In order for forgiveness to happen, something has to die. If you make a choice to forgive, you have to face into the pain. You simply have to hurt. – Brene Brown
Thirty Days of Forgiveness, as explained by my post on Oct. 27th, is no longer a practice in identifying people to forgive (including myself). It is now a practice in asking and answering these questions:
- What must die in order for me to forgive Them + Me? Expectations? Victimhood? Dreams/demands? Blame? The way it is supposed to be? The need to be right? Awesome stories of how I was wronged? Awesome stories of how I screwed up?
- If to forgive is to love, am I ready to love Them + Me? I mean really, there are some people/things we have no interest in loving—ever! Am I right? You know I’m right. I know I’m right.
- What pain must I face in order for me to forgive Them + Me? I’m sure the first question will fill in that blank easily enough.
- Am I willing to write publicly about it?
What must die?
The tragic illusion that I will get out of any relationship whatever I put into it. I hate it that I wasted so much time and anxiety believing this; waiting for the payoff for all my investments and sacrifices. People are not computers. We can’t just dial up a relationship result by using a formula or a recipe. We also can’t wring out a relationship like a sponge, hoping that all the stuff we put in will somehow come back out if we squeeze it the right way.
Can I love anyway?
That’s the idea; to love anyway without expecting or demanding anything in return. To give anyway. To do it free of keeping score or charging a bill for services rendered.
What pain must I face?
No one owes me anything simply because I loved, or because I supported or sacrificed, or because I forgave. Sometimes people just can’t or won’t love me back or love me the way I desire no matter how much effort I put in, and no one is obligated simply because I kept trying. Reciprocity by obligation isn’t a genuine expression of gratitude or love or devotion anyway.
Can I own this publicly?