Swallowing the Bitter Pill

I am not bad person. Never have I intentionally hurt others. Yet, unintentionally, through selfishness, dysfunction and compulsion I have deeply hurt some of the ones I have cared about most.

Graphically illustrated, that’s in line with the difference between murder and man slaughter. Maybe the latter crime is considered to be less, but a killer is still a killer whether deliberate or not. No matter what contributing factors there may have been, I am responsible for what I do.  Nothing can diminish that. Part of taking responsibility for my past actions is swallowing the bitter pill of knowing I’m guilty of the pain I caused, regardless of whether I did nor did not mean to cause the hurt.

Acceptance of the past is a big step in moving beyond it. The realization was critical in getting unstuck from the past.  Today I can look back and see the results of my actions while not beating myself up too badly about it. My self-disgust of my past used to be brutal. Today it is mostly scar tissue from healed wounds. That’s huge and a healthy move of self-forgiveness. I have learned it’s near impossible to forgive others when I can’t forgive myself.

I have learned that the person I have to ask for forgiveness from the most is: myself. You must love yourself. You have to forgive yourself, everyday, whenever you remember a shortcoming, a flaw; you have to tell yourself “That’s just fine”. You have to forgive yourself so much, until you don’t even see those things anymore. Because that’s what love is like. C. Joybell C.

Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person’s throat… Forgiveness does not create a relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established… Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. But should they finally confess and repent, you will discover a miracle in your own heart that allows you to reach out and begin to build between you a bridge of reconciliation… Forgiveness does not excuse anything… You may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you will realize that you have forgiven completely. W. Paul Young

Self-forgiveness is a long process of intentional erosion of guilt for a wrong I hold me responsible for. Much like receiving a reduced sentence in a court of law, to personally lighten my self-imposed retribution for a past transgression is when I begin to heal. I am grateful at this point in my life I have the ability to let go of most of the past and be largely alive in the present.

Forgiveness is the fragrance
that the violet sheds
on the heel that has crushed it.
Mark Twain