May 21, 2018

Action Letters, Acceptance

021 I Need To Ask Forgiveness

TLDR: Something inside of me knows I can’t be free if I can’t forgive – and yet….. I don’t. I look inside of myself and see a pile of rocks that feel infinitely heavy and far too hard to move. I stand there, frozen.
The daily headlines are calling us to think about what happens to all the people doing harm right now – especially those we consider friends/allies/neighbors. What do we do with them? Where do they go? Who can never come back to our community? What is the road back for those that should? How do you tell the difference?

If I am unable to imagine forgiving others – I cannot forgive myself (and vice versa). AND that little math equation holds the key to a huge part of my internalized oppression. I imagine that someone or some part of me is not worth forgiveness (love) and so I can’t fully believe in freedom.

Examples like Desmond Tutu’s truth and reconciliation work are a useful starting point for our learning – AND it can be hard to transpose the experiences of South Africa into our towns and neighborhoods. We can barely imagine what it means to experience the grief and violence those communities bore, let alone the power of forgiveness needed to move forward.

Part of our blockages on forgiveness are rooted in the ways we mis-learn forgiveness as kids, and replicate those habits as adults. We are often taught that we seek forgiveness for things we think we should be ashamed of – for our bad or unloveable parts. And we treat forgiveness as a way to cover them up – not to understand that no part of us or another person is unloveable. We flippantly say “sorry I was too loud” or “sorry I was too forward” or “sorry I’m not like what I/you think I/you should be”. We try to make-up for our own shame, to beg someone to accept us when we can’t accept ourselves.

We then become incapable of seeking forgiveness for the real pain and hurt we are causing. We avoid the people/parts of ourselves we most need to connect with. We lose the truth of what forgiveness means: to fully love every part of ourselves and others. Every. Single. Part.

This month, I’m asking myself – how do I not use “sorry” as a trick to hide my shame? And how do I find the courage to look at my actions and my behaviors in clear day light? How do I offer forgiveness to myself and others in a way that builds love and connection in my community? Start Fresh.

(Featured Photo Credit Thomas Cat; Flickr 2009)

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