For You, Daddy!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

What Forgiving Gives Me

Filed under: Giving,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

In my last post, I told you about Justice Sach’s magnanimous forgiving spirit.

Forgiving people who have hurt us is something Daddy and Mummy advocated and practised. Growing up, I did not realise the exact painful ramifications of what my parents experienced, so I easily accepted their reasons for forgiving a wrongdoing.

The Gold Medallists

                                                       Mum          Dad        Me                Big Sis

This was taken on 24 August 2002 (yes, 10 years ago) at their Golden Wedding Anniversary celebration.

In my late teens, I began to understand the grind my parents were put through by some unscrupulous people. Worse still, people they knew personally and had close bonds with. A few examples next.

i. A relative who reneged on his financial commitment when the fledgling business that was started by Daddy, this relative and a common family friend began to flounder. When Common Family Friend began baying for blood, Daddy was saved from landing in the slammer by his three younger brothers who paid Common Family Friend off.

ii. The supervisor of Daddy’s construction arm of the business who fled the state with the workers and equipment. It was Daddy’s reputation that helped assuage his angry clients as Daddy scrambled to put together a whole new operation to complete the projects he had started and had promised on paper. As a result of those enormous losses, our family endured a lean decade financially without the frills we had had all our lives until that point.

iii. During that dark decade, a whole group of (former) friends who did not invite my parents to their celebrations because my parents could no longer afford to reciprocate or socialise at their usual highfalutin hangouts. (When we bounced back, Daddy and Mummy were civil to those people, but did not renew social ties.)

iv. Clients who did not pay Daddy. My father was not the sort to push either because “he/she is in a far worse situation than us, so how can I ask him/her for the money?”   

v. A (now deceased) relative who was part of a religious order who told Mummy that she would “go to hell” because she bore an offspring who married a person outside our religion.

Relatives, friends and prayers helped my parents during those dark times. And my parents’ spirit of forgiveness.

Although I saw my parents forgive people, I couldn’t quite understand it. They talked about the anguish of betrayal and we all experienced the pain of deprivation. And then, they’d say they understood the person who caused them grief. And prayed for them!

When I left home for university at 19, I got a knife in my back for the very first time in my life.

Not the backstabbers.

With my closest group of friends in our final year at uni. All aged 22. 

I overheard my (supposed) friends at uni making fun of the way I walked upright and spoke crisply. All because of my academic and extracurricular achievements (that I slogged for, d#mmit!), and the trendy clothes I sported despite me telling them that most were Big Sis’s (admittedly very cool) hand-me-downs.

Decades on, I can still hear the words that hurt like I had never been hurt until that point. After the pain subsided, I tried to do what Daddy and Mummy did, that is, forgive them.

Uh uh.

Not so easy.  

This image is from http://www.etsy.com/

For a good decade and a half, I ignored Daddy and Mummy’s practices and their advice each time I shared my problems with them. Because I just could not forgive the people who hurt me (fuggedaboutit!) and I just could not pray for them (not a prayer!) as my parents did and suggested.

Instead, I seethed. I railed to my inner circle (other than Daddy and Mummy). I flooded my mind with horrid thoughts about the person who played dirty. I tried to think of ways to hurt that person in some way, got stunned for thinking along those lines, slunk around in shame, and simmered under a façade of ‘I’m golden’.

Until my mid 30s.

Then I understood that Daddy and Mummy had a point about forgiving and letting go.

Finally.

 

It was a fairly easy transition because the resultant changes in the way I felt physically and the way my mood lifted were immediate. And addictive.  

Today, I’m mostly a ‘forgive and let go’ kinda person. But I’ve taken it one step ahead of what Daddy and Mummy taught me.

I try to understand the other person.

I still get angry instantly, but soon – sometimes a day, sometimes an hour, sometimes right away! – I begin to conduct a postmortem of sorts. I have learnt that looking to understand the motive before the deed was done helps me deal better with the fallout.  

I have found that I feel lighter, better, freer when I turn the focus away from the ‘What’ to the ‘Why’.

This image is from http://nancybattye.com/

  Thank you, Nancy, for permitting me the use of your image.

A little side story.

When Nancy responded to my request to use this image with a wave of the green flag, she signed off with

loving intentions and deepest gratitude”.

Simple words, profound impact.

I look to figure out why someone hurt me instead of they hurt me doing such-and-such.

