Creating a healthier you through emotional wellness
“Someone must risk returning injury with kindness or hostility will never turn to good will.” Lao-Tzu
If the World Health Organization states the health is not just the absence of disease but the presence of physical, nutritional and emotional, mental, social wellness, then most of us could use an adjustment in the latter. Including me.
In the years since my late husband’s passing, the ripple effect has been substantial. I have struggled to manage my emotions on many occasions and have discovered, along the way, that I have a knee-jerk reaction to stressful situations because I am anticipating the worst. This sometimes translates into not giving people the benefit of the doubt.
I have worked hard at solving the logistical problems that ensued, to what I believe to be the best possible outcome. Yet I found it challenging to work on myself. There were times I wanted to have conversations with Robert and others who were part of the fallout, and I couldn’t because they weren’t there.
In the past year, one such person has created much chaos in my world. For various reasons, there has never been an opportunity to smooth away the pain or even address it. There have been painful emails, along with much misunderstanding, fuelling a sad unraveling of a once happy relationship. It went like that for the majority of a year. Then, a chance encounter.
In an assuming store, in an unassuming way, there stood that person, who, for so much of the year, had been distant but very much present in a host of painful ways. That should have been my moment to say, “Please let’s move on. I can’t spend my precious energy fuelling this negativity with you. Let’s practice forgiveness.” Instead, I was overcome with a flood of negative emotions. I was shaking and, in truth, angry. I could feel the dam break. The year’s store of pain, came undone, despite my best intentions. I broke the rule. I played small and couldn’t move out of anger.
With a calm voice, anger rippling underneath it, I questioned why all those hurts? All the misunderstanding? The cutting off? What had brought all that about? I wanted to know. In my misguided thoughts, I suppose I thought knowing why would help me get over it, or even understand it.
As you might have guessed, there is no point trying to understand. The greater point, missed by me, was to forgive. I had a chance to extend it and I wasn’t ready. Now I have spent hours berating and questioning myself, replaying the tape in my mind. I am walking around with a stomach ache and can’t focus on anything nor sleep properly. All the negativity came flooding back. And that is the point. If I can’t practice forgiveness, I remain stuck in the ugliness of the past. I can’t move ahead. I can’t be my best self.
Now, all I want to do is say “I’m sorry.” I want to have another chance with this person to do it right. I want to move on and let this all flow away, like water. Not as a sign of weakness but rather of strength. It takes courage to face yourself and take responsibility for your part in whatever has been grievous. Forgiving is how we truly move on. It’s how we shift our energy from focussing on the conduct of others, to allowing ourselves to be with how we are feeling, to fully understand it.
I may never get the chance to say “I’m sorry.” That is unacceptable to me, however, maybe someone reading this today will accept that I am a person, complete with faults and weaknesses, who is trying to shine in her brightest light. I don’t get it right every time. I make mistakes. But, I am a peaceful, content woman doing her best to live by her moral compass, which is strong and right. I am trying to make a difference.
If you have been hurt, by me, or someone else, why don’t we take this moment to ask and offer forgiveness? Why don’t we take this moment to set the crooked path straight? Any hurts that have happened are already in the past and we can’t live in the past, we must walk the future. I accept my part. I take responsibility for my behaviour. And in the end, I end on love, no matter what.
PS. Please share your moment of forgiveness. Your story may just help someone else reach out and take that important step to emotional wellness through forgiveness.