Who have you forgiven this year and what was the journey that brought you to forgive them?
I had to think about this a bit, and I am still not sure if my answer is totally in the spirit of the prompt. Despite that, it still feels like the best answer.
The process is far from over, but in 2011, the most significant person I have forgiven is myself.
I have always been hard on myself, when it comes to performance and success. Sometimes I have been guilty of perfectionism. And while holding one's own feet to the fire can be an effective way of initiating progress, one must view one's self correctly and honestly or the same approach can be self destructive. Or at least self-sabotaging.
If one is either unwilling or unable to recognize and accept their limitations, uniqueness and weaknesses, life becomes a series of hit and miss. Goals that go unachieved. Staying in the slow lane, or even being derailed completely. All because we refuse to accept that perhaps there are reasons we are unable to accomplish what we set out to do in the way we set out to do it. And when we fail, we double our efforts to force ourselves into something we are unable to be. Which of course leads to more failure and frustration and depression. And then we feel that we are of little value, which in turn leads us to not think highly of ourselves.
Then the judgement sets in. The ridicule. The chastisement. And that is just the voices in our own heads. We wound ourselves deeply if we are not careful. And at that point, something has to stop the cycle. Forgiveness of ourselves is the best way to do so. This is what I have done in 2011 in certain areas and in varying doses and on different levels of my personality.
For example, one part of me has started to forgive the other part for not being the total success I was "supposed" to be by the time I reached this age. Forgiven me for not having all of the relevant talent. Forgiven me for taking a longer time to learn certain skills and truthes than it takes other people in the same situation. Forgiven me for not being an obvious winner and over-achiever.
But that aspect of me that has been forgiven all of the above must also exercise some forgiveness of its own. It must forgive the other aspect of my consciousness for its unfairness. Its coldness. Its name calling and berating. Its judgement and its dismissal.
And of course the talented, artistic, gifted and at times brilliant aspects of my psyche must forgive them both for being at times so counter-productive.
Then there is the aspect of me that has not gone the extra step in certain key places in my life. I have to forgive the lack of taking the specific risk, and accept that there will be others, and that obsessing over the lost chances will be of no use to me now.
Then there is the forgiveness of the darker thoughts...
As you can see, forgiving ones self is not always a matter of thinking, "I regret having done that one thing, but now I forgive me." It can be a deep, sprawling, multi-faceted introspective process requiring more bravery than you think.
What was the journey that brought you to forgive them?
The journey of course is ongoing. If I wanted to be obtuse, I could say that life itself was the journey. Yet specific to this year, I think a large part of the journey lie in two things:
1) Finishing the first two drafts of my novel. Looking back on that helped me remember that there is a great deal of talent and determination within me when I believe in what I am doing. Something which allows me to create even when nothing else is working.
2) The total failure of my financial goals. Having to move into Mom's spare room for a while. My freelancing business stalling a bit, and my 9 to 5 jobbing being DOA. It made me focus on the fact that something was not working. I will never, ever give up the notion that much of my situation has been due to pure dumb bad luck. And I refuse to drink the "think positive and it will all go away" kool-aid. Yet I did come to realize that some aspect of my journey must not have been as it should be if I could posess so much promise and have so little to show for it over all of these years. There must have been an X-Factor. Or of course a Too XYZ factor.
A few months ago I determined that there are things about myself that I do not yet understand. Things that I should have taken time to explore and with which I should have familiarized myself and sought to understand long ago. I didn't. But being stuck in the mud encouraged me to start to do so. Which led to the first inclination that perhaps I need to consider there are aspects of me that can explain some of my difficuly in grasping certain concepts. And whether or not the can be totally corrected, forgiving myself became an important step in a greater self awareness that I hope will continue and lead to postive things.