Devo's Blog

Monday, August 28, 2006

Working hard, hardly working

Been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. Seems to be the key. Thought post-traumatic stress was the final obstacle and EMDR the ticket home. Don't get me wrong - I'm glad it worked as well as it did, it just wasn't the cure-all I had hoped. I'm weary of jumping hurdles only to find one more in front of me.

Forgiveness is hard and can't be forced - that's what I'm learning. Wanting to forgive, saying "I forgive you" - it's just not that simple. Letting go of the hurt often feels impossible. Deep wounds leave scars; suffering melds with you, becomes part of your identity, and fighting it seems fruitless. It's easier to hang on to the negativity and the small comfort it brings - to "let the sad song play" than to let go and move on.

Bad habits linger because they are unforgiven, not because one lacks willpower. Forgiving begins with appreciating the seriousness of the struggle that goes on while changing a habit. Your old familiar self will seldom yield gracefully to a new emerging one. To forgive a bad habit, never think of it as petty; changing a habit is actually the struggle to choose between a world of hurt and a world of healing. Paying exquisite attention will eventually enable you to let go of the deadening past, and rejoin the flow of your real life.


It's a struggle alright - I think I've done a decent job of not beating myself up. I like who I am. I believe I would have been a good husband - what hurt was not being given the chance to prove it. That pokes at the core of my insecurity, especially when I wonder if I'll ever get the opportunity again. I'm impatient that way. There's another anxiety I would like to let go of.

Learning is slowed less by lack of intelligence than by a reluctance to let go of bankrupt ideas and exhausted ways of seeing. This is why some problems never seem to go away even when their solutions are clearly in our grasp. When you feel cursed by fate, look to your own stubbornness; when you seem blocked by other's stupidity, question your own reasoning and the way you communicate. When nothing seems to work, consider whether you have correctly identified the fundamental problem behind your struggles. The object of your blame will always prove to be less of an obstacle than your decision to blame.


I think I've forgiven myself. I've certainly learned a lot, not only about my blind spots but also my strengths, and I'm a better person for it. Now my feelings regarding my ex, that's another matter... still some resentment and fear there... still some forgiveness to be done. Maybe then I'll stop thinking about her.

Every addiction is rooted in reluctance to shed some of the personality's coat of armor. The more willing we are to forgive our own defenses, the more spirit can come rushing in through the gaps in our armor.


All quotes from A LITTLE BOOK OF FORGIVENESS, D. PATRICK MILLER

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