I choose this route because I am more interested in finding out how I can prevent a repeat.

How I can avoid being in someone’s line of fire again.

Or even how I can avoid becoming the perpetrator of a heinous deed myself one day. 

Anyone else take this ‘Why’ approach?

What do you do to dissipate anger, hurt, resentment or revenge when you are wronged?

 
 
 
 

This image is from http://frugal-science.com/

Thank you, Gustavo, for permitting me the use of your image.

 
 
 
 


Thank you, mj monaghanThe Book of Terrible and Elvie Rose for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, mj monaghanThe Book of Terrible, Ellis Nelson , and Zen in the City for liking my last post.

***********************************************************************

P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 



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6 Comments »

  1. I think knowing how to forgive is crucial to being happy. I learned that as a teen.

    I also love the C. S. Lewis quote: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8185675@N07/3633152013/

    Great post!

    Like

    Comment by Cheerful Monk — Friday, 17 August 2012 @ 2:10 am |Reply

    • >I think knowing how to forgive is crucial to being happy.
      – I’ve realised that, too. I think forgiving is not about being complacent or condoning, but about letting go. And that is liberating!

      >I learned that as a teen.
      – I read your post (‘What I Learned From Being Dumped By My Best Friend‘) and a whole lot of situations in my own life came to mind. Today, I am glad I can understand why those who targeted me did so. Like Mary, the reasons for the behaviour of those who hurt me, were sad. 😦

      You wrote that post in 2008. Bikehikebabe and Rummuser were with you back then, too, Jean. Wow. I will return to read all the comments in detail when I get some “miscellaneous” PC time.

      As I wrote in this post, I got my first shock at 19. It took me a whole decade and half to learn to forgive for a host of reasons.

      i. I couldn’t understand how people could get so petty about such silly things.

      ii. Whatever I was envied for was up for grabs by everyone. When I wanted something, I worked hard to get it. I couldn’t understand why the others couldn’t do the same.

      iii. I was too hurt to look beyond my smarting (but not-smart-at-the-time) self.

      iv. Feeling sorry for myself and being angry with the other person made me feel good. *grin*

      v. I had a lot of other good things going on in my life to distract me from these regular-but-fortunately-far-apart blips.

      >I also love the C. S. Lewis quote: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8185675@N07/3633152013/
      – It’s the same one, but with your handi(art)work!

      >Great post!
      – Thank you, Jean. In keeping with the, uh, theme of my blog, I wrote this post hoping that it would help someone in some way.

      I have quite a bit to pipe up about in your latest post. Hope I get to it before your new one rolls out on the weekend.

      Kate

      Like

      Comment by For you, Daddy! — Friday, 17 August 2012 @ 8:31 am |Reply

  2. You know, I have to carve out time, and then savor my reading and responding to your posts?? Sometimes I read, reread, and then read again in order to take it all in.

    I’ve had this opened off and on for three days now. 🙂

    Here’s my random thoughts on forgiveness:

    First of all, your parents were right. You already know that.

    Forgiveness is divine. Truly. I have never pulled out a bible verse in a comment, so here goes the first one:
    “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”

    What does that mean? I had my ideas, which were pretty accurate, but thought some REAL commentary would be better:
    (begin quote) “Peter is doing a little bit of showing off here–really trying to impress everyone with how religious he was. In the time of Jesus, the Pharisees,
    Sadducees and rabbis taught that one should forgive an offense or sin three times and not beyond. Your brother or sister sins against you or offends you and you are only required to forgive them three times. You can now cut them off! Three times! Peter comes along, He knows how the religious are trying
    to trap Jesus and arrest Him. Peter has been traveling with Jesus now for three years.

    Peter doubles the number of the rabbis and adds one for good measure, 3 + 3 + 1 = 7! I am sure He is looking for a pat on the back or one of those high fives, knuckles — at-a-boy Peter!

    Jesus’ response is startling! “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Don’t miss this now; it’s not 77 times…but 70…7 times! That’s 490 times. In essence, Jesus is saying forgiveness has no limits. It’s Jesus’ way of saying we should never stop forgiving.” (end quote)

    And what was the last thing Jesus said on the cross?
    “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

    Forgiveness to me, relieves the burden you carry around. The person requiring your forgiveness may not ever feel they did anything wrong. You can’t change their heart, you can only change yours and let it go.

