Sunday, October 8, 2017

Finding Forgiveness


Coming from a large family is a blessing.  Although, at times we are faced with having to navigate emotional pitfalls.

A few months ago, a nephew hurt me deeply by writing inaccurate and hurtful things about me on a  private family group chat. Someone from the group copied it and emailed it to me so I would know what was being said about me.  Thank you.
Words like these should not affect me but it did, I found it to be mean-spirited especially from someone who I thought was better than that. However, he has not said these words to me directly. In fact, we have not spoken in years. 
I have been trying to work though my hurt but each time I read what he wrote I am taken back to the anger I feel.  I guess, I should stop reading it, right!  I have even been avoiding family gatherings because I don’t want to have a confrontation with him while I still carry this anger, or have family take sides. More importantly, I don’t want to just ignore him. I don’t want to be angry and at the same time I don’t want to pretend his words and attitude didn’t hurt me.  So I have stayed away and will continue to avoid family gatherings until I have made peace with it. I think, I am almost there after a dream I had last night. 
In my dream I was at my late brother Rossi’s grave with some family members.  I was okay emotionally until I tried to take a picture and then I was overcome with emotional grief.  This nephew tried to console me but I wouldn’t let him.  I could see that he didn’t like to see me in so much pain and he just stood there and watched helplessly.  I was inconsolable.  I felt like the day we buried my brother,  totally heartbroken.  Then I woke up. 
My understanding of this dream is seeing my nephew try to help me deal with my pain and sorrow.  He may have said some harsh words about me to family on social media but I don’t really think he meant to hurt me, and even if he did, so what.  At any rate, it is not about my relationship with my nephew because we really don't have one, not one that counts.  I am certain that he has not thought about what he wrote since he wrote it, so the only person hurting, is me.  I keep hurting myself, over and over again, just thinking about what he wrote. It is just a story in my head.  It is my story!
The only way forward for me is to change my thinking about this incident. My intent is to forgive him, not for him, but for myself. The way I see it forgiveness is for the most part, for the forgiver.  It is to set our mind at ease and it does not matter if the other person accepts the forgiveness or not. At the end of the day, we don't need validation from anyone.  
My forgiveness Note:  
Dear MD:

I am writing today to let you know how I felt when I read something you wrote about me on a private family chat on Facebook. It is so long ago that you likely don't even remember it. I am embarrassed to say that it bothered me this long. That said, I am not sure why you said what you said about me to other family members. You may not know this, but it really upset me.  I was angry and very hurt.  Why would you say those things?  You do know it was untrue and if you don't, I would gladly explain to you. Based on your tone in your message it sounds like you really must hate me or have very little regard for me. And that is okay. 

In addition, I am not asking for your explanation or state of mind at the time you wrote what you did because what is done is done. The only thing that matters is how I respond to what you wrote. At this moment those words don't need any more attention from me. I choose to not have them impact on me anymore. I have decided to not be affected by it anymore, it is just words.

I want you to know that I FORGIVE you for writing those words, but more importantly,  I forgive myself for having carried the anger and hurt for way too long.  You wrote, “We must remain united…” I hope you also included me in that statement since I am still part of the family.

Today is the Canadian Thanksgiving, making this a perfect day to move past this.  There is so much to be grateful for. I am grateful for having had a time in our life where we loved and respected one another.  I am grateful for the members of my family who truly love and understand me.  I am grateful for my dream last night, which led me to the understanding that the hurt feeling was really my own doing and that I have the power to change it.    I just reread what you posted and I am pleased to say, that I feel nothing. 

Perhaps one day you will actually ask me to explain to you what it is we do for First Nations across Canada.  And, maybe you will get an appreciation of all the positive changes they have made to their nations resulting from the settlement of land claims against the federal and provincial governments.  It is rewarding work and I am completely satisfied to be on the right side of the table.  It is gratifying work and I am blessed.   
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
See you at the next family gathering.  

I remain,
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Your Aunt

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