The F word.
It has been floating around me and my head like a bad smell. Always there. Teasing me. Telling me to look at it.
I tried last week. I did a meditation on it… focussed on one of the things I needed to forgive. But I got so stressed and angry, I had to turn off… and go back to a calming mindfulness session in stead. It was just too hard.
And I have kind of avoided it since then. Too hard to face in to.
Until today. And Louise Hay and ‘healing your life’ came into my life and her first chapter is on Forgiveness. The F word.
‘Forgiveness is a tricky and confusing concept for many people, but know that there’s a difference between forgiveness and acceptance. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you condone their behavior! The act of forgiveness takes place in your own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person. The reality of true forgiveness lies in setting yourself free from the pain. It’s simply an act of releasing yourself from the negative energy that you’ve chosen to hold on to.’
Her soft voice in the confines of my car, my ‘university on wheels’, in the dark as I went to collect one son from school (the other poorly in bed) gave me some level of some relief and understanding.
Forgiving isn’t condoning, nor is it accepting, or understanding. It is just letting go, setting yourself free.
And I could really do with some relief from the pain, by setting myself free.
And it was her next words that really made my shoulders relax and my heart open to hear what she has to say..
‘To release the past, we must be willing to forgive. We may not know how to forgive, and we may not want to forgive, but the very fact we are willing to forgive begins the healing process……. You don’t need to know how, just be willing. The universe will take care of the how.’
And yet… should I?
The S word.
Should I be willing to forgive? Should I forgive in order to heal myself? Should I leave it up to the Universe to work out the how? Should I?
And then the Universe did… for the second chapter of her book told me what to do with ‘should’.
Firstly shove it where the sun don’t shine! Should is just another way we hold ourselves to ransom, doing things we feel we ought to do because someone else told us, or because you want to please them, or because it is the way society believes it should be… and so on. But secondly, she shared an exercise on ‘should’ and how to turn it to ‘could’ which then gives you choice.. and then the ability to let it go.
My lists of should is long. Really long. But a subset..
I should forgive.
I should let ‘it’ go and focus on the future.
I should work to distract myself.
I should help my team.
I should serve my clients.
I should go for a coffee or a walk with the friends who ask me.
I should get up.
I should get out.
I should go for a run.
I should eat.
And so on…
Then she asks you to ask yourself ‘why’, why should you?
Because it is the right thing to do for my family, for me, my health, my sanity.
Because I am afraid not to.
Because I want to be at peace.
Because everyone keeps telling me to.
Because they deserve it.
Because I made a commitment
Because I need the income and to contribute financially.
Because I need to stay healthy, slim, attractive.
And this is where she says you can see where you are stuck in your own limitations and beliefs and you are telling yourself that by not doing what you ‘should’ you are telling yourself you are wrong.
So I am with her to this point and I find it fascinating… My personal rule book pretty strict and definitely needs relaxing and reviewing. But it is the final part that is truly liberating. She then says to replace the sentence to start with ‘If I really wanted to, I could’ and at the same time, ask yourself ‘why haven’t you?’.
If I really wanted to forgive, I could. But I don’t want to. Because I am afraid, scared of what it will mean, what it will lead to and what others with think….
And I suppose that is the only one on the list that really matters. Because I can let all the others go. They can all come off the ‘should’ list, they are all about pleasing others and fitting other people’s standards. I can let all those go. Gone.
This is the only one that matters. And I come full circle.
I should forgive… needs to go.
Instead, I read:
If I really wanted to, I could be willing to forgive, even though I don’t want to forgive but by doing so, I am allowing the universe to take care of the how.
And so here I will stay; slightly more at ease, and definitely less anxious at the bottom of my ocean, willing to be open to forgiveness, rather than forcing it upon myself.
And I will continue on to chapter 3.