I’ve been listening to Rick Hanson’s book ‘Resilience’ and the chapter on forgiveness, of others and of ourselves.
I realised when I was listening to the book that I have been carrying a weight around with me. Those whom I have not forgiven, and still feel some ill feeling towards. Grievances, being in victim status.
I suppose it will be a process but I’d like to make a start.
So here is my initial list.
Those I experienced pain around, and some of these really did behave in an unjust and unfair way towards me.
My mum – I did not experience as much safety around you that a child thrives on. Mum I forgive you, I know you did your best with what you knew. I appreciate the great side of being your daughter, being brought up in a beautiful house with a big garden that you bought for us, your sense of fun, love of aesthetics and of nature. Later on in life you have been very generous with me and supportive and I am glad to have you as my mum.
C, ex husband I entrusted myself and my young child into your hands believing you were kind wise and just. You were not and abused my trust and us. I know you were acting on your own conditioning, beliefs, pain, and I understand you did your best with what you knew at the time. I do appreciate that because of you, Tobie and I had the adventure of our lives in Africa, we were supported with food and shelter and you took care in that way. I learned not to mistake a tall handsome quiet man for a wise one!
Clients, there’s a few. And you are the ones that cause me most distress when I think of what I experienced as it was more recent. There’s Lord S, there’s Eric, and the the Giffnock and the Uddingston clients, and several others – all of whom did not pay me as agreed. You cheated me and abused my trust and used your big financial power over me. Some of you were pretty nasty about it too. It caused a lot of stress, upset and financial difficulty, and anger. I am in the process of forgiving you all, and understand that all of you acted in your own interests and that’s consistent with how you live and your values.
I wouldn’t want to be pals with you but I disentangle myself emotionally from you and give up the resentment and anger. I take my attention away from you. A full pardon is not possible quite yet but let me put these experiences to rest. And I see I learned that the world does not conform to my idea of it, a wake up call. And it helped me to take steps to protect myself in the future from such experiences by reducing the final payment to a very small one.
My dad – you did not protect me even though you saw how mum’s harshness towards me was unjust. You just walked away. Also I received very little love or attention, encouragement, affection or warmth from you growing up. You were not interested in me as a person and this effected my confidence. I forgive you, and see that you did your best, especially later in life in my 20s you showered love on Tobie, you were generous with me and kind. Earlier on I see that you were unhappy in a family environment. We think you may have been depressed for a long time and you hated confrontation. I feel compassion towards you and thank you for all the positives from having you as a dad. Appreciation for music, a sense of fairness, your humour.
Myself – I forgive myself for putting my child in danger by taking him to Africa, and for the pain he experienced in the hands of C. I forgive myself for not defending him. I forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made in business, for trusting all those who I just assumed were trustworthy. I see that in the past I did not look after myself and the child I was responsible for keeping safe at times. I see this was the result of my own conditioning, and I see that I do my best with what I knew at the time.
I’m not sure I feel an immediate emotional relief but I feel the willingness to let go, and this feels healthy. Generous. Wiping the slate clean and moving on.