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?

Love,

Rae

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How I Forgive Myself (Continually)….

Today, I had an amazing conversation with a sisterfriend I have been introduced to on twitter.  It came down to talking about forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we make.  For the wrong decisions and the consequences.  For the missteps we didn’t or couldn’t want [ to] see.  For the relationships.  For relationships that have imploded in our faces.  For the wasted time.

By the way, all of the things I’ve listed above, I’ve dealt with in some form and had to process over the last few years.  Over the years I’ve had to walk away from someone who I believe was the greatest love, I’ve had to watch another great love get married, I’ve watched them choose other women over me a few times over.

But it’s okay.

I’ve been mad at them but I’ve mostly been angry with myself. So now, it’s a campaign to forgive myself.

How?

  1. I realized most of the relationship decisions I’ve made are the result of chasing that great love.  Hoping I will find it.  I have seen it once for sure in my lifetime.  It seems I may have seen it thrice even based upon how things develop over the years.  But I had to forgive myself for dragging myself through all of the mayhem and allowing people to get over on me.  I allowed it.  So, forgiveness is granted.
  2. I decided/realized/am accepting (it’s a process) I am worth every bit of the love I desire and the love I give out. And the lack of someone acknowledging that value isn’t my fault.
  3. Value. I’m valuable.  Hello, my name is Rae and I matter. I am worthy and I am priceless.  It sounds like a stupid thing to say but go to your bathroom mirror and look yourself in the eye and say it five times and mean it.  What happens? Were you able to say it?  Do you believe it? Now go and say it again five more times.  You should believe it.  I wanted someone else to see my value (as in a man) and give that to me.  Only God can give that to me.  Only I can decide it’s really the truth.
  4. I decided to stop rescuing others and rescue myself.  I’m worthy of all the effort I put into other people (read men).  If he’s a fixer upper and not ready to commit, not able or willing to give me the things I need in a relationship, I’m walking away.
  5. I am turned all of the love I’ve given away and donated over the years back onto myself.  This one is key.  If you’re the type of person who’s always giving away your love, well, this is for you.  I’m donating to myself.   I’m writing my bucket list.  I’m not waiting.  Stop waiting for someone else to love you.  Give yourself the things you want.  Cross the things off your life list you most want to do.

I think forgiving myself is one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced.  It’s about not being ashamed of my choices, not being ashamed of my desires and the things I most want to do in life.  It’s about accepting all of the pieces of me so to speak.  How else am I am to share all of this with all of you?  Had I not fucked things up, so to speak, so royally along the way, I couldn’t share or teach.  I couldn’t relate.

And guess what, I’m still making mistakes.  That’s ok too.

Seriously, we have to get this.  If we don’t we remain in the SAME place for years.  Get past it.  Forgive yourself.  Also, by now if you’re reading my blog on a regular you know Jesus and I have a personal understanding.  So if He can forgive me and still want to relate to me, can’t I forgive myself and relate to me?  How about forgiving myself so I can realize I’m WORTHY of the life I keep thinking about, wishing for, praying for, working for.

Without forgiving myself, I’ll make the same mistakes over and over thinking I DESERVE what’s happening to me.  Hmmmm….

Take a minute.

Nope.

Putting myself in situations I think I deserve because I’m not worthy or because I’ve messed up so much.  Girl, bye. (talking to myself).

That the kind of man I want won’t want me.

That because I’ve got debt and credit blunders no one will want me.  You laugh, but Viola Davis admitted the same thing when she was dating her husband.

That my past will be an issue later.  Well, you know what?  If I forgive myself and have evolved into a better person, then why should I be afraid?

Y’all it’s deep.  We need to really get a hold of this issue.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t forgive others.  We should.  But a lot of times we’re mad at them and our self-anger gets projected to them when mostly we’re mad at ourselves for letting someone get over on us, hurt us you know?

Or at least I know that’s been me.  So now, I can just admit it when I’ve royally fucked up.  I try to make amends where and when I can.  I then may have to be upset for a while and that’s fine but I’m not going to sit around and punish myself. Listen, I have seen some of these men negroes I’ve dated forgive themselves for all of the mayhem and havoc they have caused in lives of others…why can’t I?

Why can’t you?

You can.  I can.  We will.
Love you,

Rae

To Have & To Hold: Second Chances or Hell No?

