Wednesday, November 10, 2010

30 Days of Truth....Day 3

I think so many of us are too hard on ourselves for what we didn’t accomplish or what we should have done. The first step is to forgive yourself for all the things you didn’t do that you should have and all the things that you did do that you shouldn’t have. Get rid of the guilt. Negative feelings don’t do you much good. The way to deal with them is to forgive yourself and forgive others. . . Forgiveness helps you come to terms with the past. I've learned how to forgive myself, and this has helped me no longer feel deep regrets or sadness about my past.--Morrie Schwartz
Forgiveness is such a tricky term, and this one took a lot of thought.  Just as the above quote says, many of us are far too hard on ourselves for what we haven't accomplished.  I know I am one of them.  There is lots of things on my slate that haven't been done, and at this point probably won't be, but I'm not going to sit around and berate myself for it.  Hey, this small town bumpkin from the sticks has come a long way.  Heck, there was a time that I didn't even know what a bagel was. And yes, I have made many of what some would call mistakes in my life, but I don't call them mistakes.  These were the things that had to come into my life in order for me to learn.   The only mistakes we make are those that we don't correct....not correcting our mistakes IS the mistake.

We learn wisdom from failure
much more than from success.
We often discover what will do
by finding out what will not do.
And probably he who never made a mistake
never made a discovery.

~ Samuel Smiles ~

We all have things in our past for which we hold ourselves accountable. Sometimes there is a genuine reason for that feeling of accountability, and at other times we get into the "self blame game".  That being said, if I have to pick one thing to forgive myself for it would be spending almost 15 years in a horribly abusive relationship, of not having the courage to get out sooner.  But that's not what I have to forgive myself for.  The fact is, both of my sons were forced to endure what went on in my home because I was too afraid to leave.  Don't get me wrong, they were never physically abused, and the physical abuse towards me had ended long ago when I struck back, but they had to put up his verbal abuse of me, of his telling them what a screw-up their mom was and how he was so much better and more important than me.  That he, the gambler, the bouncer, the wanna be Mafia hood, should be their role model...not their meek little mother who worked at some menial city job.  

Sadly, I believed him back then and allowed him to bully and beat me down emotionally with my children witnessing it.  But, even though  my failure to leave was the cause of much unhappiness for my children, the fact is that it was a long time ago, and I can't  do a darn thing to change the past. All I can  do is to  work on making the future as good as it could be.  And children are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.  Not too long ago my eldest son said something that knocked me for a loop.  It was on my ex-husband's birthday, and my son was getting ready to visit his  grave.  Mommy, I don't want you to get mad at me for going, but he was my father. (No matter what, I never tried to keep the kids away from him or talked down on him)   I didn't like the way he used to talk to you, but 'Ant' and I  always knew better.  We knew that YOU were the one with the steady job, the one who always tucked us in at night.  YOU were the one we knew we could always depend on...and it is so true.  No matter what, no matter how old we get, you are always there for us

Needless to say, I shed a few tears over that one.  All those years of beating myself up, and I had never really known how they felt.  We just never talked about it.   Yes, that marriage was a mistake, but it was a mistake that also brought me so much love....two wonderful sons who stand by me through thick and thin.

Forgiveness is not a moral issue.
It is an energy dynamic...
Forgiveness means that you do not carry the baggage of an experience.
When you choose not to forgive,
the experience that you do not forgive sticks with you.
When you choose not to forgive,
it is like agreeing to wear dark, gruesome sunglasses that distort everything,
and it is you who are forced every day
to look at life through those contaminated lenses
because you have chosen to keep them.

~ Gary Zukav from 'The Seat Of The Soul' ~


  1. I know why now we have a connection...because everything you share about yourself I have gone is uncanny and very spiritual in the same breath!

    I've talked with my children about what happened back then...I hope they forgive me for not getting out sooner than I took me a long time to forgive a matter of fact I still to this day struggle with the word even...I call it surrendering...but it is forgiveness...and we do it for ourselves, not anyone else. That was the lesson it took me forever to see. truly are heaven sent!

  2. That Gary Zukav quotation is right on. We distort the true nature of "forgiveness" when we characterize it in moral terms, as is done in Christianity for example. I always prefer the term "letting go" to "forgiveness" because I think it more accurately captures the nature of what one must do in order to move on from something bad.

    What a wonderful affirming acknowledgement from your son! Kids are smart.

  3. Thank you for this post today about is looming in my heart big time right now!!



  4. Too many of us have been where you have been.
    Bullies have the problem with THEIR own lack of self esteem and try to diminish ours.:0(

  5. This post hit the nail right on top of the head. Great post Mary--and our children are smarter than what we give them credit for. Your children all knew what the score was. I'm just so happy that you were able to get out of that relationship with both your boys. Blessed Be~

  6. My goodness....thought I commented already, but I see it's bare. ???
    Maybe I started to and got side tracked. sigh!
    People who put other people down and hurt them either by words or deed HAS THE PROBLEM.
    The person on the other end of these attacks is NOT THE PROBLEM.