Everything is Exactly as it’s Supposed to Be
(or how freedom feels to me)
I had a nasty habit of waiting too long before I spoke my mind. (writing always seemed so much easier). Keeping things bottled up until a full fledged explosion is the only ‘communication’ left you’ll be getting from me, is not the recommended way to go about things. One thing I basically didn’t learn growing up, is facing things head on, confronting people on personal matters. Setting clear, personal boundaries.
After a tough conversation, where I did manage not to blow up, it took me about 5 years to get to where I am now. Knowing that the only reason I am doing this, is to make sure there will be nothing left to hold me back to live my life to the fullest. No residual emotions clogging my veins, no shreds of resentment that could make me emotionally sick if allowed.
You see, I have gotten to the point that I wasn’t sure I was feeling anything anymore regarding this relationship. And though you might think that’s in fact a good place to be, It felt more like a state of denial at times. Live your life hard and fast enough and you might forget the wrongs… I was fine with it for as long as it lasted and in a way I needed the time to come to terms with it. But it wasn’t where I wanted to stay.
Can I mend this broken relationship and do I even want to? After so many years of getting the same reproach time and again, I have learned that any first step taken in the right direction, has to come from me. Because waiting for the other to change, is a waste of time. And to be honest, this time I just didn’t want to. Which is going against everything I believe in, because forgiveness is what it’s all about, but I didn’t want to. Self preservation has been my motivation.
Having recognized the pattern we were stuck in years ago already, there’s no sign, this time will be different. It will only be a matter of time, before we relapse in the same routine and we’ll just end up where we started. Hurting each other. What’s left to say when you’re running out of words and realize you’re only repeating yourself? Talking is overrated sometimes.
Once a friend said: ‘You’re not a doormat, where people walk all over you while you’re lying there, welcoming them to do so‘. That has stuck to me ever since. Because it’s true. My faith, my God, is not asking me to be a doormat. I was made with a free will and enough sense to deal with life and people. I was not made to be a slave of anybody or anything and that includes how I am treated. Or how I let others treat me. It’s up to me to put a stop to it. I have that choice. Not implying it’s easy.
To find out I had been looked upon as the ‘problem child’ wasn’t a nice discovery. In retrospect I am pretty sure I was, but not because of the reasons suggested, but because I chose another path. One that wasn’t predictable, nor expected or ‘safe’. Not saying I did everything right, but these were my choices. I’ve said it before, acceptance is so precious. It’s one of the main reasons, we learned to be open to anybody and anything they bring along. Still not a doormat though.
Nowadays I think there are hardly any people without any ‘baggage’ and though not all of it is always wrong, some of it can be a hindrance in life if we let it. I have been trying to rationalize the way people responded to my choices and I have been trying to look at arguments from different sides. Of course I am biased, my choices were / are mine. I have been trying to look at things through the eyes of the faith I have. And I am sure it helped me to not get too carried away, but still not a doormat.
Moving to another country helped in a way that distance does sometimes. Even before we left I had come to the conclusion, that staying mad was not an option. To me it never is, since it only would hurt myself further and it would certainly cloud my judgement towards the rest of my life. Staying angry would never be an option to me. But I was angry when it just happened… Very angry and very hurt.
The mentioned conversation was the proverbial last drop, that made the bucket – full of similar past experiences – flow over. From there on I knew I had the choice to go on with this relationship and be assured that new hurt would be around every next corner, or to choose for myself and break this pattern. Although I never thought it would come that far, at that moment it was an easy choice. If I wanted to live my own life – I had been married with children for years already – I had to break away.
I remember very well, when we lived in Spain years ago, we met a mother and daughter with whom we got pretty close. They were around 50 and 20 at that time. The mother told us that it took her years to break free from a similar relationship, she only just managed to do so… The reason why she told us: at that point I was having one of the mentioned past experiences and had no hope of seeing any improvement. I just turned 30 myself.
It’s hard when a relationship with anyone close to you is so full of hurt and you can’t seem to break free from it. Because you love them, the hurt is worse. If I would have cared less, it wouldn’t have bothered me as much. Piling up hurtful things through the years, without having a decent talk afterwards, a way to come to some kind of understanding, makes for a sure dead end. Enough is enough, doesn’t matter how loving and patient anyone’s trying to be.
It’s common knowledge and to me even common sense, that forgiveness is mostly not given for the benefit of the other person, but for yourself. You don’t have to believe in anything to understand the wisdom of that. Though for me my faith would emphasize it and I knew I was slowly growing to the point that I had to actually Speak The Words, to set myself totally free. And a couple of months ago, I had this ‘sudden urge’ to do it and do it right now. This is basically how I ‘feel’, when I really need to act, not only out of common sense, but even more so out of faith.
Right there and then I picked up the phone and made the call, to Speak my Forgiveness. Does this sound arrogant? I guess if you want to look at it that way. Sometimes people get offended because they simply refuse to see it any other way. But that is certainly not what this meant to me. I got to say what had been in my way for so many years and I explained that I was done with it, no longer willing to keep quiet about it. Mentioning, that I was not going to give any false hope that from now on everything would be OK, or turn back the way things were.
It was the right time for me, finally being able to speak my mind and leave things behind. I am telling this because I know, there are a lot of people who struggle with the same kind of feelings, or far worse. Knowing that forgiving people who did you wrong sets you free, doesn’t make it easier. It seems to be in our blood to want ‘the acknowledgement for being right’. My mind was – as always – in constant war with my heart and emotions. But it was the right thing to do, For Me
I have been learning more and more to be clear about my personal boundaries, though I still sometimes hear people say I am waiting too long before I speak my mind. It’s a process and I am getting there. Reminding myself time and again, ‘I’m not a doormat and I don’t have to put up with being manipulated in any way’. The sad thing is, people might not even realize their behavior is manipulative. And even if they do, change never happens overnight.
On top of that, I believe change starts with me. If I will be upfront about my boundaries and stick to them, without being offensive on purpose, communication has an open door to conversation. When people say: ‘I will forgive, but I won’t forget’, I get what they are saying, because our minds are pretty focused on negative experiences. But maybe that’s why the saying is like it is: Forgive And Forget. Without Forgiveness, Forgetting will be totally impossible, the past will always creep up on us in moments that are mostly very inconvenient.
But after Forgiveness, the process of Forgetting can start, at least that’s how it works for me. And it might not be all about forgetting what happened, but forgetting the hurt or pain that was caused, which is basically the worst part of it. Eventually, the memory will fade too. For me making the call was the end of a period the whole situation kept resurfacing in my mind, in conversations about it. It had gotten less and less, but it was still there.
Now, I am free of it. I’ve done what I think I had to do and I am not talking about pure obligation, I am talking about what I Needed to do, For Me. For my soul, for my mental wellbeing. Before I didn’t want, nor did I see any way, to restore this relationship. I can’t tell you if it will ever get better, but worst case: if it doesn’t, I am at peace with it. Though it sounds selfish, this is what it sometimes means to choose for yourself.
The peace I am talking about goes beyond ‘peace of mind’, beyond the way I can understand, let alone explain, with my natural senses. The one thing I can say is this: I have learned that when inner peace is real, it rules in my heart and I can be confident and know, I om on the right path. The mind can counteract with doubt, but when I am at this level of peace, I know, that I know, that I know… Everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be.
Wishing you a very nice weekend, eat something light, to better digest the above… Peace & Love to y’all ❤