Friday, September 28, 2012

Fearless Fridays: The Power of Forgiveness

This month, I am taking part in The Big Girl Movement’s  21-Day Speak Love, Spread Love Challenge. It’s a great idea that the wonderful Erica Ware of BGM came up with. She is always such a positive force for all women and a beautiful person I am proud to call a friend. This challenge consists of daily tasks we are asked to do, which help us to speak love and spread love…for ourselves and others. It has brought complete strangers together where we are all supporting and uplifting each other.

This challenge has been pretty easy in a sense for me until Day 15. Day 15’s task was as follows:
“For anyone who has wronged you, make the choice right now to FORGIVE THEM! Write a list of the people, or person, who has caused you pain, or discomfort, that you are having trouble forgiving. Once you create your list, say: ''I was deeply affected by what you've done to me in the past. I realize that I CANNOT change it, but I can accept it'' (Say it with conviction, like you really are ready to move on with your life. He who angers you, controls you. Discard of your list in whichever way you choose.”
For me, forgiveness is extremely tough and something I continue to work on to this day. Ironically, I am listening to “Bust Your Windows” by Jazmine Sullivan as I type this blog.  I listen it to now with a smile on my face because I look back to two years ago, when I found out that my boyfriend at the time had lied to me basically about everything. I was so in love with him and my whole view of him was shattered. He was an unfaithful man and a liar. He lied about how many kids he had, his situation, everything. I believed he loved me, yes. But his idea of love and mine were two very different ones. Back then, I was so angry and pissed off. I felt like I was on an episode of Maury minus the DNA test, thank goodness!  It took me some time but I did forgive him. I realized that I had to forgive him, not so much for him but for me. That anger was eating me up. And I realized that it was holding me back from really experiencing the love I wanted in my life.

We have all been wronged by someone but honestly, that will never change. People will always do something wrong. We’re all human and not perfect. This is what I had to accept. There goes that word again…ACCEPT. Acceptance is key in life. It is connected to so many things. I have talked about acceptance many times on this blog in other facets of my life. Acceptance is the base of everything in life. When you can accept the things you cannot change, which includes people and who they are, life becomes such a different experience. People can change but they have to want to change themselves. We cannot change them.

My ex, well, I had to accept that no matter how much I loved him, I could not change him. He needed to make that choice to change for himself. So I accepted things for the way they were (I certainly could not change how many kids he has or how many times he has been married) and let go. After doing that, then I could move on.

Forgiveness does not mean you are saying what that person did was okay. It’s saying “I accept what happened and I am letting it go”. It doesn’t mean you’re keeping them in your life. It means you are forgiving them and moving on. It’s all about cleansing your own heart and soul. When you keep grudges and don’t forgive, you’re essentially living in the past. When you do that, how can you move forward? It’s like you’re standing behind a closed door and refuse to open the door and see what is outside. You stay inside, unhappy and dwelling on what could have been, on what happened. Honestly, there shouldn’t be a “what could have been” on your mind because what’s done is done. You can’t change it. All you can do is ACCEPT it.

I continue to be a work in progress. Some are easier to forgive than others. I have one family member who I am struggling to forgive. It continues to be one of the hardest things I have had to deal with in my life. I remember the pain, havoc and chaos she inflicted onto my life when I was just 10 years old and lived with her for a year. I remember it like yesterday. She has never apologized to me or even showed remorse. I never thought I could hate someone like I hate her. Hate is pretty strong word for me because I don’t hate anyone but her.

However, in retrospect, her mistreatment and neglect forced me to grow up fast and learn to take care of myself so she gave me a gift. It could have been worse. I still managed to survive it and thrive. I keep telling myself…”When you forgive someone, you are freeing your heart and lightening the load within your heart.”  When you let go of the bad things, you are making space to let more positive things in. This is one thing I need to do to truly free my heart.

I am determined that I will. I have to do it for me above all else. Even though Day 15 of the challenge has passed (we are almost done at Day 20), I will still have my Day 15 from time to time.  Forgiveness is never easy but very necessary.

''I was deeply affected by what you've done to me in the past. I realize that I CANNOT change it, but I can accept it.'' 

It feels so good to say that.

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