Forgive and (maybe forget)…but move on

Life is interesting.  A simple,  blasé thought perhaps, but true.  Life and the meaning of life is so different depending on where you find yourself on this so-called journey.  Is life about finding the “why am I here?” answer.  Is life about just having fun?  Is life about suffering so that you can live in a wonderful afterlife?  There are many schools of thought.  In the quest to figure out what life is about, I have been introduced to two specific types of people and I have been incredibly lucky to have met both types:  help you and hurt you.  Both of them have provided me with life changing experiences.

Through years of living (lucky me) and having my life journey cross the paths of others, I have learned, I have taught, I have lived.  I have had the pleasure and honour of meeting people that have helped me move forward in a happy direction.  I have also had the displeasure of meeting those that used me, abused me, and discarded me like a piece of refuse.  I am truly grateful to have met both.  Why?

There were those who appreciated me and helped me.  They showed me that there are true “givers” in the world.  These individuals taught me that kindness exists.  There are people willing to unconditionally assist you and help you grow.  There is no need for paybacks or “owe-sies”.  It’s about being a kind human, with feelings of love for their fellow man. A desire to let others grow.

Then there were the selfish folk.  Those who pretended to be there for me, but were really trying to figure out how I could help them out and make their lives better.  It usually ended with me being shocked, injured, scarred, and with a feeling of great injustice.  Lies, accusations, leaving me feeling worthless, dejected, lonely, unloved.   My extreme hatred of them negatively affected me, both physically and emotionally.  Why would I be grateful to these dregs of society?  They taught me to love.  Crazy?  Maybe, but I became a happier person when I learned to forgive and move on with living my joyful life.

Forgiveness…sounds simple but is oftentimes so hard to actually fulfill.  Forgiveness is not about condoning bad behaviour.  Forgiveness is about letting go of the anger and the hate you live with.  Think about it this way, you are hurt and angry and cannot believe that someone you trusted would hurt you.  You hate them and want to ensure that they suffer as you did.  You obsess about it.  How do these spiteful, vengeful thoughts actually hurt them?  Do they care that you are hurting?  No.  Do they feel any of your pain?  No.  Who is actually hurting?  You.  You are holding venom inside you and only damaging yourself.  The ones who betrayed you don’t even think about how they treated you and really couldn’t case less about how you feel or what you think about them.  They used you and then removed you from their lives.  In forgiveness, you are actually freeing yourself.  You are going to let bygones be bygones and go on to live a happier life.  If anything, these transgressors will probably be even more upset to learn that you are happy and are not affected in any way by past incidents.  That is the “giving” part of forgiveness.  You are “giving” yourself freedom; to love, to trust, to find joy, and your own peace of mind.

Those that rejected me were there to teach me that I did not need their approval or love to exist in a happy life.  Loving myself was and is most important.  Letting their misdeeds go so that they didn’t affect me emotionally was critical to my future happiness.  Forgive and forget?  I would forgive.  The forgetting was not something that I would or could easily do.   I truly believed it was important to remember past misdeeds so that in future I wouldn’t fall into the same circumstance …a.k.a. “Life Lesson”.

Thank you to those wonderful people in my life, past and present, who have been there for me when I didn’t have the strength to live by own convictions and beliefs.  You held my hand and guided me out of the muck of negativity that was sucking me in.  You brought me to the surface and breathed new life into my soul.  Words really cannot express my gratitude for having you in my life.

Thank you to the leaches and the soul suckers who made my life miserable.  Your thoughtlessness and selfishness taught me that I am worthy of love from others and especially from myself.  You made me work harder to live my life in the polar opposite way that you live your life.  Thankfully, your kind has disappeared from my life and I am surrounded by beautiful spirits who appreciate goodness, kindness, happiness, and a joie to vivre.  Truly, without my trials and tribulations that you exposed me to, I would not be living the great life that I now live

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya Angelou

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” ~C.S Lewis


To tell you the truth…

As usual I had quite a busy weekend.  Lots of hanging out time with family and friends.  It was…mostly…quite enjoyable.  However, a surprise party turned into an emotional collapse and then I had heard of another event that caused someone close to me grief.  What is it about little white lies?  When is it ok to NOT tell the truth?

Every parent teaches their child that lying is abhorrent.  You must never, ever, ever lie.  Then you go shopping with mom and you see a man with a cane and no leg.  “Mom look!  That man only has one leg!”  The child, innocently pointing and exclaiming this at the top of their lungs.  Everyone looks.  The parent is mortified.  The man with one leg…well, he has probably heard this from other children and is mostly unaffected.  Well, in the old days, that would lead to a good beating from parent to child.  Ouch!  Why?  The child told the truth right?  Now, try to explain to this child why telling the truth in this particular instance is bad.  Hmmm, kind of hard. Parents usually fall back on how badly that person is going to feel if you point out that there is something different about them.

Ok, now the child gets older and starts to learn more and more about the good lies and the bad lies.  Bad lies hurt people and good lies don’t right?  Well, not necessarily.  Sometimes telling the truth might actually help a person see some of their shortcomings.  Have you ever watched those reality shows on tv where a person sings their heart out because they have been told by everyone they love that their voice and singing is “beautiful”?  Lying didn’t really help that person did it.  Not only are they shocked and embarrased, but hearing the truth hurts more than the untruths they heard all their lives.

Surprise parties…hmmm, another tricky one.  Well, it’s a surprise so you aren’t allowed to the tell the person that there is a surprise party being planned for them.  Now, what if the person really despises surprises?  Yes, there are some people who really dislike them.  Those invited and those throwing the party are doing it to give the person a happy … well …surprise!  My most memorable backfiring of a surprise was my parent’s 25th anniversary party.  Just us kids were present.  SURPRISE!  And what did my parents do?  They turned around and went home.  Yup…cross my heart..they really did.  Why?  Because they don’t like surprises. It’s an ambush to them.  (Their 50th anniversary is coming up this year and believe me…I am making sure there ain’t no “ambush” this year). 

Then there are the non-lies.  You know, where you know something, but you aren’t allowed to tell because it’s up to another person to actually be the first to announce it.  A good example is a happy couple finds out they are going to have a child.  Well, you find out but you can’t tell anyone because that is their news to tell.  So, why would someone get mad at you for knowing first and not telling?  It’s not your place to say right? 

So, to tell the truth…or not.  That is quite the question and the answers vary.  I have found that given certain situations, lying is acceptable, while in others, it is not.  How do you know whether to tell the truth or not?  Again, a tough question.  How well do you know the person?  Does this person trust you?  Will the recipient’s life be drastically changed in a negative way if you tell them the truth?  Will your conscience be clear after telling the truth.  (Broccoli in your teeth…totally would tell the truth!)

In the end, I have found that my guidance to truth or lie is this:  If the nugget of information I am going to share with this person will only create a hugely negative effect on their lives then I withhold the truth.  If I think that their lives will benefit from my “truth” then I share what information I have.  Telling truths in kindness is what I believe to be best.

To tell the truth, telling the truth is usually the best way to go.  And that’s the truth.