Self Love and Forgiveness–A Resolution!
Well, it is, after all, the beginning of another year. A time when it seems appropriate and fitting (for some folks) to begin something new. I know it’s not the eve of the new year, but it is the beginning of the very first day of the best of your life. So, how’s that resolution you made going? Or has it…gone? It is the last day of January. You still have a few hours to recapture what you resolved, or maybe you’ve changed your mind.
Another chance. Another bright, new shiny “thing.” Is there always another…? Or is this all there is?
I was having a conversation with a colleague, and the question of resolutions came up. Is there a right and a wrong way to delve into your resolve? Who is the decider? Why are you interested in change? What changes do you want to experience? In which areas of your life? The perfect body (oh, the societal obsession with our bodies). Too fat, too thin, hair too curly, too straight…How about gratitude for the workings of the body you do have? Maybe your job or career is not fulfilling; your home is not the ideal; your kids are not behaving or performing the way you’d like them to; your spouse or significant other is not exciting, and you want adventure.So much discontent. If you’re single, perhaps it’s a relationship you seek… Forget Prince Charming. He does not exist, AND he’s NOT COMING. Get over it! Barbie has been taken. Besides, she’s also aging, and desperately hanging on to her youth! What a quandary! Maybe you just want to fall in love. Being in love is a good thing. Simply loving is even better.
How about beginning with the single most important person in your world – YOU.
In digging deeper, it became obvious to both of us that what seem to be needed is a huge heaping of self love, and that begins with forgiveness. All around there’s the evidence of the pain, the hurt, the agony, the anger, the stress. So I asked my colleague, what does “Self-love mean to you?” Here’s what I got: “strength, patience, confidence, vulnerability, beauty, support, sisterhood, discipline, rituals.”
“And forgiveness,” I asked? “Open mind, open heart, softness, humour, graciousness, awareness, growth, mirroring each other, blossoming, being witness to their dance.”
Wow! Those are some powerful words, which conjure up some intense introspection. For many people, forgiving others is liberation from anger and grievance that leads to a richer and happier life. There is an even deeper peace to be found through what might be the hardest act of all – self-forgiveness. A friend forgives another friend for gossiping about her. A husband/wife forgives him/her for lying about an intimate relationship with another man/woman. A parent forgives someone for murdering their child.
*Immaculee Ilibagiza’s family were murdered during the Rwandan Holocaust. Years later when she confronted the man responsible for the murder of her entire family, she said “I forgive you.” When she was asked “how could you do that?” she replied: “Forgiveness is all I have to offer.” The human capacity to forgive even the deepest wrongs is, indeed, awe-inspiring. So too, is our capacity to inflict pain, and the flip side of that is simply to love.
Philosophers, religious leaders and others have known for thousand of years, one of the basic tenets of humanity is to love others as we love ourselves. Which naturally leads to forgiving ourselves as we forgive others.
Forgiveness is not about condoning bad behavior. It’s not about pretending that something bad happened. It’s definitely not forgetting.
There are no simple answers. I believe forgiveness is an individual and very personal process. Forgiveness is about letting go of negative thoughts, bitterness, resentments. It’s about acknowledging the inner pain, and freeing ourselves in a way that allows us to heal, carry on and move forward.
Forgiveness is not easy. It is necessary for our peace of mind. It is not a quick-fix effort, nor is it for someone else. It takes work. That work is for you. It is for your survival – no, your thrival! As the year progresses, may we resolve to be mindful of how we treat ourselves. When we are mindful of me/we, we will be mindful of how we treat others.
Here’s to a Healthy, Healed and Happy Audacious New You!
I welcome your comments.
* (“Left to Tell – Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust” by Immaculee Ilibagiza with Steve Erwin – a Hay House publication)