Forgiving is not condoning- Part 2

1. Introduction

Thanks so much for all the feedback in regard to my last newsletter on forgiveness. Great food for thought. One reader in particular wrote back saying (edited here)
“Well, when we forgive our parents, it’s only half the total job.
No doubt, just as we were hurt by our parents’ behavior, there have been many times, when knowingly, or unknowingly, we too hurt them.
In order to finish the task at hand, we need to first seek to forgive ourselves, and then ask for the forgiveness of our parents.”

This created some intense food for thought, and has led to this week’s newsletter.

Thanks again to everyone, for so much wonderful support!

Also, I want to say “Hi!” to my friend Joey who connected with me via the internet after nearly thirty years.


2. Announcements

1. Self Employment Telesummit
My friend Molly Gordon is hosting a Self Employment Telesummit this fall. 12 compassionate experts will be showing newly self-employed people how to put a lid on overwhelm. Molly is a wonderful, talented lady.

2. Seishindo Embodied Presence Workshop
“Calm and Confident in times of stress”

with Charlie Badenhop
Washington DC Metro Area, 24-26 June 2009

This stress-management workshop is meant for coaches, consultants, and leaders.
It will be a good fit for you if you’d like to:
• Better manage your health, awareness, and well-being.
• Help teach your clients to do the same.
• Come away with a new set of tools, especially helpful in troubling times.
• Increase the scope of conversations you’re able to have with clients.
• Develop a deeper connection and more participatory relationship with your clients, then words alone can offer.

3. Forgiving is not condoning- Part 2

In taking the time to look back on my younger years, I’m aware that I was really a difficult child to manage.
At the time, I felt like I “had my reasons”.
First and foremost, I was at some point a child in puberty, and that in and of itself can prove a lot for most every child.
Next, I was rebelling against what I experienced as “unfair” treatment.
Add in my often over-indulging in alcohol, and trouble was more or less guaranteed to occur.

What happens at such times is similar to washing a white shirt in hot water with coloured laundry. You wind up with everything looking somewhat the same. There’s no purity any more!

As a child I felt righteous, and I very much condoned what I did. After all, “I was just looking to get even!”. I must say, I did indeed feel quite blameless. And that sense of not being responsible for my actions in regard to my father, stayed with me through all these years.

Now, I’m beginning to have a different understanding of things. I’m beginning to understand the active role I played in creating a bad relationship with my father.

Even now as I write this, there’s a part of me wanting to say “But wait a minute!” A part of me wanting to justify what I did, and supply “valid reasons” for my behaviour. Stopping this internal dialogue is no easy task at the moment. I still want to default to a righteous response, so I have little choice but to sit here for a while and let my thoughts cycle through. Taking some deep breaths, and waiting until I hear myself say something that is not simply a repetition of things I have said so many times before.

The first thing I see is that I can find it much easier to forgive myself, than it was for me to forgive my father. After all “I was only a kid. What could you expect!”. I still want to default to having an airtight alibi!

Hmm. So I sit here some more, breathe deeply, and wait…

I find myself shifting to thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and their powerful message of non-violence. They made a promise to not fight injustice with violence, and this leads me to understand that I was indeed violent towards my father in many ways. I was tricky and deceitful, but violent none the less.

I must say, I find these thoughts rather surprising!

What I’m wanting to do now, is liberate myself and my parents, from the tyranny of the past.

In order to do this I need to fully let go of all of the reasons I’ve held onto.

Getting to this place I find myself rather uncomfortable in asking for forgiveness. I could say I feel embarrassed, but it’s something more than this. Perhaps it has to do with letting go of reasons, and reason.

So let me just plunge in and say “Dad, I’m sorry for all the hateful things I did over the years, and I ask for your forgiveness.”

Saying this leads me to feel a bit awkward for sure. But now I’ve spoken these words for the first time, and this is important.

Now let me wait patiently for his response.

Do I condone what I did to my father? No, I would never want to condone any child abusing their parents.

It’s important to remember though, that “asking for forgiveness” and “condoning” don’t at all need to go hand in hand.

Asking for forgiveness is in many ways a selfish act. The more I ask, the happier everyone involved can become. Believe me, it’s a task well worth the effort!

Yours in forgiveness,

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