Make Your Peace and Own It Too

Forgive and forget, what a complicated idea. Should we really forget things that should be a lesson to us, what if we forget and the action is repeated? How can we forgive when so many times our transgressors don’t see what they’ve done, and more often we choose to stay silent rather than to let them know what they have done. Like I said, it’s complicated.

Who is it really hurting when you’re holding a grudge, especially if you choose not to confront someone whom you feel has wronged you? Of course, the ideal way to handle it is to talk to the person, but we rarely do. And what happens is they either think they’ve gotten by with whatever happened without you realizing what happened; or they have gone so long without you approaching them that they have long forgotten and/or hope you have; or in some instances they genuinely do not realize they’ve done anything wrong. Now, I’m not telling you that the best thing to do is to never speak your piece, and there are absolutely instances where no forgiveness is justified. This is not about those times. This is about the times when forgiving can heal you. When forgetting doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting the action, but letting go of the hold it has on you, moving on from holding it against the person.

Forgiveness for people who don’t ask for it, or realize they need it is not for them, it is for you. We might be able to find a reason in our minds why they may have acted the way they did, but not always… but we can set the intention to forgive anyway. You may be asking yourself why you’d do this? I don’t know about you, but I cannot hold on to a hot poker too long. Swallowing poison does nothing to your enemy.

When we find it difficult to let go of something, and we aren’t willing to do anything about it, the time comes to ask ourselves why we are letting it have power over us and take up space in our lives. That’s something a great friend asked me recently when I showed my heart in a vulnerable moment. It was a question that freed me. It was when I began to unravel and started this journey. I thought the answer was to confront the situation, but then I asked myself if I wanted to relive the terrible feelings and deal with the consequences of the conflict that would bring me. And letting it go may not have been the number one right answer, but it is the one I chose. And it made me feel better.

The tricky part is when other people want to remind you of the thing. This is where the owning your peace comes in… it is okay to tell people that you have forgiven, that you have let go, and moved forward. Let them know that your peace won’t allow you to go backwards, because the forgetting part isn’t necessarily that you’ve written it out of your mind, but that you’re putting it behind you. It will not stay behind you if you allow it to stay in your conversations or if you’re bringing it up as a character testimony. You can make the choice to continue letting something hold a power over you and take up space in your life, or you can choose to leave it in your past, take away its power, and make room for the new and better things in your life.

Flowers Blooming in a Cage


Two days ago I sat down and began a mission of healing. For a brief moment I trusted my instincts as I poured my heart out onto the page. Almost as if on autopilot, the words came forth and when I read them at the finish, I believed in what I was setting out to do. But then, doubt. What was I thinking? Writing in a journal, internal dialogue, personal thoughts, fine. But to put them in a public forum where anyone might read them, or maybe no one would. What were people thinking as they read them? Did they scoff at the ideas, the ridiculousness? The simplicity? I don’t belong here, I said. Opening up random blogs from strangers on the site, I devoured their depth and intricacies. I felt that I didn’t measure up. I wanted to end before I even made my second post. Lying awake at night, and all throughout the days I pieced together ideas in my head for the next entry, but it always ended the same way: in fear.

Fear is why I’m here. I’m standing up to myself and up for myself. Too long I have been living in my mind, and I am ready to be free. It has not yet become clear to me what I will achieve with this, and maybe that’s why it’s so important to continue. Fear of the unknown is a huge component of my state to begin with, maybe facing this fear is the first step to healing.

This morning I’m sitting at the dining table with two of my beautiful children as they draw pictures. I scan the scene and feel like the luckiest person on earth at that moment; in front of me is a bouquet of flowers my wife brought home as a surprise last Sunday from the grocery store. It strikes me that they are a few days old and still looking vibrant, some of the blooms have not even yet opened. The sunflowers seem like they might have reached their peak, at about a ¾ bloom, but they are as yellow and beautiful as ever, even with the small amount of dim winter light that the shades have let in, and the same water I originally put into their vase. Over the dining table, we have an industrial type chandelier, lending to the farmhouse/industrial interior; each of the several Edison bulbs are in their own hanging cage. To be cliche for a moment, this scene illuminated a light bulb over my head like an idea in a cartoon. The partially unopened sunflowers were like me, and the cage over the light bulb were like the cage of my mind, a trap that wasn’t quite a trap, because if I just looked down, I would see that the bottom of the cage was open, and I could escape. There is a way out.

Being aware that you have a mind that is not quite healthy, and yet at the same time feeling powerless to overcome and heal, is a very difficult concept to explain. It’s a reason why so many people struggle in silence. It’s a reason that, I dare say, leads to those heartbreaking instances when our friends, “who seemed so happy,” take their own lives leaving us very confused. You live inside your mind cage, looking up, and out, feeling like you are trapped and powerless. Like the partially bloomed flower you tend to yourself the best you can, using the resources available to you; but an artificial light is not going to grow you to your full potential. You will look healthy enough on the outside, colorful and pretty, but if you looked more closely you’d see the missing components. The problem is, you’re in a cage, how will you get what else you need? If only you could find a way out of that cage… and you can, but the feelings of inadequacy, of the weight of the world, of the feeling of being trapped, they consume you to the point where just the simple act of looking down to see that the bottom of the cage is open doesn’t even occur to you. Or, even worse, you have become so accustomed to your cage, that you see the opening, yet you are afraid to leave. You are more comfortable there than stepping outside into the real world only to find that you don’t belong there. Afraid of the unraveling affect that will happen when you are released from your mind prison. The truths you will need to face, the demons that reside there that will come out and beg to be vanquished. Your jailer will tell you anything to keep you in that cage.

I feel like I’m at the point of looking down and discovering that the cage has a way out, and yet, I’m only putting a finger out to feel which way the wind will blow.

*I feel like leaving this post as is will raise a lot of concern from some friends and family. I would like to put it out there that I do understand and appreciate that I have a wonderful life, loving people in my life, and good health. It is this understanding that keeps me looking for a way out of my cage and on the journey to a healed mind.