    As always, Kate, your still waters run deep! Thanks for the thoughts and thought-provoking, my friend.

    Like

    Comment by mj monaghan — Wednesday, 22 August 2012 @ 12:42 am |Reply

    • >You know, I have to carve out time, and then savor my reading and responding to your posts??
      – Hmm. Is that a compliment, MJ?

      >Sometimes I read, reread, and then read again in order to take it all in.
      – Right. Not a compliment. Sigh. 😉

      >I’ve had this opened off and on for three days now. 🙂
      – Aw-right! For the determination!

      >First of all, your parents were right. You already know that.
      – Yeah, but not about everything! I still tease Mum about some of the dumb silly things Dad and she made us do, and their even sillier justification when we’d grumble. We all have a good laugh now.

      >I have never pulled out a bible verse in a comment, so here goes the first one:
      – Lucky me!

      But I know what you mean. I, too, am very aware of not being a loud and proud Catholic because I am respectful of other religions and the choice of non-believers. I prefer to let my actions do the talking.

      >“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?
      – When I read this, I knew where you were going and I literally said out loud,”Dude, that ain’t me!

      >What does that mean? I had my ideas, which were pretty accurate, but thought some REAL commentary would be better:
      – Thanks for taking the time to type that long quote because a particular angle (how 70 times 7 came to be) was new to me.

      >(begin quote) “Peter is doing a little bit of showing off here
      – I laughed when I read this because I’m a quite a bit of a Peter show off, too.

      >Peter doubles the number of the rabbis and adds one for good measure, 3 + 3 + 1 = 7!
      – I didn’t know this! Again, this is just a possibility, I know. Still.

      “One for good measure.” Ha ha!

      >In essence, Jesus is saying forgiveness has no limits. It’s Jesus’ way of saying we should never stop forgiving.” (end quote)
      – Yeah, easy for Him to talk. He’s up there now, Lording over us, isn’t He? 😉

      >And what was the last thing Jesus said on the cross?
      >“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

      – Again, this was easy for Him because He knew He was going to retire to His own kingdom, no less. I’d spout a whole lot of memorable lines, too, if I were in his shoes.

      I hope God has a sense of humour because I joke around like this all the time.

      >Forgiveness to me, relieves the burden you carry around.
      – Absolutely! I’m pretty certain it was the physical relief I felt right away that made me begin to forgive as easily as I do now.

      >The person requiring your forgiveness may not ever feel they did anything wrong.
      – Ha ha! This is so true a lot of the times!

      >You can’t change their heart, you can only change yours and let it go.
      – Yes. I not only let go of the angry and condemning thoughts, I tend to back away from the person, too. I forgive, but I do not forget. I prefer not to tempt fate for an encore. That 70 times 7 sh#t stuff is tough to pull off.

      I also want to point out that I do not get angry or judge someone who has harmed someone else; whether I know the victim or not. For the same reasons I forgive the person who has caused me harm.

      >As always, Kate, your still waters run deep!
      – Now that was deep, MJ.

      >Thanks for the thoughts and thought-provoking, my friend.
      – You’re welcome, MJ! The resultant headache is my (perverse) idea of a freebie! 🙂

      Very glad that you, YLB, Panda (I still think the nickname’s cute) and Amber got to soak up the sun* recently.

      Kate

      *Sung to Sheryl Crow’s ‘Soak Up The Sun’.

      Like

      Comment by For you, Daddy! — Wednesday, 22 August 2012 @ 8:26 am |Reply

  3. Yours is a deep, complicated and beautiful soul, my friend. I wholeheartedly enjoyed this latest journey through your past… Thank you.

    Like

    Comment by The Hook — Thursday, 23 August 2012 @ 9:19 am |Reply

    • >Yours is a deep, complicated and beautiful soul, my friend.
      – Your work life is deep, complicated and … not always beautiful, Hook. Then again, that’s a good thing because you now have a book about all that.

      >I wholeheartedly enjoyed this latest journey through your past… Thank you.
      – You’re welcome. Very glad to hear that.

      And good luck with your newest journey with your book – The Bellman Chronicles*!

      Kate

      *P.S.: Other Readers, you could win a copy as well. Here, take a look-see on how and when to go about it.

      http://thebookofterrible.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/106-the-new-demonic-duo/

      Like

      Comment by For you, Daddy! — Thursday, 23 August 2012 @ 11:42 am |Reply


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