All Articles Tagged "forgiveness"
For all intents and purposes, I had a great childhood. There was always food on the table, I had nice clothes, and though I was spanked, I was never beaten. I took dance lessons as a little girl, always had books to read, and graduated sixth in my high school class.
I had an all-American, Middle-Class upbringing. I know that I was more fortunate than many.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I moved from childhood to adulthood unscathed.
My mother was 5 feet tall, weighed 102 pounds, and was nicknamed “Aunt Meanie” by my older cousins. They all knew not to cross my mother. She had a fun side and many people loved her. She had loyal girlfriends that remained close for more than forty years. She was also mentally ill, suffering from severe depression. I grew up on a diet of grudges fueled by her insomnia and addiction to nicotine.
My father had what I’d call a firecracker temper. He didn’t anger easily, and when he did, he’d blow up and it was over. My mother did not. Yes, she was capable of flying off the handle at a moment’s notice, but she had this slow burn about her, like hot coals. And just when you believed that something had been forgotten, she would bring it up again and hash through every painful detail of a perceived betrayal.
When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, there were many hours of conversation in the hospital about how terribly she had been treated during her life. She would tell me that she was good with her relationship with God and ready to go Meet Him. And moments later, she would bring up an old story, detailing who had wronged her and being clear that she was unable to forgive them.
Read more about forgiveness at YourTango.com
Welcome to 30 Days Of Love, our one-month initiative to bring you closer to the love you deserve just in time for Valentine’s Day. Today, we’re shining the spotlight on forgiveness — and its role in a fulfilling relationship.
Bernard Meltzer once said, “When you forgive, you in no way change the past — but you sure do change the future.” While forgiveness isn’t always easy, it’s an integral part of everyone’s lives; without it, it’s nearly impossible to live a productive, happy life. And without forgiveness in a relationship, it’s nearly impossible to have a healthy, growing partnership.
Here are some things — big and small — that you should forgive your partner for by Valentines Day.
1. Leaving the lights on. Yes, it’s annoying and it drives up the electric bill, but we all sometimes let it slip our minds. Plus, he might have just forgotten because he was on his way to snuggle with you.
2. Speaking of which, don’t get overly mad if he left the fridge open by accident. Close it and move on.
3. Spoiling the ending of Breaking Bad. You were going to find out the ending eventually.
4. Accidentally not introducing you as his or her partner. Yes, this can be frustrating to many people, but sometimes intros are awkward and proper “titles” don’t get said; it’s nothing to be too offended by.
5. The fight you had last week. This is a personal struggle for me, as I have a very difficult time forgetting recent hurtful words and tend to bring them up, which only progresses the argument further. Letting these things go allows the healing to begin.
6. Forgetting to call after he gets home from the bar.
7. Forgetting to call before bed, in general. Haven’t we all had that moment where sleeping “five minutes” just seems so appealing, and we were sure waking up to talk would be easy? But then, naturally, it was not.
8. Leaving the dishes in the sink. They’ll get cleaned tomorrow; it’s not worth fighting over.
9. Not making the bed. See #8.
Read more ways on how to forgive at YourTango.com
Being angry takes a lot of energy—energy you could be dedicating to your career ambitions, to your friendships, to your workout goals and so much more—so this year, take some of that energy back and forgive these 7 people.
With all of the problems in this world — along with the mistakes each of us make throughout our life — the need to forgive arises almost daily. However, forgiveness is often misunderstood an often not properly applied. So it’s a good idea to understand what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. It can bring you and those you loveto the light of a new day!
Conversely, a lack of this knowledge can hurt relationships in terrible ways. The symptoms of such hurt may take form in a wide variety of negative characteristics, most notably bitterness, envy, pride, and lust; though whatever symptom arises, it results in broken relationships. To stay away from such relational disaster, we must learn how to rightly forgive. Let’s take a look at what forgiveness is all about.
Forgiveness Does Not Excuse Behavior
This is an important point; especially when you want to forgive someone for a great injustice. We must realize that granting forgiveness does not mean that the injustice wasn’t grievous. When someone apologizes to you, have you ever responded, “It’s OK”? I know I have. That’s normal to say when you’re dealing with minor infractions. But when someone abuses, cheats, lies, steals, etc., these things are not simply “OK”, just because someone apologizes for them. In these situations, things may never be OK again between you and that individual… but you can still forgive, while knowing that what they did was wrong, and that it may bring consequences. This brings us to our next point.
Forgiveness Does Not Negate Consequences
Let’s say I lie to my wife, but then feel guilty and apologize for lying. While she may forgive me, it doesn’t mean that she trusts me. The natural consequence of my action is a loss of trust; therefore, for my wife to trust me again, I must earn her trust back. This has to do with justice, which can be pictured as an evenly balanced scale. So, if I broke trust, I must earn trust. If I was to break the law, I may still have to do the time for my crime, even though those I victimized may have forgiven me.
