February Month 2: Forgiveness (Part Three)

Challenge: Forgive
Charity: C-R-Y
Total £ accrued: £877.80
Status: It could have gone better!

The Second Challenge: Forgiving Continued…

The man in the rain, surrey, uk
From the outset I knew this month would be a challenge and boy was I right! If I didn’t already know this, I certainly know it now; I suck at forgiving. I really do. Not only does it seem to be my built-in instinct not to forgive, but also setting a challenge like this seemed to be asking for trouble.

Not even 24 hours passed before the first opportunities to forgive presented themselves to me (emphasis on the “ies to let you know there were more than one and FYI they were not easy ones either!). And I didn’t actually want to let them go. It was like a stubborn part of me refusing to participate just out of protest, even though ordinarily (I felt anyway) I could have potentially let it go a lot sooner. So that’s where the initial £4 came from – I have dealt with it now (phew) so the challenge continues.

Tip: If you are going to do this month, it takes some emotional prepping (which I wish I had done).

Setting the Bar High

As this new challenge begun, I started to see and hear a LOT about forgiveness everywhere I went. And maybe I just wasn’t tuning in to it before but it felt strangely as if I was doing what I was meant to be doing.
Not long into it I came across this article featuring my close friend’s amazing dad, David.
This set the bar extraordinarily high for me because Michelle was such a close friend of mine, and I knew the devastating loss that we all suffered when she was killed in that fatal car accident. The gap she left in all of our lives is incomparable and this can only be more intensely so for her family, especially her parents.
Reading this article, I couldn’t help but shed a tear as it resonated with me so strongly in this month. This really gave me perspective, and difficult as I had been finding it to forgive others, it really was nothing in comparison to this.

A Challenging Process

I did not realise just how challenging this process would be and naively I thought I could “wing it” this month. After all, all I had to do was forgive everything right?
I just had to go against what I have been conditioned to do (whether it was by friends, family, society or my own life experiences) for 25 years!
In the spirit of forgiving myself, I reminded myself that forgiveness is a journey of self-transformation. In hindsight perhaps a month is too short for something so vast, which is why I am going to carry this attitude forward into next month.

Here’s what I thought it would be like:

  • Wake up every morning with a smile on my face
  • Instantaneously forgive when someone does me wrong
  • Understand more so I will not take offence
  • Take a moment at the end of the day to think about the events of the day and purposefully let go of things that have hurt me (it was once described to me as envisioning a balloon being released & watching it float away with all of my problems)
  • After forgiving everyone I would bless them (i.e. wish them well)

Photo Credit: bhmpics.com

Here’s what it was actually like:

  • Wake up every morning grumpy AF
  • Instantaneously add to hit list if you piss me off
  • Understand the full meaning of every swear word
  • Go to bed each night with a visual of letting go of balloons one by one for each person that had pissed me off that day. “That one’s Gladis for the coffee she spilt on me, I hope her balloon lands in a scalding tank, this is for ‘Bob the builder’ who cut me up in traffic, I hope his balloon gets cut up by a plane, and here’s to Reginald for pointing out the ginormous spot on my face… I’ll just draw a gargantuan penis on his balloon and everyone can laugh at him.”
  • I would then lie there in bliss with a serene smile on my face as I visualised their balloons floating away towards the fate that karma had in store for them and sigh contently, having let it all go… sort of.

The Conclusion

Success rate: 55% (6 grudges over 12 days – 1 held for 1 week, others 2 days)
Cost per fail per day: £1
Money raised for charity: £17

Overall I sucked!

Forgiveness is a long journey and one you have to be patient with yourself with. I was not purposeful enough and did not give enough attention to the “how to” of it all. And that’s where most of my failures lay (OK there and in self control). The minute I told myself that I HAVE to forgive, no part of me was willing to comply. So a number of times I have held onto things much longer than I wanted to and certainly longer than I needed to.

Having said that, I have increased my awareness of living and breathing forgiveness in my everyday life. I have become more understanding and empathetic to an extent and I am definitely going to keep going with this one as I don’t feel I am where I need to be just yet. I am pleased to say that although I did not forgive as instantaneously as I wanted to, I have been able to decide to “wipe the record” with all of the “key offenders” in my life and start anew, with a fresh slate from 1st March. Hurrah!

Next: March – Positivity & Thankfulness

5 thoughts on “February Month 2: Forgiveness (Part Three)

  1. Loved reading this Mary! This and the story about your friend made me think about restorative justice . I’m not sure if that’s what her Dad did exactly but think it’s a very interesting process.


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