September 18

FREEDOM MONTH: DAY 18: “Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another’s control… to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else’s nightmare.”― Lance Morrow

There are going to be people in our lives who have caused some kind of harm. We get to learn to let go of the feelings of anger and victimhood that arise when we are with those people or when they come up in our minds. The anger is going to kill us, but never harm them. An old saying is that “holding resentment is like me drinking poison and waiting for you to die.” Many of us may have taken action against these people in the past and now owe amends to them.

In my book, the best that I can do is accept that person and accept that what they did was the best they had in them at the time. We all have done things that have been deemed harmful by others. So we know that our intentions do not always match our actions.

There are people in my life that I just have to let go of and remain apart from. Their addiction(s) are harmful to me and their behaviors in the past have been as well. So I stay away. These are family members with whom I have had long time separation. There is no point. I made amends for my part in the dysfunction and let it all go.

One of the stories in the BB tells me to pray for that person for two weeks; for them to have all that I deem good and desirable in my life. So I have done that in the past. I used to work hard to “forgive” but I came to realize how arrogant that word is. I cannot forgive someone. That is not my super-power, nor do I believe it is in the provenance of anyone. Instead, I pray for their good life, etc. and let it go. If it comes up again, I repeat that process. But I have learned NOT to continue to hold out expectations that they are going to heal. I can only do the work of my own healing and let others be who they are. If I find it harmful, I simply let them go to have their life without me in it. Funny how seldom they even try to connect with me after a few weeks or even days. Let it go.

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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