Last night I met with the group of women I meet with on Thursday evenings to study the Bible and learn to live a life pleasing to Jesus. This particular evening gave me a lot to think about for my goal to be happy.
Forgiving as I have been forgiven.
I don't consider myself a grudge holder. I've found this wastes an enormous amount of my energy. Since I'm over 50 I don't have that much energy to waste anymore. It was interesting to listen to the difficulties we have in forgiving others and how witholding forgiveness felt like power to each of us. I thought about the idea of having this "power" and found it just didn't work for me. I thought about the idea of forgiving all offenses committed against me all this time. I'm wondering how that will work for me. Will it make me look weak? Will it cause me to be the stereotypical doormat? Ok, I can try this. What do I care what the other people out there think of me. Really, I think can do this. I'm going to start with bad drivers and people in line (anywhere) in front of me. I'll move to more difficult areas of forgiving with coworkers and my boss. Then, of course, I need to move on to my family. I'll start with the ones I don't live with and then move on to the ones I do live with.
This sounds like a plan to me. In fact, even as write this down I'm beginning to feel a tiny bit happy.
I know there is another area of forgiveness that is going to be a challenge for me. Forgiving myself. I set the bar pretty high for myself. I wonder what it would feel like to let myself off the hook. I certainly don't meet my standards and the usual punishment for that is to do exactly what I know will hurt me further. I'm not sure I will be able to forgive myself as easily as I forgive others (which I know will not be easy either), but I'm going to try. This is a bit scary for me. If I forgive myself for not meeting the obligations I set for myself will the result move in a positive direction or will I sink further into self-destructive behaviors.
Interesting. I will take another step forward, with hope.