Sometimes when you search for answers the universe provides them. Hell, sometimes when you’re not searching for answers the universe provides.
Basically, the universe is so awesome it deposits and cashes in life’s receipts.
That happened today when a friend of mine posted this video. Will Smith, actor, producer, and life coach? Yes, he came with the real in this video about fault vs responsibility.
“It doesn’t matter whose fault it is that something is broken if it’s your responsibility to fix it,” he said.
This is so basic. Literally basic but so very true. He continues with this gem.
“When something is someone’s fault we want them to suffer. We want them punished. We want them to pay. We want it to be their responsibility to fix but that’s not how it works especially when it’s your heart. Your heart, your life, your happiness is your responsibility and yours alone.”
I am a big proponent of forgiving yourself after life’s traumas. It may or may not have been your fault something big and disastrous happened to you or in your life, however, in order to continue moving beyond victim mode, you must begin to forgive.
Forgiveness always beings with yourself.
However, forgiving the ghosts of your past that’s easier said than done.
It’s difficult to stop faulting others for how their faults impact our lives, even after we’ve moved on from the traumatic event, even after we’ve forgive ourselves. But if, as Will Smith said, our life’s happiness is dependent on ourselves, we have to forgive that other person, as hard as that may be.
However, forgiveness isn’t always about that person coming back into your life. It isn’t always about sitting down and having a good laugh about it. And, frankly, it may not be about hearing an apology. (I’ve also learned the sometimes apologies aren’t for you). Forgiveness may look so different from what we imagine.
Forgiveness is about two things, I’ve learned: Self and Choice
Always chose self. No, it’s not being selfish is your choice to forgive yourself, to do some inner reflection and learn from experiences. And it’s not selfish to forgive something or someone because the anger and pain is too heavy to bare. That’s the point. Chose yourself among all others.
When I think about my abuser, years after our last encounter, I ask myself if I still hate her or if I have forgiven her. The answer has changed with time but now it’s stable — I love myself more than I “hate” her. For me, at this point, that is forgiveness. I chose to love myself rather than to hate others and so I try every day to let it go. That means I have to employ the power of choice.
Choice. You must chose to forgive. That’s how it starts. And then realize that forgiveness, like everything else is a process and processes take time. Lots of it. Truck loads.
Choice also means responsibility, as Will Smith said. You have to chose to move toward your life’s happiness, step by step. You need to chose to talk about it with a friend or therapist. You need to chose meditation if that’s your thing. You need to chose other paths than vengeance for your healing and health. You need to chose self-care, whatever self-care looks like for you. For me, I chose to write, to research, to learn, to grow and to educate.
Researcher Brene Brown wrote something interesting in Rising Strong, a book I highly recommend. She said something along the lines of this: you many not get to write the story of how you fell but you get to write the story of how you get up.
Look, we’re all story people here. Chose. Decide. What story do you want to write about the trauma? A victim’s story? That’s up to you. A winner’s story? That requires forgiveness. And, frankly, it’s a much more powerful story.
So I write and am writing the story of how I got up from trauma, how forgiveness looks like, what it’s like to forgive, to take the responsibility of my own life, my own happiness.
I’m writing the story of my writing life, the life I am creating for myself. My happiness.
So this is what I know, the hard truth of it. I’m still working on it and learning about forgiveness. There are actual phases of forgiveness like there are for grief. Take the time to study and reflect on what forgiveness looks like for you.
And write your story of winning.
With a peaceful heart,