Read more at YourTango.com
If you’re anything like me and 99% of the people I know, you have an active imagination about how awesome you could be, if only… You were a lottery winner, thinner, in love, had your dream job, got divorced, became a parent, etc. We all have our stories about how there is one (or more) external factors to our happiness that we need to conquer, and then everything else will be simply amazing. As a matchmaker, I hear a lot of the following statements from singles who are looking for a loving relationship:
1. “Being in a relationship will motivate me to be more kind, forgiving, compromising, etc…”
Have you ever heard that expression, “wherever you go, there you are?” If you are unable to compromise (or only do so begrudgingly, holding on to resentment that you didn’t get things your way), guess what? Finding that “perfect person” doesn’t magically transform you. If anything, the vulnerability and intimacy that comes from a long-term, committed relationship only amplifies your emotions and insecurities. Relationships are amazing teachers for us, but what they reveal can only be addressed by us. If you are unkind, selfish or inflexible and you do manage to find someone who still chooses to commit to you, you will bring that same behavior into your relationship. The comedian Chris Rock has a joke warning women that when you meet a new man you are meeting his representative who says and does all the right things, but after awhile he goes bye-bye and the actual man appears. The same goes for all of us – you might be able to put certain behaviors in check when something is new, but eventually the real you will make an appearance, for the long run.
Read more at YourTango.com
Have you been caught cheating on your partner? Even if you are both working to move past the affair, are you having trouble moving past your own shame? If so, help is on the way.
In this video, divorce coach and YourTango Expert Marina Pearson says that infidelity can be overcome in a relationship. “Learning is growth,” she says. “We’re not perfect and the fact that you can learn from this experience is amazing, because that way you’ll get to learn more about you, improve on what you can do and actually, you can start to change and tweak things about yourself that ultimately you didn’t even know you could.” She shares even more advice on how to get over your guilt.
See more on YourTango.com.
DMX is the reason why sometimes you really don’t want to know all the sordid details behind the making of the art.
Seriously, anybody with the first two DMX albums already knew the man had problems. The prayers? The good angel/devil voice fluctuation he used to do? His obsession with pit bulls? I mean, we kind of always knew there was something ’bout X that was hurting. But he was also a good looking, bald-headed black man who could rap and liked to bark aggressively on tracks. Not to mention the bedroom scene from Belly put many women on his side. In the past, most of us took DMX as unbalanced, but in a fun way – sort of like John Malkovich. But now that the covers have been pulled back on Earl “DMX” Simmons the person – thanks to his various appearances on reality television – it kind of puts a damper on DMX the artist. He is no longer the black and hip-hop version of the misunderstood eccentric we once thought. Instead, he is just like a Gary Busey.
But I still have love for DMX and I definitely extend my deepest well-wishes to Earl Simmons.
Based off of Saturday’s episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life with Iyanla Vanzant, DMX certainly is embittered by his past and fearful of facing his own mistakes. But so was his son Xavier, who had been estranged from Simmons for a number of years. Despite father and son claiming that they desired a relationship with each other, both claimed anger and pointed fingers at each other for why their relationship didn’t work. Simmons said it was because his son was distant. Xavier, however, charged that his dad was a controlling womanizer, who made him feel “valueless and like nothing.” His intention on the show was to confront his father; to make him own up to what he did. But as Vanzant asked, and then what?
Vanzant challenged Xavier to search for the root of his father’s faults; to understand that Simmons is likely of “diseased mind and a wounded heart.” His breakthrough came when he realized that his own anger towards his father and about his upbringing was sending him down the same destructive road as Simmons. And his father’s behavior might not be intended, but rather a reflection of how Simmons too learned to love from past pain. Instead of meeting and confronting his father in anger, Vanzant advised Xavier to instead go into this meeting with an open and compassionate heart.
I have my questions about the platform in which Iyanla Vanzant chooses to dish her brand of self-help, mainly about how she tries to squeeze months of intensive counseling into only a few hours of taping, which makes for good self-help television, but maybe not for good therapy for those direct recipients of her counseling. And I definitely cringed at the sheer exploitative nature of the whole #SupportDMX hashtag, which she promoted periodically throughout the show. While a great use for fan engagement (i.e., marketing), what a horrible way to really show your support of DMX. I mean, sure there was some really nice well wishes and thoughtful advice given, but there was also a lot of gossip and jokes made at both DMX and his family’s expense. But I have to give her credit for the delivery of a very powerful message about what it truly means to show compassion.
