One of my favorite songs from youth playing on the radio this week:
“I saw the sign
And it opened up my eyes
I saw the sign
Life is demanding without understanding”
~ lyrics from “The Sign” performed by Ace of Base
It’s not that I believe in “signs”, but I do tend to be more attentive to certain messages sometimes. This last week I have stumbled over a lot of suggestions that perhaps I haven’t acted in as altruistic a manner as I believed. And I have to find a way to say I’m sorry. And I have to ask forgiveness.
I find this galling.
It pains me to bend backward and submit to anyone, particularly to someone I know would enjoy seeing me in such a position. Forgiveness is the LAST thing I want to ask, of most people in general, and of this specific person in particular. But I have to nonetheless.
I’m not even sure I’m really sorry.
My upbringing, along with the poor choices I made as a young adult, wrought such emotional chaos, I strive now to maintain complete control over every aspect of my life. I don’t want to be passive; if something is broken I want to fix it NOW. I don’t want to be at anyone else’s mercy, because I’ve learned that people will always let me down. I’d rather assume the worst and dive in to the deep end to get past whatever hard parts I’m facing.
Whoever said, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness later than permission now,” was kind of an idiot.
Excerpt from a motivational blog post I read this week:
by Leo Babauta.
Imagine allowing things to happen naturally,
and things work out,
and all you did was smile and watch.
You don’t have to worry about shaping things,
about controlling something
that doesn’t want to be controlled.
You don’t have to push,
and fix leaks,
and put out fires.
You just let things work on their own.
My way of operating has gotten me pretty far. I’m extremely independent, full of confidence that I can handle anything that comes my way, and flexible when it comes to jumping life’s hurdles. Things can fall down around me, and I won’t lose my shit over it. Just pick up the pieces and keep moving. It’s what I’ve always done; it’s all I really know. No time to ask forgiveness, just keep on keeping on and things will work out for the best at some point.
But my way of operating has also gotten me into a fair amount of trouble. I’m impatient to see how things play out, I have no tolerance for advice or criticism, and I have no filters to keep me straight. As a result, I’m a rude, obnoxious, loud-mouthed social misfit. Or to put it plain: I’m a bitch. Bitches don’t say sorry, because that would be admitting fault. Bitches don’t ask forgiveness, because that would imply an intent to change ways.
I say all this not as a matter of pride, just as an observation. Sometimes it’s good to be a bitch, because you get things done.
And sometimes it’s NOT good to be a bitch, because the things you get done can break relationships, damage feelings, and potentially ruin lives. I’ve become extremely grateful for a husband who keeps the worst side of me grounded — he usually serves as my buffer, editing my personal life to help me keep loved ones from wanting to kill me. He offers forgiveness over and over again, most of the time without my even asking.
What happens when I don’t go through my husband? The same thing that happens when you fail to poor boiled noodles through a strainer — hot water ends up everywhere and you create a giant mess. It’s too late at that point to ask your strainer to clean it up. There’s nothing it can do. It’s an inanimate object.
Or in the case of my husband, he’s nursing his own wounds and not eager to step in at my defense when clearly I have none. I have my husband’s forgiveness — always and forever — but his isn’t the only one I need at this point.
Excerpt from a second excellent blog post I read this week (from the blog of Michael Hyatt):
by Thad Puckett
we can run aground.
The danger here
is due to not recognizing the danger.
Failure to seek feedback is folly.
Failure to listen to it is foolishness.
If you give [everyone] the room to be who they are,
where they are,
you will allow yourself to do the same.
So now I have to make a choice.
I have to swallow my pride, and repair a broken relationship because it is what’s best for my husband. I have to ask forgiveness for his sake, because that is what my husband needs me to do.
I have to swallow my pride, and repair a broken relationship because it is what’s best for *ME*. I have to ask forgiveness my OWN sake, because it is the right thing to do.
I get to keep my pride intact, and avoid asking forgiveness, but I will forever know I could have done something — at least made the attempt — to fix things and neglected to do so because of my personal need to be STRONG.
What is strength?
— The defining characteristic of a person willing to take on the tougher tasks in life
— Doing what needs to be done, putting others first, and living to tell the tale
What kind of person am I, if I can’t put the needs of others before my own? Am I really strong? I think the true choice here is this:
(1) Do the right thing, regardless of how hard it is. Apologize. Ask forgiveness.
(2) Do the wrong thing — avoid the problem altogether — hope it goes away.
Excerpt from a third fantastic blog post I read this week (from the Daily OM):
by Madisyn Taylor
We know from personal experience
how painful it can feel to be misunderstood or judged.
We have good hearts and want them to be seen.
We have so much to offer
and want others to welcome our gifts.
When someone shuts us out,
it can feel frustrating, hurtful, and confusing.
By giving others a second chance,
we can extend the same courtesy
we would ask for ourselves.
In this way, we set a precedent
for all our relationships:
to allow everyone the freedom and safety
to simply be human.
So this person deserves a second chance. And because he is family, he deserves a third, fourth, fifth, and millionth chance. I have to offer him forgiveness so that I can likewise ask forgiveness in return. I have to make the first move, even knowing he may rebuff me. I have to do what’s right. But I don’t want to.
Excerpt from yet a fourth inspirational blog post I read this week (from the Tiny Buddha):
by Kate Swoboda
[Refusing to forgive is] not intentional,
it’s just that we’ve been hurt,
and forgiveness feels like letting someone off the hook,
or pretending that it was okay
The irrational fear is that if we forgive,
someone else will do “it” again —
but the truth is,
whether or not we forgive
has nothing to do with controlling
another person’s behavior.
People do what they do.
The only person to let off the hook is ourselves,
by not concerning ourselves
with monitoring someone else’s behavior,
or replaying the past.
So there it is. I can’t control what other people do. I can only control myself (it might be argued that I can’t even do THAT much!). Regardless, I’m in charge of me. I know the right thing to do. So here goes.
I forgive you, and I was wrong for the way I behaved. I’m sorry. I hope you can forgive me, too. I hope we can put this behind us and be friends again. I want you in my life. You are my brother, and I love you.