The Not-So-Favorite F-Word

“Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.”  ~ Anne Lamott

I read the above quote earlier today and was blown away by its meaning.  Mostly because I, Rae, in all of my desire to be nice, appropriate and kind, it makes it even more difficult to forgive someone from time to time.  Anne Lamott, in all of her infinite wisdom also says that “Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back.”

Honestly, I want to hit back some days.  There are only a few people on that list.  Who even after the time has passed since the offense, actions, deception, etc where I still wouldn’t mind hitting back.  I’m human.  I try and work on it.  I find the less I try to forcefully let go, the better I feel.  In times past, I have forgiven with almost no remembrance of it having been a chore.  Like one day, I’m as angry as Bluto and seeing red and a week or two later, I’m all zen and peace like Mother Teresa.  I’ve written about the importance of forgiving myself and talked about it when I wrote about choosing (or not) to give someone a second chance.

I think the quote mostly hit me like a brick today because I’m coming upon my 38th year of life.  While I can’t be more excited – I really am!  I also often think about how differently things could have been done if I hadn’t dated a certain person (or several), hadn’t moved to certain places, had allowed others to remain out of my life and kicked some out much sooner.  During this month I become very reflective often to the tune of becoming relatively critical of myself.  But seeing that quote this morning made me stop and think about a few things.  It made me realize I need to stop the hope of having had that better past and start realizing now is the time I have, now can create the next moments, the better moments for tomorrow. 

It’s easier said than done.   Like I said, some days, I still want to hit back.  I’ve found the best thing I can do for myself is to let those people out of my life and allow for it to remain as such.

No one really likes to talk about forgiveness.  At least not most people I know.  It [seems] is much easier to hold onto whatever offense someone has committed and hold them responsible.  It seems much easier to continue to think about the past and wonder:  What if I hadn’t ________?  What if I would have ___________? 

Lous Smedes

So this month, one of the things I’ll be working on is abandoning hope of having had a ‘better’ past.  A better past would mean I wouldn’t have met all of you.  It would mean I would possibly miss out on all of the current and future goodness.  There’s no future in spending time on all of the days past.  While it’s good to have some reflection, it’s better to understand where you are and why you’re there.   In honor of that, I’ll be creating a list with items I want and expect to accomplish over the next gifted year of life.

What are your thoughts on the Anne Lamott quote?  Any words of wisdom on the F-word?




4 thoughts on “The Not-So-Favorite F-Word

  1. And yet, another introspective gut punch you’ve provided.

    Forgiveness is hard for me because I consistently am thinking about any and everything; even past offenses. I don’t mean to hold the thoughts against people, but I analyze all sides of an issue and doing so makes it hard to not want them to see something from my POV.

    But I’ve also had to learn that forgiveness really is about me, and not them. So, while I will always have my thoughts about a person/situation, the forgiveness releases me to move past whatever has kept me bound.

  2. Love this! I have a new code that I’ve adopted to help me. I simply lowered my expectations. I no longer expect people to treat me the same way that I treat them because it hurts too much when you realize the scale is too unbalanced. If they do great, their a keeper., if not long handled-spoon.

    It seems like people are becoming more and more selfish and less concerned about others. So I just try focus on me, how to prevent being caught up and not the transgression. I try to channel that negative energy into positivity.

  3. I think this is one of the best quotes on forgiveness I have ever read. Many times, when forgiveness is spoken of, it’s either from one of the two extremes: Eff them and whoever sides with them or simply forgive and love without any thought. I have struggled with forgiveness myself. I think I have finally grasped that forgiveness isn’t saying the offense is ok, but like you, I have had those days where I’ve done the up and down with it. But I’ve come to stop feeling bad about having some hesitancy to forgive. But I do know I’m writing this quote on a sticky note and putting it on my mirror. Great post!

    • Girl, that quote got me together. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself when I saw it yesterday – other than write.

      And I agree – most times it’s a heaven or hell perspective on forgiveness. I have been carrying that quote around with me since yesterday. Thinking about it and really not thinking backwards as much as I normally might. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!! I appreciate you.


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