I’m the kind of girl who tends to see people as they can and could be.  I see their potential.  Their good qualities.  I see the hurt.  I’m looking often to understand people and why they do the things they do.  I also am a nurturer.  Somewhat of a rescuer and as my good friend Rodd Klever and two other friends have told me recently that…..

I’m soft.

*insert laughter here.  No seriously.  It’s ok to laugh.

And you know what?  They’re right.

I am soft.  I can be hard core when it’s time.  I can be out right mean even.  But for the most part, I’m the princess of second chances.

Or at least I was.

Maybe I still am.  I think people deserve second chances in SOME …read it again SOME situations.  I can’t claim and holler all of this business about forgiveness and not include the option of redemption.

But I want to talk about second chances, forgiveness, reconciliation and redemption and what it means.

If someone offends me, betrays me, lies to me or breaks my trust, it is critical for me to forgive myself.  Mostly because I need to face the fact I made certain choices that led me to have this person in my life. This in itself is a whole ‘nother blog post or series. Point is I need to forgive them.  It’s necessary.  The quicker it can happen the better.

But should I reconcile with them?  Are they supposed to remain in my life?  I don’t have a definitive answer on this.

Over the years, I’ve seen a few things in my time.  The most recent relationship implosion, which you can read about here, made some of the other offenses that have occurred over the years look like poppycock.  Yes, I said poppycock.

Seriously, it’s like Jill’s song “Rolling Hills”:

Intuition’s something sweet (well)
Let you know what you know, let you find before you seek (well)
Spirit of discernment, pray for it everyday (well)
Let you know who should go and who you should let stay (well)

I just sort of know.  In my corner of the world, that means that’s the Holy Spirit and discernment.  For others it could be called something else.  I know from where my help cometh though.

Brass tax:

Forgive all

Reconcile with most if you can

Redeem few

I think that’s pretty much my new rule.  My mother is the Queen of “Letting Go,” as she likes to say. She passed it down to me.  So I can let go.  I can let go of people and situations.  I have no issue with it.  Often, I hang on to people longer because of this tendency.  I don’t want to let go of a relationship (friend, potential life mate) if I can make it work.

The problem most of the time is those last six words in the previous sentence…if I can make it work.  If I am the only one trying to make it work, then the relationship is always at a disadvantage.  If I’m the only person setting up meetings and get togethers and scheduling time alone or asking to see someone else, then ummm, it’s a no go.

I’m not doing it anymore.  I’m not in that business.

Mostly because I’m soft and soft people have to protect themselves so they can still have the capacity to love and be open.  I’m not trying to be stretched out all the damn time and can’t do what I’m supposed to do or love who I need to love because some jackass bruised my heart.  Then what good am I?  Time is more precious these days.  I have less of it than I did ten years ago.  And unless God is going to tack on some time to my life (He’s held time over before for folks…) then I need to recognize what’s going on around me and make it do what it do.

I also tend to look at motive and why someone has done something.  I want to know.  And really, some shit is just wrong.  When a person knows it, they still do it, and they can look me in my face and attempt to justify it, then we have stale mate and I can’t redeem that either.

These days, second chances are alive and well – they are just fewer.  The main ingredient I need to see is someone who has worked on themselves and made an effort to make changes.  If we are still at a stale mate and there’s no change and the person wants another chance, then I have to leave the situation where it is.

Guess what?  It’s ok.  Everyone involved will be ok.

By the way, I am not immune to this policy.  If I were to offend someone and wanted another chance, depending on the offense I would not be mad if they chose not to deal with me.  I may be hurt and I may attempt to reconcile a few times when that person is important to me and I love them, but sometimes, things can’t be fixed.

Again, forgiveness is always on the table.  Always. Always.

I will also say this, there are a few people I have had to let go in my time…and it hurt me to my core.  I wanted to have them in my life.  I loved and adored them.  They all that and then some.  Mind you, there have been lovers and friends.  This isn’t all about romantic relationships.  To this day, I still think about these folks.  I pray for them and wonder how they are.  Sometimes I want to talk with them.  Then I remember the depth of what happened and it makes me re-think that.  The only thing I can do is wish them well. So don’t think I don’t have regrets about having to do it.  I do, but I am much more willing to live with the regret of it all than being hurt or the threat of being hurt.

Just a thought this Saturday morning into the afternoon ….

Thinking of all of you.

Love,

Rae