Compassion isn’t just about having sympathy for someone’s circumstances, but rather an acknowledgment that the pain and suffering from such circumstances is not exclusive and is likely a shared experience by many. Therefore, when we extend leniency or even forgiveness towards others forgiveness, we are actually offering compassion to the vulnerable part of ourselves, which has also been wounded and scarred by similar pain. Right before I watched Saturday’s episode, I was throwing things around in my place. As usual, I waited until the last moment to file my taxes and as usual, one of the important documents I needed to file was missing. I thought I had it with all my other tax documents but it was not there. I had no idea where it was, so there I was, running around, frantic, tossing around papers and screaming about how this always happens. “Things just always get up and disappear,” I’m yelling to no one in particular. I’m so mad, I want to take this anger out on someone. The IRS for requiring that I file taxes; the document-maker for not making the paper harder to misplace; basically anybody or thing else but me. That’s the hard part about accepting responsibility. I had to admit to myself my place in not only mismanaging my important documents, but also waiting until the last minute to file. And I have to admit that all the similar judgments I have placed on others for similar infractions now land squarely at my own feet. Not only will I have to admit that I am wrong, but I might also have to admit that I am a hypocrite too. The weight of imperfections and faults can be a very heavy mental and emotional cross to bear at times, and it is very tempting to want to hide from the responsibility. But then you have to also have mercy on yourself. To understand that you are going to make mistakes and that’s okay. And sometimes, those mistakes will have consequences that you will have to deal with and that’s okay too. The best thing to do is not to harp on what was done (can’t change it anyway), but rather what needs to be done next. So I stopped throwing angry fits and tearing up my place; owned up to my mistake, forgave myself, and got some filing folders for next tax season.
It is a lonely place when you are embittered by mistakes in your life. And as the show progressed you could definitely see that father and son were becoming aware of that very fact. For Xavier, being compassionate enabled him to meet with his father, not only to confront him about his feelings, but also to listen to what his father had to say in response. Being open to possible criticism enabled Xavier to then go and have those same objective conversations with people in his life, for whom he might have been unconsciously treating as he had been treated by his father. In a very emotional part of the show, Simmons apologized to Xavier, saying, “I tried. Really sincerely tried. I’m sorry. I tried.” It was a really emotional scene, which I imagine took lots of courage for him to commit to. It was also the start of some healing on the part of Simmons. Unfortunately, he has yet to be able to garner the necessary compassion needed to forgive himself for his mistakes. And until he does, he will continue to make excuse after excuse and wallow in the pain of it all.
Our memories can be spotty, until it comes to how someone’s wronged us. That’s when people can develop a photographic-like memory; and not just remember what you did, but who was there and what you were all wearing where you standing and what you were eating. Scientific studies have proven that people tend to fixate more on negative experiences, that’s why when people hurt you you can remember things well. If you’re lucky, you might get an apology from the person who caused you pain; however, there are times when you feel like you are owed an apology that never comes. What happens then? What about when you cut that person out of your life and they pop back in as if they are ignorant to the pain they caused you?
The world is a lot smaller than we realize. It seems that almost every week you can run into someone in your past or someone who is connected to your past and it brings up all types of memories. For me, I love seeing people from my past. I try my best to keep “my name good in these streets,” and usually end on a good note with almost anyone who has crossed my path. However, there have been a few moments when running into someone, or seeing someone has brought back unpleasant feelings that led this normally talkative person to become extremely quiet.
I’ll be completely transparent with you at this moment, this is something that I’m dealing with now. I learned that a person I thought was a friend had bogusly used me. Her presence has been, in a sense, almost haunting me. Both of our professions have just recently intertwined and I’m seeing her a lot more than I had hoped.
I struggle with trying to figure out what’s the best way to handle the situation. Do I confront her? Do I ignore her? Just pretend that she doesn’t exist? What about when we both interact with mutual friends and I have to see her?
While weighing my options, I’ve realized that confronting her about how she hurt me isn’t going to accomplish anything. At the very least I’ll get that annoying, passive comment of : “Well, I’m sorry you feel hurt,” which I feel is a way that people absolve their own feelings and put the blame on you for being so weak to not let them get away from walking all over you. At the best I could get a sincere apology, but with my photographic memory of how I found out that our friendship was nothing but a sham will constantly play in my mind, and no real friendship can develop from that, because I will constantly be wondering if she’s faking or not (because she was extremely convincing when we were best friends).
For me, I had to put things in a way that would help me to let it go. First, I had to accept that ‘L.’ That friendship was a loss, and no matter how many times I replay what happened, and the times that I overlooked red flags is not going to propel me back in time as if I’m in a DeLorean and could change what happened.
Second, I had to remember that as perfectly that I can remember what she did to me, that there is someone undoubtedly remembering something that I did to them. As much as I would like to believe that “my name is good in these streets,” I know that I’m not perfect and that I have made bad decisions based off of emotion rather than logic and have conveniently forgotten about the hurt that I’ve caused others.
