Cultivating Forgiveness.February 8, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Posted in Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy) | 5 Comments
I have a pattern of self-destruction.
It usually starts when I do something that feels right at the time, but isn’t well thought through.
My Inner Critic steps up and starts in.
You REALLY think that was a good decision? What about all the people who were relying on you to do that Thing You Do? You are SO selfish.
And I see why it happens.
I wasn’t very thoughtful in my younger days. I trampled hearts of boyfriends because I never knew how to tell someone I didn’t really like them.
I left behind a path of used friends who were hurt by how I’d just go off to some new adventure, leaving them behind like they were nothing.
I wasn’t a BAD person, per se. I rarely had a falling out with someone. Whenever a friend was mad at me, I was confused. What? What happened?
I just wasn’t a thoughtful person.
And then I decided to call my cousin and invite her up to UMass in my freshman year. I had thoughts that it would be nice for her to see the place, yes. But mostly I wanted to show her around my awesome new life.
When I called, she told me she couldn’t, because she had attempted suicide a month prior. I rolled my eyes.
When she sent me a letter of how miserable she was, how she was sleeping with all these boys and couldn’t figure out how to juggle them, I rolled my eyes.
But then she was dead a month later.
For real. Gone.
All of a sudden, I realized how we’re all connected, as humans. And with aching clarity, I saw how maybe some thoughtfulness could have HELPED her.
I’ve spent the past 18 years making up for my thoughtlessness.
It’s only become a problem lately. Because I’m so focused on other people, and being thoughtful, and doing the right thing – all external stuff – that I’ve not really even considered what makes me happy.
Even worse, I’ve allowed myself to be held prisoner of my Inner Critic.
It’s turned me into an angry and inflexible person, who can’t handle new things and changes.
The person I am right now SCARES me.
Over the past few days, really sitting with my decision to leave my company, I’ve started to feel badly about the decision.
Not because it’s not good for me, mind you. But because of the mess I’d be leaving behind. All the work, the issues with the auditors, the clean up project which will take time and patience and effort to convince the damn auditors that they need to step back and chill the fuck out.
I feel badly for my boss, who must work nearly 80 hours a week, if not more.
I feel like I should have been more SOMETHING. More responsible. More clear about what I wanted, instead of being forced into the situation I am now.
And it struck me today.
I am not a forgiving person when it comes to me.
It’s why I can’t let go of my need to prove that I’m a good person. Because, deep down, I don’t believe it myself. I have to keep proving to MYSELF that I’m good, that I’m worthy of being loved.
It’s why I push Charlie Brown away when I’m upset, instead of allowing him to comfort me.
It’s why I feel this sadistic need to see all my decisions through to the bitter end; working harder and harder until I either burn out from the stress or fail completely.
It’s why I am a slave to the scale; getting disgusted with myself when I’m up a couple of pounds, panicking when I need to lose weight and can’t lose myself in a run.
It’s why I NEED my runs, to work myself harder than I would normally, push through the discomfort, do bigger and better things and go faster and run harder – it’s the only way I feel like I’ve actually accomplished something in my life.
I want to end this post with a dramatic thought.
Like: This cycle stops now. Today, I forgive.
Except. I don’t KNOW what forgiveness, real forgiveness, feels like.
I expect that I’m going to have to start small. And focus on it.
Maybe I can start with other people.
Like forgiving my boss for needing to blow off steam by blaming me for last week’s auditor mess.
Or forgiving myself for the extra pound I’m certain to have on my doctor’s scale tomorrow for the wine I’m going to indulge in tonight.
Or forgive the mess we’ve left this week, the laundry unfolded, the cofeepot I’ll have to actually wash tonight.
Or forgiving Charlie Brown when he doesn’t say the right thing when I need him to.
I need to work on cultivating forgiveness; spreading the seeds, starting small.
Because someday, somewhere, I’d really like to forgive myself.