Forgiveness

Let’s talk about love.  Love comes in various forms:- love for parents, love for a spouse, love for a child, love for a favorite fruit pie etc.  I consider myself a very loving person, except for one area of love – love for myself.  This is an area that just doesn’t come easy for me.  I often feel inadequate and not “good enough” – this and other lies that my depression makes me buy into.

I am currently going through therapy to talk about various issues from my past, some of which directly contribute to my depression.  On thing that seems to come up is the guilt I carry around within myself, the guilt that tells me that I have failed people, the “if I had only” statements that play around my mind.  “If I had only” made more of an effort to reconcile with my brother, maybe he wouldn’t have felt so alone.  “If I had only” kept in touch with my best friend, maybe I would have had a chance to say goodbye to him.  These thoughts are hard to deal with, and my depression feeds on them like a ravenous wolf, fueling it and making it stronger.

So, how do I break the cycle?  In a word, forgiveness.  Forgiveness towards my childhood abusers?  Forgiveness to the bullies who mercilessly taunted and hit me all through my school life?  Forgiveness towards those who should have protected me, but didn’t?  These are all valid, but not the biggest one.  All of these are heads of the same beast, the anger and shame that I carry around because of things that were done “to” me.  They were not my fault, yet I carry the burden of them because I feel like I somehow could have stopped them.  Again, the “if I had only”s surface…

How do I start this?  Compassion.  Compassion for the abusers who, in their own way, we’re just as broken and wounded by their own demons.  Compassion for the bullies who were playing out a script handed to them from the generations before, afraid to look inside themselves and the anger and fear that drives them.  Most of all, compassion for the scared, weak child that I was, and the troubled man that he became.

It’s an ongoing process, but at least it’s one that I have l started.  Once I started to forgive, a weight started to lift.  I no longer feel quite as angry as I did.  I will never forget what happened, and it doesn’t mean that I will open up and blindly trust those people again, but if I can get to a point of forgiveness those memories won’t have the same weight to them that they once did.  When we hold on to the bitterness and shame of past events, all it does is poison us and make us sacrifice the joy of the present – which is all we really have in life.

There are so many wonderful things I my life, a wife who loves me, family that cares for me, a job that I love, and many others.  It’s time I started learning to enjoy the blessings…

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