Operation Forgiveness

Here I am on a Friday morning, sitting at home, reading articles on WebMD and Psychology Today about forgiveness. I’m not going crazy–that happened years ago. But forgiveness has always been such a foreign concept to me. Even though I grew up in the Catholic church and went to Catholic school until I was in middle school, forgiveness still remains pretty abstract to me.

I like to organize things. I like when my desk is tidy, when all my dishes are clean and put away. When I think about forgiveness, I don’t know where to put that. Where is the checklist for how to complete that task? And what’s more, I’ve been thinking about forgiveness of the self lately. How in the actual hell do you accomplish that?

Part of the reason I take such issue with most of what I read or hear about forgiveness is that it’s often accompanied by other, much more abstract phrases, like “let go” and “move on.” I have no place to put these phrases, either. No way to figure out if I have let go successfully. This isn’t the end of the movie Titanic. I’m not prying cold, dead hands off of a floating door.

So I think I have to make my own way. Forge my own path to self-forgiveness. One thing that is common in a lot of the articles is to pinpoint what you feel you’ve done wrong, so I’ve done that. I’ve written it down. As far as letting go and moving on are concerned? I’m going to substitute this: be kind to myself. Being kind to myself is something I’ve struggled with enormously. But I think it can be a way of moving on. Moving on from the way I used to behave in my body to a new way of behaving in my body.

Some of the things I need to do to be kind to myself won’t feel easy because, honestly, I’ve been acting like I hate myself. And maybe I’ve come to believe that I do. Being kind to myself–even just doing small things like drinking enough water, taking showers, putting on makeup, and going to the gym regularly–feels like I’m taking care of somebody who I have come to hate. And realizing that makes me kind of sad.

But today I resolve to drink enough water. I’m going to take a shower and go for a walk. Because if I don’t start now, I won’t ever start. And I have to live with myself for the rest of my life. I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand forgiveness if I don’t start trying. Today’s day one. Here goes nothing.


3 thoughts on “Operation Forgiveness

  1. I always liked the quote,”Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.” (Attributed to many, including Lily Tomlin) I hate the concept of moving on or getting over things as if it is a specific black and white thing. Everything is a process we are gradually working on. The more I recognize how the negative actions of myself or others created positive growth and change (despite/because of pain), the easier it is for me to make some peace with them. The harder step is reconciliation, which requires an admittance of mistakes, acceptance of their consequences, and a commitment to prevent those same hurts from happening again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s interesting that I just saw a book on this topic last night that I nearly bought (but didn’t), written by a former professor o’ mine: The Joy of Imperfection, by Enid Howarth and Jan Tras. Now that I’m recommending it, I feel I should buy it (used).

    But the reason I’m here is because I read your wonderful poem in AGNI Online (http://www.bu.edu/agni/poetry/online/2017/jenkins.html) and wanted to thank you for it. Now you have at least one fan.

    Move gently…


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