch says, “You have no power here! Begone, before somebody drops a house on you, too!”
I bet you didn’t know that this movie held so much therapeutic value, did you? Glenda the Good Witch laughs before she says this because she has what many lack…confidence. She is not afraid of the Wicked Witch because she already knows she can’t hurt her anymore. When we realize we won’t let others hurt us, they have no power, thus it is our turn to forgive them, because they know no better.
Forgiveness is really about removing all of the ugliness and bitterness in your heart and clearing space for more beautiful things. How can we possibly live a pure and peaceful life with chaos and ugliness surrounding the corners of our heart? I used to have a really difficult time forgiving people. It took time and practice but eventually I got better at it. Usually, I even give these people six, seven and eight chances to keep stomping on my face before I realize that they probably just aren’t good for me to have in my life. Recently, I had a friend who hurt me and my close friends deeply. We became consumed with this hurt and lack of understanding why this was happening. We just couldn’t get it. It made no sense because we did nothing wrong. And then I was offered the opportunity to forgive this person, which I did, and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. This person will never be my friend again or even a small part of my life, by they by no means consume me anymore either. They have no power in my Oz, so to speak.
Maya Angela once said, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” When someone treats you wrong or has no remorse for their actions they are telling you that is who they truly are! They aren’t lying; they’re warning you! The rest is up to you. She also said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain”
There ya go. It’s time. Rid yourself of all negativity and live a pure and joyful life.
I know this isn’t easy and we hold onto anger and sadness much longer than we hang on to joy, but try something different. What do you have to lose. You will never make someone change their behaviors; they have to learn it on their own. We all have our special lessons to learn and maybe, just maybe, they aren’t supposed to learn how to be remorseful. Or maybe they just don’t care. But you don’t have to go along for the ride. And this means no matter who this person is in your life.
When I got sober I was told to remove all people in my life that abused substance and the first person I thought of was my mom. Before I got out of treatment I called her and told her and she said, “Oh surely you can’t mean me?”, to which I told her yes. I didn’t see my mom until six months later when she got sober. It was probably the most difficult six months of my entire life for many different reasons, but I had to love myself enough to give myself a chance and remove any negative influences. I at least deserved a chance. We only get one life, right?
And maybe I’m reading into the question, but I don’t think so. Everything you need is already inside you. The strength is there, you just have to dig it up.
Have you ever been on a road trip and you’re driving on the interstate and you see a horribly, black sky ahead full of rain and hail. Your heart and head tell you to stop and wait it out but you keep going anyway. Once you get inside the storm, it is difficult to see and drive and people are giving up and pulling off of the road, but you keep forging ahead. Eventually, you come out on the other side and see blue skies. In your rearview mirror the black sky remains and all of those drivers who pulled over are still inside, waiting it out…but not you. And you realize, “hey, it wasn’t that bad after all.”
You’re driving through the storm right now. Grip the wheel and keep on going. It’s a tough ride but there are blue skies ahead.
At the end of The Wizard of Oz Dorothy comes to a wonderful realization about herself. “And If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire, I will look no further than my own backyard, because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” Open your window, my dear, and find the strength that already exists. You deserve it…because we’re on borrowed time as it is!