My wisest friend, who also happens to be my best friend, comes from a very wise family. And more importantly, from a very wise mother. The matriarch of his family is known for her amazingly deep, truthful statements that, when repeated to you by her son, or if you get the amazing gift of having her say them to you directly, will rock you to the core, has said something recently that moved me. He said that she reminded him that forgiveness isn’t about the person you’re forgiving. It’s about you. It’s about your healing. And as always, she was right.
My best friend and I, with both being human, have had our share of arguments, misunderstandings, and moments of hurting the other. Never intentionally, but always painful, the hurt from a friend can be absolutely devastating. However, our friendship was always worth fighting our way back for, on both of our parts, so, it is with a full heart that I can still call him my best friend, despite all the struggle we’ve been through. And it took us being able to forgive each other when one party screws up royally.
Recently, I’ve reconnected with a friend I thought I’d lost forever, and we are just starting the journey back to each other. And the process of it is really opening my mind to the things in myself that I rarely see, and truthfully, don’t really like. And I realized that, not only do I have to be able to forgive this person, in order to call him ‘friend’ again, but I need to forgive myself as well.
I’m a highly emotional, sometimes melodramatic, always frank personality type. I’m never afraid to express how I feel, and move forward with actions that I know will protect me from people who I feel will abandon me. A therapist would have a field day with my brain, and when I can afford one, I’ll let one do just that. However, in the meantime, I’m going to have to self analyze, and have been doing just that for the better part of a month.
Forgiveness. One word. One single, powerful word that can completely change a situation from bad to good. And it is such a hard thing to accomplish when you’re afraid to be hurt again. I’m the queen of surrounding myself with walls so that no one can truly get in, because the ones I have let in have hurt me. My walls are fortified. They are made of impenetrable steel. The doors have retina scan entry as well as fingerprint recognition. They are hidden behind the gate of a stone castle, with high walls and a moat that is protected by a fire breathing dragon. No one gets in unless I choose to let them in. And that hasn’t always served me in the past. Is that fair to the new people I meet? Should I give them the access to my inner sanctum? What should allow them an entry code? How do I let people in and still protect myself? And I’ve found, the answer is, I don’t. It’s one or the other.
I let people in, or I protect myself. Trying to do both simultaneously is exhausting. So, I continue to try to let people in, and I continue to get hurt. However, I often, after the hurt, end up with a better friendship with the person who hurt me than I originally had. And I got a big kick out of looking back over my life and at the people who are the most important in my life now, and in every one of those relationships, there was a period of time where our friendship broke, only to be mended and put back together.
My oldest friend, who I’ve known since we were 6 years old, we’ve had a couple falling outs where we didn’t talk, for years. And we always found our way back to each other, and our friendship is stronger than ever.
My ‘little bro’ who is the light of my life, and the closest thing to a child I’ll ever have, wow, did we have a doozy of a falling out, complete with name calling and bitterness and silence for almost two years. And yet, somehow we found our way back to each other, and have such a strong bond now, that I don’t ever expect to break again.
My best friend, as I said above, and I have stumbled a few times in our friendship. We bend, but we never break, and I adore that about us. He is my rock. He is my brother from another mother, and there is something so comforting in knowing that, no matter what, we will always be here for each other.
And for my current friendship that I’m working on mending, I have a very good feeling about our success rate. We are important to each other, and if we have that, we should be able to find our way back. All that’s left to fully give is time and forgiveness.
Forgiveness. It holds such power. The moment I finally gave forgiveness during all of these friendship struggles, my life got better. My load got lighter. My heart beat easier. Yet, for me, it’s the hardest thing to give.
I hold grudges. I ‘click click delete’ people out of my world the minute I’m harmed. I remove them from any possible path they have towards me. And I rarely look back. I rarely want to undo that deletion. And I’ve been lucky enough that, with the important people, with the people who truly matter to me, I’ve been able to ‘undo’ that deletion. What happens when I get to the place where ‘undo’ isn’t an option?
I don’t want to find out. I need to forgive myself for the childish, selfish, emotional way I deal with disappointment, regardless of my feelings of righteousness about my actions. I need to slow down when I get hurt and really decide if there’s something there to salvage instead of just running behind my walls and relocking the door. And I need to forgive myself for acting that way in the past and learn from it.
And I know that I can. I want to say thank you to all my friends who have allowed me to ‘undo’ my click click deletion on our friendship. Thank you all for forgiving my shortcomings as a friend. I’m very grateful.
Ciao for now,