It’s my last day in beautiful Hawaii…I’m so thankful for the time and space this trip has given me to reflect, connect with my husband and explore this part of the world. Just before we start to pack up and decide what we’re going to do in our final hours on the island, I want to spend a few minutes exploring with you a thought about forgiveness from Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong.
I know you’re probably sick to death of hearing me talk about her book, what with this being the 5th or so post about it but reflecting on her words with you, dear friend, is how I’m able to move the learning from my head to my heart and integrate all the wisdom into my life. So I hope you’ll bear with me. Here’s what she said:
“In order for forgiveness to happen, something has to die. If you make the choice to forgive, you have to face into the pain. You simply have to hurt.”
These words hit me so deeply because of a recent conversation I had with my husband on the night of our second wedding anniversary. We both shared one thing that we’d like the other person to work on, something that impacts our relationship.
I shared with Gregg that it hurts me when he calls me ’emotional’ as I feel that it’s a negative judgement about the feelings that I experience. I said it was fine for him to describe me as ‘complex’ or even ‘complicated’ because I know that I’m both those things, but I think that my emotions are a positive thing and I don’t want them used in a put-down. And to his credit, he hasn’t used this word since.
He then had his chance to share his desire for me and said that he’d like me to forgive him more quickly and not freeze him out when I’m angry. This was not really a surprise, I know I struggle with forgiveness, as described in a fairly recent post about being an Ice Queen.
I don’t want to go all cold and freeze him out, but I was unsure how I could change as it’s how I’ve been for most of my life. When I experience difficult emotions – anger, conflict, disagreement – my go-to pattern is to lock down my feelings, which results in me distancing myself emotionally and can be experienced as a frosty, brittle anger which makes forgiveness so tricky.
And so Brené’s words about forgiveness are a revelation to me in considering how I might become quicker to forgive…it seems that the missing piece in my puzzle is to allow myself to feel the anger, pain and hurt that comes from being in conflict.
Gah, the truth is that this is such a scary prospect and I see that I have coped in the past by putting my feelings on lock-down and shutting myself down.
It’s so scary to face into the possibility of hurt, to let myself feel pain, to not numb out the feeling and instead let myself fully experience the conflict, each moment of anger, the pain.
But I can’t help but feel that Brené’s words are the key to being able to forgive, the key to living a more wholehearted life.
So I’m going to take these thoughts and share them with my life coach and work through, with her help, what this different path could look like for me.
I know this exploration and journey will take courage, grit and determination…but I can’t help but feel that this is the right path on my journey to a life of greater courage, truth and love.