The Heart of the Matter

My heart and mental health depend on my ability to reduce hurt and anger as quickly and efficiently as possible. I literally forgive or if I can’t forgive (and there are some things that can’t be forgiven) let it go. I try to at least dispense with the destructive anger/hurt that can keep me from functioning.  I don‘t want to waste my energies on the negatives any longer than necessary once I deem it serves no purpose. It is an effective method that has worked quite well for me.

Except when it comes to forgiving myself.

Why is forgiving ourselves of our own wrongs so hard?

Oh, the scenarios that play out in our heads from the sublime (well, it is what it is, but we‘re cool), to the not-quite-ridiculous (I HATE YOU AND I NEVER, EVER, EVER WANT TO SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN *insert string of nasty, insulting and in your head well-earned, hurtful verbiage against yourself here* !!!!), when we know we’ve done somebody wrong.

You make it to your forties odds are you’ll find yourself doing something close to, if not the same thing as,  something you’ve actually  counseled others to forgive or at least let go in the past. Then again, you weren’t  the one doing the wrong when you counseled, were you? That moral high ground is pretty damn nice until it’s our own dirt that muddies it. There are things we can forgive ourselves easily for. There things we can forgive ourselves for, when the injured party cannot forgive us.  But what about the things we cannot seem to forgive ourselves for, even if the injured parties forgive us? It’s a whole different ball of wax when you’re the one giving yourself the riot act, huh?

It’s a sick thing we do to ourselves at times. This emotional equivalent of  self-flagellation, if you will.  “Woe, look at me, I’m such  a bad person. No one could punish me for what I’ve done as hard as I’m punishing myself!” Yes, we hurt because we hurt someone else (intentionally or not). But with or without the injured party’s forgiveness, at some point it has to stop. The logical part of us is going to say we are  indulging in personal pity party and we need to figure it out if we‘re going to function.  But to paraphrase Tina Turner “What’s logic got to do with it?”

I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about…forgiveness
–Don Henley The Heart of the Matter

Whether we formally say to ourselves “I forgive me” or at some point “let it go”, eventually , we all have to look in the mirror and for better or worse, learn to live with ourselves and what ever it is we’ve done.

That in and of itself is form of forgiveness…

The Heart of the Matte

2 thoughts on “The Heart of the Matter

  1. “This emotional equivalent of self-flagellation, if you will.”

    Yeah, I’m too well versed in this. Trying to decide what to forgive and what to let go is what holds me up.

  2. I generally forgive people easily enough, or simply just don’t think about it. In my family, emotion basically “got in the way of what had to be done”, and so I never learned to truly grieve. I didn’t even cry when my parents died, and I loved them both.

    As to forgiving myself, I’ve generally tried to make amends for what I’ve done wrong, but some people feel that once something is done, it’s done, and you can’t make amends. In such cases, I forgive myself quite easily (Hey, I tried). I’m sorry to have to say this, and I’m not trying to boast, but if a tally of such events could be kept, I’d probably come out more sinned against than sinner.

    In an episode of Wings several years ago, Frasier and Lilith appeared as guest starts, and Frasier was running a pop psychology meeting called “The Crane Train to Mental Well Being”. At the end, he realized that what he was trying to say all along was “Don’t blame yourself. It’s the OTHER guy’s fault!” Then, something like “I’m not sure about the psychological foundation, but I could sure see it on a T-shirt”. While this was, of course, not meant to be taken seriously, I’m forced to admit that this maxim becomes more attractive to me the longer I live.

So? What do you think?

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