Finally, I had to learn that I have to get closure on my own. Closure is a luxury, not anything that is guaranteed to us. Holding on to something to get an apology later is only hurting yourself. Those moments of: “I just need to talk to him/her, and let them know how they hurt me. I feel like if I let them know then I’ll feel better.” Honestly, most of the time that backfires, because sometimes you don’t get the response that you were hoping for, and it makes you relive those feelings.
Now, I’m not an expert, but these are things that I remember when my ex-friend’s beautiful face pops back in my life, these things help me to accept the things that I cannot change, and develop the wisdom I need to know the difference. I’m not there yet, but I know I’ll soon be in a serene place.
Apologies are a luxury, so are new shoes. Talk Kendra Koger out of buying a new pair on her twitter @kkoger.
There’s a cliché saying, it’s something like, “You haven’t spoken to a true friend in a long time, but when you speak again it’s like no time has passed.” This became apparent after reconnecting with a woman that I’d stopped speaking to, about a year ago.
Shana, my friend’s name for this post, was a huge part of my life. We met during a teen poetry slam and spent the entire competition exchanging stories about our lives thus far. Warm and genuine, I was eager to forge a bond with someone so different than the drama prone girls I’d become accustomed to. Several years passed us by and we experienced the significant moments that companionships should have:
She’d been around my family and knew all of their names and ages.
We spent hours, at dinner tables, laughing at inside jokes and things we’d faced together.
We argued about things in the news and other social issues.
For almost a decade we stood in audiences, cheering for one another, and comforted one another when things became difficult.
Two years ago, someone inquired about Shana after meeting her at an event we’d both attended. The inquirer asked surface questions: Age? Birthday? From? All questions that I knew the answer to. They started to dig a bit deeper:
Oh that’s interesting. Was anyone else in her family in that field?
How about her mom?
Sisters? Oh, she’s not an only child. How many sisters does she have?
While the inquirer, a brother that was clearly trying to holler, rambled on incessantly, something occurred to me. I didn’t know a lot about the woman I considered one of the most important people in my life. I’d certainly asked these same questions, but she’d deflect them. I decided to confront her with it. Why hadn’t I met her family? Why wasn’t she comfortable telling me about the things happening in her life? Did she not trust me? Coincidentally she’d just encountered one of the most traumatic moments, of her life, when I decided to impose my inquiry. She was so annoyed and what was supposed to be a simple conversation turned into a full out argument. Although we never truly said goodbye there was an unspoken severance that occurred, so we could both have time to cool off.
I don’t think we ever thought cooling off would take a full year. Our pride clung to our fingers, pulling them away from the screens of our phones every time we passed each others’ names on the contact list. We even saw each other once, at a lounge event, and she was swollen and visibly pregnant. My heart beat quickly and I was deeply saddened by the fact that my would-have-been godchild was sitting spaces away from me. We indulged in common courtesy and said hello, but nothing more.
I’d think about her every now and then, but then I’d remembered the anger in her voice and I’d shrug off my worry. I was okay with not being friends with someone who wasn’t willing to share their life with me.
And then she called…
This is the moment I was prepared for. I was ready to be smug and confident; ready to tell her that she’s no longer needed.
And then she said…
“I need you back in my life. On a daily basis. Please return.”
All my defense mechanisms unraveled. I disregarded my womanly, innate power to hold grudges and make all who want redemption, grovel. I listened to her explain that she had a hard time trusting folks and the action wasn’t exclusive to me, but she was going to try to do better. I forgave her in an instant.
You would have done the same.
You might cry or smile, but you will comply. It’ll seem as if no time has passed, as you catch up on old and new.
Forgiveness is a necessity.
Women who are meant to stay out of your life will spark no resonance in your chest; you will not mourn them when they are gone. But companions that are worthy of second chances will succumb to their wrong and so will you. The two of you will take ownership and mature in a single bound.
The only key is the willingness to let it happen. We are heaps of intuition and we have to learn to discern when mistakes are authentic.
If I didn’t trust my intuition, I’d be bereft of an unyielding comrade today. I wouldn’t trade the smile of her year old daughter or the ear that she lends, for anything.
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” -Anais Nin
RivaFlowz” is a teacher and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz.
When a bitter breakup has brought you to your emotional knees, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever love again. But like the saying goes, time heals all wounds – and if you open up your heart again, it’s possible true love can find you. I’m not suggesting that you jump right back into dating before your tears have dried and your hurt has healed; it’s actually wise to take some time to reflect and reconnect with yourself after a breakup. But once you’ve let some time go by, you may start to wonder if you’re up for the challenge of dating again. Not sure if you’re ready yet? Here are some signs you may be ready to give love another try.