I had originally decided to write about forgetfulness today however this ‘forgiveness’ word keeps popping into my head as well. I guess we’ve heard the saying “Forgive and Forget” often enough to link the two words together however in my opinion, the two don’t really belong together.
Forgiveness is something you do for yourself.
Forgetting is something your mind does to you when you least expect it! 😉
Let’s start with forgiveness. In the case of many people it is something that can be talked about but it is difficult to actually do. And yes, forgiveness is hard work. It’s not a matter of saying to someone “I forgive you” and then going on your merry way through life. Unless you have actually forgiven the person, the feelings associated with what that person has done to you will continue to resurface. Unless you replace those feelings of anger, resentment, fear or disgust with feelings such as compassion and empathy they will sit below the surface and fester.
We know what infections do to the body. They make us sick and they need to be treated.
If a boil erupts, it is treated. If an infection is in your blood stream it is hit with antibiotics.
Put simply, when you refuse to forgive a person, you will become sick. It infects your entire being and may manifest in physical symptoms.
As with anything, the longer something is left, the harder it is to heal.
Welcome to my world. I’ve been there and done that.
And then I realised that I needed to forgive because I wasn’t allowing myself to move on. It took 18 years to forgive my ex for the pain and suffering he caused my children and myself. And then one day I woke up and realised that by hanging on to my resentment and anger, the only person I was hurting was myself. He didn’t care. As far as he was concerned, he’d done absolutely nothing wrong. That’s when I realised it was his flaw to deal with and not mine. By beating myself up, I wasn’t achieving anything.
Then the day came that I had to be in the same room with him once more and I saw him for the flawed individual that he is and felt nothing. There was no anger. There was no resentment. There was only sympathy.
Recently, something occurred at work. When it happened I was livid. I felt like I had been physically wounded. I felt betrayed. It’s amazing really how many emotions you can run through in the space of five minutes prior to speaking to the person who has just wounded you. But I sat quietly and listened to her explanation and apology and realised that she really didn’t mean to hurt me and that her actions were well-intentioned (if misdirected). Whilst I am still upset about the circumstances that caused her to do this, I forgave her.
In writing this, I am not attempting to set myself up as a paragon of virtue because I certainly ain’t that. I am as deeply flawed as those I have had to forgive.
Last night I was reading the current Australian Women’s Weekly in which a courageous and beautiful woman spoke about her forgiveness for the man who murdered her son in front of her. She will never forget what she saw (or what she lost) but she understood that her ex was flawed and she forgave him for acting in a way that (whilst abhorrent) possibly made sense to him at the time (he suffered a mental illness).
What I have learned about forgiveness is that once you forgive that person, they hold no power over your life. When you fail to forgive, you are allowing that person control. You may not intend it, but you are allowing them a bit of power over you.
Forgiveness really is important in life in order for us to be well – both physically and mentally. When we forgive, we can move forward.
Now to the forgetting part. I’m sorry – that ain’t gonna happen.
I remember clearly the reasons I needed to forgive my ex. I remember clearly the circumstances that led to the hurt by another person at work. That whole ‘forgive and forget’ thing is a fallacy. I haven’t forgotten what caused the pain but I have let go of allowing it any power over my life.
However, the way my memory is these days, it probably won’t be long until I forget it all anyway.
I am finding it deeply frustrating that parts of my memory appear to be missing. The other day, the GG and I were discussing the exploits of the First Born when she was in high school. I remember some of it but when the GG asked if I remembered another incident, I had no recollection of that whatsoever. Last night I was chatting with my mother on the phone and she mentioned a gift I had given her a few years previously. I wracked my brains and couldn’t remember what she was talking about.
I am forgetting words. I know the meaning of them and sometimes I can even see the thing in my head that I want to write or talk about but I can’t remember what it is. That scares me.
I laugh when people ask me to remind them of things.
I function each day at work with a diary, post it notes and reminders in my Outlook calendar.
This memory loss and forgetfulness thing is really getting me down.
I am praying it is only temporary.
I’ve been reading this awesome book written by an Australian woman, Debra Vinecombe. It is called “Menopause. Women tell their stories”. I am laughing along with the women who have contributed stories and then crying in the next sentence. I am reading about myself in so many instances.
She has included a piece of prose in there that I literally laughed out loud when I first read it. I then took the book to work and read it to all the menopausal (and post-menopausal) women in my building. Well all laughed…… and empathised.
Four women of a certain age and menopausal status discuss matters of the utmost importance over lunch
What amazes is not that our conversation is peppered with thingys, thingamejigs,
whatshisnames, whoziwhatsits and whatyoumacallits
but that we all know we’re talking about,
the compromising position they were in at the time,
with whom, and the names of all those implicated.
And we’d tell you too – every detail,
right down to the size and shape of their thingamabobs –
if only our blankety-blank, dooverlackie memories
you know….what’s that word? Bad.
– Louise Nicholas-