Forgiving myself, again

How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself.

–Publilius Syrus
(http://www.zentactics.com/forgiveness-quotes.html

I thought about self-forgiveness today, on my way home from the nephrologist.  In my life, self-forgiveness has come in stages.  I remembered this today, when I visited the doctor.  She was full of good news — the result of this month’s lab tests was excellent, and all my numbers were within limits, although some were on the ragged edge of high or low. Continue reading

Let Happiness be the Focus

From Abraham-Hicks, July 3, 2013:

You cannot have a happy ending to an unhappy journey.

 —Abraham

 Excerpted from the workshop in Atlanta, GA on September 13, 1997

Such a simple statement, and yet the whole happy journey/happy ending dynamic seems often to be far beyond our reach.  We are taught from the time we are young that to suffer is a good thing; that it builds character, shows strength, proves selflessness.  We may receive this training from our parents, who likely learned those lessons from their parents.  We may be taught to suffer in the context of our faith — the Christian gospel outlines this in the final Beatitude, from the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Continue reading

Clarity begins at home

Please excuse the cutesy title — I couldn’t resist.  Today’s Four Agreements card, by Don Miguel Ruiz, comes from that familiar agreement, Don’t Make Assumptions.  Seems I’m in this agreement a lot.  The card reads as follows:

Communicate with Clarity

Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.  If all humans would communicate with impeccability of the word, all of our relationships would change.  There would be no wars, no violence, no misunderstandings.

Continue reading

Doing My Best

I remember a conversation with a friend, years ago, about our respective families, and the way we were raised.  At the time, I was very depressed, feeling unloved and unlovable, and I’m afraid some of my descriptions of growing up got pretty sharp.  After one such remark, my friend looked at me, and said something that has stuck with me, ever since.  “You know, your parents were doing the best they could at that time.”  I shot forth a couple of arguments about being misunderstood, and about how surely they must have been able to do better than that.  “No,” said my friend, “they did the best they could at that time. No why nots… no but theys…. the very best they could do.”

I think at the time I rolled my eyes and scoffed a little, but I have had years to think about this, and about the Agreement, Always Do Your Best, (from The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.)  For the longest time, this was a sort of  “So what?” idea for me.  My parents expected perfection, I did my best to be perfect.  My parents thought I was an out-of-control 22-year-old — I did my best to be a perfect out-of-control 22-year-old, as well.  I tried so hard to make them happy.  How could anyone say that they had done their best, when I was so unhappy?

The idea of doing my best has been slippery for me most of my life.  It kind of goes along with the thought that, just because something is difficult, that makes it bad (well, no, it doesn’t.  But I didn’t know that then.)  I was doing my best, sort of.  Not about my health, (marriage, job, family, life in general,) but I was still doing my best.  What a joke.  And I lived like that for a very long time.  If my marriage was failing, I found someone to cheat with, so that I wouldn’t be left alone when it ended.  I didn’t do anything much about trying to save the marriage — my feeling was, if you think you are going to give up on ME, well, I’m going to give up on you first.  No counseling in the first two divorces, no honest talking about it in any of them.  No, and this is just one example — I wasn’t doing my best at anything.  Passive-aggressive much, anyone?

My understanding of doing the best has changed now, and with it my understanding of my parents’ best, and my own best during those divorces.  My parents did just exactly what they could do at that time.  Never any less.  And that includes some of the bonehead stuff that happened in our family — how can your best be better if you don’t know any better?  And if I was unhappy, that was something I needed to face and set free.  And I did my best, during those years of divorce — I didn’t do the best thing that could have been done, nor did I try.  (And I’ve forgiven myself for that.)  But trying to, and doing the best thing that could be done were 100%, totally, completely, absolutely out of my reach then, so I did the best I could.  This understanding brings with it a lifting of an immense guilt about my life, more than I knew I was carrying until it was gone.

I probably sound like I’m trying to rationalize doing the “wrong” thing.  Nope.  I bet there are people who live right here in my building who would sniff and scowl and pass judgment on me, as I did on my parents and so many other people.  But, what matters, and the only thing I can influence, is what I know about how I feel. And I know that, in the depths of those depressed days, I was doing the very best of which I was capable.  It wasn’t always great.  It wasn’t even always good.  But it was my best, and why would I ever expect that I could have done any more?

Two Days and Counting

Just a hair over 2 days to go!  Yay!!!!  I feel like a twelve-year-old kid in a candy store which, for a woman who is diabetic, is a big deal.  I said no to this trip to DisneyWorld so many times in the last few years, or didn’t even suggest it.  I am more sure now even than I was then that the crowds would have made me miserable — I was so entrenched in isolation, and my depression had such a hold on me — I was miserable during the vacations that didn’t involve crowds, much less any that would have.

I feel different now.  Thank everything holy, I came around before I was too sick to enjoy being alive.  I came around still well enough to go on vacation with my mom, to enjoy real quality time with her, which we missed all of those years.  I lived long enough to learn to love myself for who I was; to not have the “disease to please” any longer, that a fellow blogger told me about yesterday.

I feel good about my life, for the first time ever.  Nothing has changed — I still did all that wacko stuff; I can’t change the mistakes I’ve made; I can’t recoup my health.  What in the world right do I have to feel so happy?  Considering the way I’ve lived all my life, so scared and sad, and angry, I really should be at my most miserable right now.  Only a year ago, I hated myself and my life.

I have finally realized that there is not one thing I can do about anything that happened to me.  Not one darn thing.  Not even any of the REALLY awful stuff I did.  And do you know what?  I don’t care.  I don’t want to change anything.    Every time I acted out, was bad, deserved to be punished, has changed in a second to understandable behavior from a kid so freaked out.  I have punished myself for so long — no more.

I know I sound a little nutso — like feeling this good has got to be me fooling myself.  That is certainly possible.  This would not be the first, or the 100th time I’ve tricked myself.  But I don’t think so.  I ran through a mental list of some of the things I’ve regretted, and they don’t feel quite so awful anymore; in fact, while I know I did some dumb stuff, I didn’t do anything that deserved to be punished, by me, decades later.  If I want to feel guilty again, or worthless or afraid, I will have to screw up now — and that is something I’m way too old, finally, to do.  I hope!

I started talking about going to Disney World here, but I wound way off into other territory.  All of that was by way of saying that I can have fun, enjoy being in a crowd of people, not worry about or fear anything, and enjoy being in the moment.  A new way to be, for me.  Very nice.