Several nights ago, Jack and I got into a lengthy discussion about our relationship. After 20 minutes of “honestly” telling each other what we felt was missing, how we had been disappointed, discouraged, angry, hurt, and generally dissatisfied, we both felt horrible. The more we talked about what was wrong (in an attempt to correct these shortcomings) the worse we felt.
I know this truth: look for what is wrong and you will find it. Attempt to solve problems or clear misunderstandings from a place of unhappiness and all of the negative, crappy, old complaints will jump on that train and take you on a ride to hell.
As we sat on the couch feeling more and more deflated, we decided to try something different and began to talk about what we appreciated and loved about each other. Within a few minutes, our energy lightened, and just like when we talked about what we didn’t like, and more examples popped up to confirm that we were in fact a mess, as we talked about what was good, fun, loving, caring, wonderful, surprising, delightful, and happy, more memories, stories, and occasions presented themselves as well.
In 15 minutes, we went from discouragement to actual happiness about where we were as a couple, and even where we had been.
What I know is that anyone can do this. You do not need special training or any skill other than a genuine desire to see yourself and “the other” with new eyes. If you can’t sit down with the person who you believe is causing you so much pain, then do this in your mind. Imagine having the new, positive, conversation and do it until your energy changes.This is what I believe true forgiveness is.
There is a self-defeating human tendency to not want to think anything good about the person we blame for our unhappiness. It can almost feel like we will loose our leverage (anger, resentment, etc.) if we see the good in them or forgive them…especially if we don’t think that this will be reciprocated. But if we don’t do this, we will end up bitter, small, and more fearful, believing that we need to protect ourselves from further injury.
Love is the only power strong enough to protect us from harm, and the field of Love is accessed through the open mind…and heart.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.” Martin Luther King, Jr.