I use FORGIVENESS a lot in my life. And, by use I mean practice. Because truly, it is not often that I am successful at forgiveness, but I attempt it regularly. (I am a mother after all.) Being able to forgive someone for something they did or said takes work and constitutes PURE BRAVERY in its truest form. It takes commitment and evolves in phases from anger to sadness, perhaps idling between the two for some time, culminating in the eventual recognition that you will be much lighter if in fact you can forgive.
Recognition that The Not Forgiving takes prisoners and those prisoners include you.
A couple years ago, my friends and I were all taken prisoner. A very dear friend of ours cheated on his wife. It was devastating for our entire group, but obviously mostly for his wife. And, to be honest, I didn't always get along with his wife that perfectly despite the fact that I get along with pretty much everyone. She is an extremely brilliant and successful woman, breaking the glass ceiling will full force, but in a way that encourages other women beside her to do the same -- which quite frankly from my experience in CORPORATE is rare. She seems a true modern day feminist -- qualities I admire greatly and the exact ones that instantly drew me to her when we met.
But, I discovered through our friendship, that she also could be quite curt and sharp with her words to the point of devastation. In fact, there had been times I had witnessed some harsh exchanges between this couple. These exchanges had on occasion prompted me to ask my dear friend if in fact he might some day leave his wife. In those instances, it was as if I had almost foreshadowed his affair or perhaps unknowingly sanctioned it.
So, when we learned of his cheating, you might think I kind of got it. And, on a cerebral level, perhaps I did. But my heart and brain often miscommunicate. And, there I found myself; completely rejecting my dear friend and offering whatever shelter I could to his wife. Over the next several months as the ordeal unfolded, we completely embraced her. I spent hours upon hours on the phone, checking in, listening, commiserating, and sticking pins in the virtual voodoo doll we had concocted of my dear friend -- and in all the worst places, the ones that REALLY WOULD HURT (yep, you got it). I spoke to my dear friend perhaps only once or twice, and even then, reluctantly.
Then, remarkably (at least to me), after many, many, many months, she took him back. She FORGAVE him. On her terms. She knew (and he knew) that certain parts of their lives needed drastic changes in order to move forward, in order to restore THE TRUST. And, so they did change and THE TRUST is restored.
I, on the other hand, have struggled with forgiving him. In the end, I realized that if she can forgive him so that they can continue to build a beautiful life together, then certainly I could too. The actual art of forgiveness is a topic for another post (like a super, duper really long one), but it begins with this very basic premise that I must remind myself of each day and suggest that you might too.
We are all just human. We all make mistakes. At the same time, we are both flawed and perfect. We are both thorns and roses. And we are all simply looking for someone to love and for someone to love us right back.
Truth and Love These are what we bring to the table when we open ourselves up to FORGIVENESS. And if you are lucky enough to be successful at forgiving, you will discover that FORGIVENESS ONCE SAVED THE WORLD and THAT WORLD WAS YOURS.
Embrace The Truth and give The Love today by forgiving someone who needs it from you. Perhaps, even, that someone is YOU.