Start forgiving yourself and others. We've all been hurt by our own decisions and by others. And while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go. Forgiveness is the remedy. It doesn't mean you're erasing the past or forgetting what happened. It means you're letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.I think it's interesting that this is the first one chosen since I've actually been working on forgiving myself. While I can repeatedly tell myself that I made choices based on the information I had at the time or that I should remember that we don't know what the morrow brings, I still am more than a little harsh with myself in many situations. Over the years I can look back and see mistakes that I made and I can't help but cringe about some of them. I agonize over how things might be if I'd made "better" decisions.
I had lunch with a friend not long ago and she pointed out that we really can't know the true outcome of the choices we make until we've already gone through it. Another friend pointed out that, no matter how well we think we know a situation (or a person) when we look at it from the outside, there are still missing pieces that our minds fill in with our own personality and our own outlook. Each step along the way helps us to fill in the blanks but, even when we are living the situation we will still not see the entire picture simply because it's unknowable (I think even the Vulcan mind meld wouldn't be able to give us the whole picture).
With these thoughts repeating in my head, I thought about how hard I've been on myself for many things. For moving to a new state only knowing one person, moving to another state only knowing two people, putting all my eggs into one basket and getting them all broken only to do it again, for staying too long, for not staying long enough, for too much time away from my kids, too much time with my kids, for pushing myself too hard to please others, to not push hard enough in defiance of others, to start, to quit, to cry, to laugh, to let go, to hold on... these are all things I've not forgiven myself for and I can see the hurt I've inflicted on my spirit because of it.
And I've held grudges against other people because of the hurt they caused me. I harbored animosity toward one woman for over ten years, the father of my son for about fifteen years, and a few other people for a shorter time. Eventually, I let go of the anger toward my Mom and stopped wishing harm to Bruce, but I see the cycle starting anew with other people. Not as rigid and unyielding as it used to be, but the cycle nonetheless.
So what do I do about it? I think the first step is to really look at the things I hold against myself and others. Expose them to the sunlight and see if they truly are as dark and vicious as I perceive them to be. If they are, reevaluate my path. If they are not, let them go and move forward. I know that won't be as simple as it sounds, and yet, we are in charge of what is simple and what is challenging and I will make it as I want it to be.