Forgive And Live In Peace
There is a definite dark side to my relationship with my father - one that has caused depression, much self-reflection and growth. I had to make a choice. I could let this negative aspect of my past define me and use it to excuse my negative behaviors and continue to let it affect me in these counterproductive and harmful ways, or I can survive. I can not only survive, but I can thrive and I can inspire! I can heal.
I choose to forgive. Why? Because in order for me to be the best parent I can be to my two very important children, I cannot let anything hold me back from being the best version of myself. I forgive for my children and for myself and yes - for him too. Forgiveness is mutually beneficial. Forgiveness is an essential ingredient to self-care. In order for me to be a good parent, a good friend, a good daughter, a good employee, a good ANYTHING - I must forgive.
A lot of people get stuck on this notion that forgiveness isn't deserved. I feel that everyone deserves forgiveness because I also want to be forgiven. Don't you? Forgiveness is an extension of Love and a key to Freedom. When we forgive, we free ourselves and the other person. When we hold onto regret and bitterness towards ourselves and others, we hold back in life and we build walls so that we only see glimpses of love.
My father is no longer here in the physical world, so I cannot build on the relationship in the traditional sense, but I can choose to remember and cherish the good memories - because there definitely were some. I remember what he used to call me (chickadee) and how he made me feel very loved. He taught me that family is very important and to always hold on to them, no matter what. By remembering the positive, I can grow from the love I remember - instead of allowing the negative emotions that are associated with an unwillingness to forgive to continue to infect every part of my life.
I post a lot on my Facebook page, Finding The Silver Lining, about forgiveness and I sometimes get confused and angry comments about it. I hope this blog helps clarify where I am coming from when I post about forgiveness, compassion and understanding. I also hope that my experiences and the way I deal with them will inspire healing in others.
How can we begin to heal? We begin to heal when we learn to have compassion understanding towards ourselves and towards others. We educate ourselves by reading spiritual and self-help books. We listen to Motivational Speakers and interact with people we know who are forgiving and generally positive people. We think thoughts of Love and let go of fear based beliefs. This is how we heal.
The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz was a very influential book in helping me learn how to heal and put life into perspective. I learned why nobody is perfect and why I shouldn’t take other’s behavior towards me personally. It helped me find my understanding and compassion. This was amazingly freeing for me and I felt at that point I could actually begin to start really living and free myself from the burden of being unforgiving and holding people (mostly myself) captive (in my mind) for their mistakes. There are many helpful books that that can give us the tools we need to begin to heal.
Regardless of the challenges and hurt that were associated with my relationship with my father, through educating myself with reading and interactions with people, I have learned and come to a place in my life where I can be grateful and at peace. My hope is that you will find this place as well.
Please feel free to comment with your own experience with forgiveness or any questions you may have.