Why I Am Focusing on Forgiving This Year, Starting With Myself
This year my horoscope says I am coming out of a seven-year cycle of learning. That sounds about right, counting backward and seeing where I was seven years ago. I am also coming out of a twelve-year cycle of that was difficult for me. That's right, too.
This year, though, I have an unlimited amount of potential, by those very same horoscopes. The world is my oyster, they keep telling me. So why am I still working on myself?
Because I need to expand inwardly as well as outwardly. My rough past has left a lot of cracks and fault lines in my psyche, and while moving into new astrological spaces promises success for me in this coming cycle, I realize that if I do not work on myself first, I am only setting myself up for future failure if I do not create a sustainable foundation within me first.
What Does This Mean For Me?
Well, first off, I need to forgive myself for my mistakes. And I've made some doozies over the last 20 years or so. I realize that until I forgive myself I am only going to be running in circles, forgiving others that have done me ill, then hitting a reminder of my difficult past, and blaming them again, just to have to go through the difficult forgiveness process all over again.
How do I know this? Because I have been struggling with that exact cycle for nearly seven years now. Certainly long enough to realize that it's not working any longer.
But this time, I'm doing it differently. I'm going to take the time and forgive myself.
Why Forgive Yourself for What Others Have Done?
Why, indeed. After all, they are the ones to have hurt me, done me wrongs, injuries, and pain. They attacked me, often in sneaky ways that I didn't learn about until later. They were people that I loved or trusted, who I revealed my inner self to, and trusted. What did I do?
I used to wonder if I had "victim" tattooed in invisible ink on my forehead that only perpetrators could read. It seemed that no matter how strong and capable I appeared to be, someone wanted to hurt me. It felt like I was playing a losing game that my past kept drafting off of.
And then I got some amazing advice from a bus driver that was timely and rung deep. "When things are going the worst for you, it's just someone wishing you ill because you have everything they want."
I thought I knew who that was, and it created a new cycle of blaming and forgiving just to blame again.
Truth was, he was right, but I was not. The person that stood in my way was not someone else, it was me.
I was looking at my own worst enemy whenever I looked in the mirror. I judged myself based on what had happened to me, and my perception of what others had done along the way.
What I refused to see or could not see, so wrapped up in my own pain, were the driving forces behind what caused others to react to me, and me to them. Their own pain and their own perceptions were just as much contributing factors as my own. And to paraphrase a popular saying, I didn't bother walking in their shoes before I reacted.
But just admitting to a problem is only the first step, and that step needs to be followed through with a second step - accepting responsibility. I was aware of both of these and found that I increasingly applied blame to myself or my perpetrators, and as the blame shifted, it would increase, until it grew so heavy that it left me in a deep depression.
And then I got some more good advice. This time, that I needed to forgive myself.
So this year, I am on a path of wellness as well as success. It is a path of wellness, forgiveness, and self-discovery. A path of new beginnings and new perceptions.
I can look at my past as a nerve cluster of pain as I have in the past, or I can grow past the past and look at it all as a sometimes painful, sometimes enlightening learning experience.
I have learned that many people react in fear and pain, not rationally as we often suspect. Myself included. When we feel hurt by something, our rational brain shuts down and our animal brain wakes up, all fangs and claws and fur. We stop looking at things from someone else's perspective, and instead concentrate on our own pain, looking for someone to come along and give us a hug, a cup of something warm and a fuzzy blanket (or is that just me?).
But when both parties are looking for the same comfort and are feeling un-understood, often the problem compounds. We hold onto our pain and nurture it as it develops into anger, and then we feed that anger by thinking solely about how we were wronged rather than what led to the event or the other person's state of mind when it occurred.
By letting all of that go, and forgiving myself first, I create a place where I am ready to view things from someone else's angle and, if necessary, forgive them as well.
Erma lives and reads in New Mexico with a houseful of rescued fur babies and one little human. She travels monthly for work allowing time for introspection and long conversations with the windshield. When not traveling, her house is a mashup of mad science, art studio, game shop and library. It is a magical place where anything and everything creative is possible.
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