Forgive to get your life back
Photo on the left depicts our parents in the mid 60’s.
When someone irks you bad enough that it starts to affect your behavior, then you may just have to make the effort to forgive this person either in person, or you do this quietly in your head. Back in the fall of 1995 I woke up bathed in sweat and in horror realized who I had become: The exact opposite of my dad, just worse. How on Earth could I have allowed a person whom I had not seen in six years at that time, who also did not live on the same continent as me to direct my thinking and feelings? It was mind boggling to me and right there and then at the edge of the bed I reflected upon how this could have happened.
It dawned on me quickly that the underlying motivator was for me not to be like my dad. That had always been very tough as him and I look like twins to start with. Mannerisms and even speech pattern were very similar too. The bigger irk factor was however that he had been a long time alcoholic and growing up together with my sister in a household of him and mom being alcoholics had not been a walk in the park. Dad’s psych terror that got physical on a few occasions was as unpredictable as was the intensity. It got so bad that I helped my Mom with the divorce and later packing up Dad who left us with a bit of debt and later claimed personal bankruptcy such that he did not have to pay support to Mom. Topping this off was living in a small German community where we kids were labeled losers just because our dad had made some really bad choices. That is enough to make one bitter, right?
Well, that is where I went wrong. From the day Dad left our house to the above mentioned event, my primary thinking pattern was guided by the thought not to become like my father. What ended up happening was me doing things 180 degrees opposite of what I thought my dad would have done, but would this have been my own natural, sincere and genuine choice? I wanted my life back – as soon as possible. I sat up folded my hands, said a prayer and forgave my father for all the nonsense that had happened. A sense of relief flowed through me and the very next day I started to feel better about myself and the choices I made.
My case was probably a more severe case of this, but I implore you to think about the people that have hurt you in any way and how your thinking and actions may be altered forever in a non-sustainable way if you do not forgive them. That does not mean that you will turn out to be great friends again, but at least you can stay true to yourself and the folks that mean a lot to you get to experience a genuine you and not some other person.