Recently, I attended an event where I knew others would be who have deeply hurt me. The purpose of attendance was in honoring someone very special to me, which was the driving force behind showing up in the first place.
Prior to this, I felt peaceful and as though I had moved forward from the hurt. That was short lived, as I realized that even though I had forgiven, it still heavily weighed on my heart. This was a real physical manifestation of my heart beating heavily and tidal wave of anxiety.
My husband is my biggest champion and constantly pushes me to grow. I was speaking with him about my feelings, and he kept telling me that the toxicity I felt from things that happened several years ago were only weighing me down. He said it was time to let go. But I have! I said. No you haven't, he replied.
After leaving the event, we decided to head to one of our favorite places. We arrived, picked out our favorite beer, and sat down in the beer garden where a woman was enjoying the beautiful afternoon just as we were. We immediately started a conversation with her, and she introduced herself to us as Lisa. The conversation was authentic, and the three of us easily discussed all things from our shared love of beer, our values, and how the messiness of people often create something out of nothing, when our only real intention is to have honest and loving relationships. How messed up things get, our new friend said, when you refuse to openly communicate. How scewwed things are understood when you translate a text, rather than look someone in the eye and have a conversation. And how damn easy it is to sit down, grab a beer with that person, and figure it out, said Lisa.
Soon after, a gentleman strolled in with his dog and joined us. He introduced himself as Gary. The conversation continued, and we stayed about an hour longer than we intended. As we hugged our new friends goodbye, Lisa said, I just have to tell you kids how refreshing it is to meet people like you who enjoy talking with us, I've really enjoyed our conversation.
That experience was exactly the opposite of what had happened earlier. That experience was exactly what we needed.
The past few months have been a struggle, due to a lot of transitions and the loss of a core friendship. The loss was completely related to mishandled miscommunication, and I still feel sad about it. Sometimes, when I'm feeling really sorry for myself, I talk to my husband and ask, what's the point of making friendships and giving people pieces of your heart when 9 times out of ten they stomp all over it?
He usually responds by saying that analysis might be a little dramatic, and then reminds of of people like our new friends Lisa and Gary.
Really, when people are willing to have a vulnerable conversation and handle the messiness, it simplifies everything. It's people that make it messy to begin with, but it is also people that can make it better and simplify it. And the people that do that are always worth it.
You can forgive people who have hurt you, but you can also still have emotional or physical reactions to whatever hurt that was. That's why I believe there is a significant difference between the two. It doesn't mean you are not a forgiving person if you still feel hurt about what happened. Forgiveness is first a choice, and so is letting go. I had to live in that hurt and then experience the opposite of that before I could really let it all go. I had to consciously focus on both forgiving and letting go. I'm far from perfecting this, but I am determined to no longer let those negative emotions live inside that past hurt.
It's scary to let people in and show them who you really are, because sometimes they do abandon you. That is why the art of letting go is so important. Love them, let them go, and maybe someday the messiness will be cleaned up. Maybe not. But the ones who want to clean it up, will.
To maintain my sanity and peace, I have to let go.
Ariel is a part-time freelance blogger, web designer, and SEO consultant. She is 23 years young, married to her soulmate, and a proud "mother" to boxer Bruce and yorkie Dexter. She focuses on writing content that is raw and relatable. If you would like to contact her for either design or writing, you may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.