I’ve decided to forego the introduction to Thirty Days of Forgiveness and cut to the chase for the rest of the practice. If you just got here you can check out the explanation on my Oct. 27th post.
What must die?
The expectation that those with whom I’ve shared a connection will allow me to be close to them. Nope. Some people are still going to hold me at arm’s length. They have every right to do that. Accept my invitations? Nope. Laugh at my jokes? Double nope. Even if I communicate my desire. Even if I continue showing up. It really doesn’t matter what I do; they still may not to respond to my offers of closer friendship. They don’t have to. They have every right to turn me down.
What else must die? The assumption that any of this means something. It doesn’t.
If to forgive is to love, am I ready to love?
People have a right to hold their own boundaries for their own reasons. People have a right to say No. They also have a right to say nothing. As hard as it may be, I don’t have to know why. If the situation was reversed it would probably irritate me to wonder why he/she can’t take a f*cking hint. The challenge then is to take the hint humbly and gracefully, without becoming sullen or resentful or internalizing it as an insult. This will be a breath-by-breath practice, I’m sure.
What pain must I face?
So many times I “played small” trying to make myself more likable. I tried to tone myself down, reign myself in, second-guess and edit who I am so that others would find me more tolerable, which meant more friendship-worthy. I sacrificed myself to be more lovable, perpetually adjusting and making-over like someone addicted to plastic surgery. When it didn’t work I chose to experience the rejection as confirmation of my tragic un-lovability.
And I didn’t realize this until I read Rising Strong, but when I would withdraw to lick my wounds I would also stonewall and reject. I thought this was a coping mechanism; a way to protect myself from further rejection but now I have to question whether or not this was a passive-aggressive form of punishment or retaliation. Did I secretly want to make the other person feel the way I secretly felt (alone and unwanted)? I hope not, but I can’t rule that out as a possibility.
Can I own this publicly?