Nothing feels more pejorative than being told to forgive yourself when you don’t even know who the hell you are anymore since it seems that a lifetime of energy has been invested in defending yourself.
You have been strong enough to survive. You have fought the good fight. You have thwarted disappointment and championed justice.
You have made the money, paid the bills, and woke up at five in the morning for Pilates.
Let’s not even mention the narcissists you have had to put up with, your f*cked-up childhood, the trauma that happened in college, or the years it took and is still taking to realize your dream.
Actually, let’s mention that last one: Is there any other point to living than to hold fast to a vision of who you are becoming in every moment?
We all have a purpose and a path to that purpose. It looks and feels different for everyone.
The common truth for every human is that we all are figuring it out one moment at a time.
We build bridges to our futures by getting married, getting higher education, traveling the world, having children, innovating, and expressing ourselves through the many mediums of art. Conversely, we burn bridges by divorcing, giving up on our dreams, staying in one place for a long time, having and abandoning our children, being ridged, and judging everything that is different as wrong.
Sometimes that path to the bridge is long and winding. Let’s just say it is always long and winding with intermittent moments of magic.
That’s life. And the most important bridge we can build is forgiveness.
It is obvious to look outside of ourselves at other humans we can forgive, circumstances we can forgive, or even forgiving our higher power. But, the most profound forgiveness happens between our shadow and our light.
That which you don’t own up to will own your ass. Think of all the things you judge out of your reality. Are you judging men harshly for hurting you? Are you blaming women for the losses in your life? What hurts have turned into judgements? What disappointments have transformed into walls? What is blocking you from really living your destiny?
The obstacle is the path. Sometimes we have to release years of pent up rage and frustration through the cathartic act of burning old love letters, screaming “F*ck you” at the top of our lungs, or finding some safe container—like a therapist’s office or boxing gym—to access our body in a way that hits the reset button.
One of the greatest tools to access forgiveness and to start building the bridge to more possibility is to ask yourself, “What’s not wrong?” There are some lessons that are more difficult to integrate than others like divorce, chronic illness, or rejection. And if you stop to ask, “What’s not wrong?” then the lesson will reveal itself in its purest form.
Often times the strength to emerge as more of who you really are takes being broken open.
Forgiveness is an inside job. It takes resources such as faith, community, willingness, and acceptance to take what was broken, and rather than glue it back together, expand the space by bridging the broken pieces.
Every place there is resistance is an invitation to forgiveness.
Every person you dislike is provoking us to forgive.
Every stress that arises from the feeling of not having or being enough is stressing the importance of forgiveness.
Every time we want to shut down and hide is the time to start or keep building a bridge.
Now is always the best time to forgive.
Author: Rebekah McClaskey
Image: Michael Hull/Unsplash
Editor: Renée Picard