As the year is ending, I think it is important to think about relationships that have changed in the past year. The most important relationship I have learned about, is the one I have with myself. I have spent the year trying to grow and develop and really invest in myself. I am learning to be kind to myself, and not to have regrets or hold guilt when I make mistakes. So, the first person I need to forgive is myself.
Forgiveness for me is letting go of resentment that you hold towards another person for a wrongdoing, be that personal or to a loved one. In romantic relationships, it is easy to hold bitterness after they breakdown. After all, this person is supposed to love me unconditionally, this person has made plans for the future with me, this person shouldn’t hurt me. But the reality is, life isn’t a fairy tale and during most relationships there will be conflict. I can honestly say that I forgive my ex partners for any fighting, cheating or lies that have upset me in the past. I have let go of the things that have really hurt me, in order to build a future that is free.
Breakdown in romantic relationships will always leave scars and bruises, but holding resentment only hinders the process of moving forward. When I speak of forgiveness, I also think about people forgiving me. I am not a saint, I have many flaws. I have said and done things, terrible things that would have hurt people. So, I hope that I can also be forgiven for acting without thinking or allowing my actions to be led by my emotions. Dear ex-boyfriends, you are forgiven, and I hope you can forgive me too.
In relation to my dad having cancer, and eventually being taken by it, there is a lot of negative feelings there. I have blamed my dad, the doctors, myself, a ‘god’ (even though I’m not religious) for what happened to him and to my family. I’ve felt indignation for so many years which has dragged me into a spiral of self-pity. Its time for me to forgive my dad for smoking and drinking and not looking after himself, and for choosing alcohol over his children over the years. I also forgive the doctors for not noticing the brain tumour until it was too late. I forgive myself for not spending enough time with him, and for turning to alcohol to soothe me. If there is a god, he’s also forgiven.
I now believe that everything happens for a reason and my dad dying at the age of 65 had a reason. Some days I miss him so much I feel like I can’t breathe. But allowing myself to forgive for what happened will help me to grieve in a healthier way going forward.
I guess the pinnacle of forgiveness is empathy and compassion. Because essentially, we are all here, just trying to do our best to fumble through life. And to forgive doesn’t mean to forget, but can bring you an inner peace that you didn’t know existed.