This particular post has taken me a longer time to write than anticipated. That is because I am having to draw on some very personal experiences , and as I have mentioned before I am extremely protective of my private life and my privacy, so this is a real challenge for me and it means I am very much out of my comfort zone. I also want to do this in as much of a respectful way as I can, there is a very fine line between blurting out your story and becoming gossip fodder, and writing about experiences with the hope of helping not only yourself come to terms with things, but also hoping you will strike a chord in a positive way with others to help them turn around a situation they may be faced with. My aim is for the latter.
The title of this blog refers the song by ‘Rag ‘n’ Bone man. I heard it a couple of days ago and it inspired me to write this, it made me think about the mistakes we make and also about the mistakes other people make that may leave us with the decision about whether we are going to forgive them or not. It is also about if we are the ones needing forgiveness, when do we draw the line on apologising?, when do we have to stop saying sorry for our mistakes? and when do we stop allowing ourselves to be punished for them. We are all human and we all make mistakes but that doesn’t automatically mean we have to pay for them for the rest of our lives.
In a perfect world wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could enter relationships without any baggage, without any ghosts from the past, without any insecurities, and with only good expectations of skipping off into the sunset and spending the rest of your life in a blissful utopia without ever hitting a bump in the road. A bit like the Wizard of Oz, only there is no cyclone that blows your house away, your dog doesn’t run off , there is no witch trying to steal your shoes and you never have to know what it feels like ‘not to be in Kansas anymore’ … but hey wheres the fun in that??!!!… and look at all the life experience Dorothy gained in 2hrs!. Anyway I digress..
Most of us with more than an ounce of life experience know that this is not the case and it could be due to a number of factors. You maybe in the process of a divorce, you could be in another relationship, you could be in the process of coming out of another relationship..whatever it is, the one thing you can count on is that life is messy and complicated. Life is rarely as straightforward as we may like it to be , but as I have mentioned before, it is how you choose to handle it that makes the difference. I say ‘choose’ because we all have a choice, and we cannot keep blaming other people for the choices we make , that includes blaming the person you have chosen to forgive, if you just can’t truly forgive them.
The first flushes of a relationship are filled with excitement, your wanting to impress the other person, put forward the best ‘version’ of you that you can, maybe there is a little bit of harmless embellishment, its a fun time, filled with positivity and hopes for your future. We don’t necessarily want to reveal our ugly truth at such early stages and nor should we feel we need to , we are in the process of sizing each other up, things may progress or things may fizzle out. There is nothing that says you need to sign a full disclosure agreement before going on a third date!.
Most of us will at some point have embarked on a new relationship where there has not been a clean break from the last, some people embark on relationships whilst still being in another, some people just have multiple partners – but thats another story for another day!!.
Ok time for a bit of truth talk ….Have I ever started a new relationship whilst not fully being detached from a previous one?. Yes I have. Have I maintained contact with an ex partner whilst starting a new relationship?. Yes I have. Guilty as charged. What I have never done is deliberately try to run simultaneous relationships or purposefully try to be deceitful for my own personal gain.
I have made mistakes , and I own every single one of them. I have no problem in admitting to what I have done on any level, but what I wont be accountable for are having my mistakes taken , twisted around , having bits left out and extra bits put in, as the old addage goes ….. ‘why ruin a good story with the truth’.
This is not the place to be going into any detail about my situation personally, as I said at the start that is not what I am here for, but what I can say is that I have never done anything with a wicked or selfish heart. All I have ever tried to do is manage difficult situations and transitions by trying to minimise the pain for all concerned, and I feel very strongly that as long as your intentions are pure there should be no reason why people cannot move forward eventually with love and honesty.
Can you really forgive?.
When you choose to forgive someone and move forward in a relationship this is effectively when the greatest challenge takes place. You have essentially wiped the slate clean and agreed to move forward or at least try to the best of you ability.
It is wholly unfair to say that you forgive someone if you know you haven’t, can’t, or if you already know that you doubt you ever will. To keep that person around and continually punish them by opening old wounds is extremely unfair and extremely damaging. To continuously berate someone for past mistakes when you have agreed to move forward, ceases to be justified frustration and crosses over into unjustified punishment.
Now whilst I understand that you may want to be able to forgive and that walking in and out of relationships isn’t always easy and therefore forgiveness is always worth a try, there has to come a point where if you cannot stop punishing a person for past mistakes you need to accept that and do the right thing and set both you and them free in an amicable and respectful way. Keeping someone around just to make them suffer at every turn, is cruel and unfair not only to them but to yourself and your own wellbeing.
“Holding a grudge dosent make you strong ; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free”
People will work to the boundaries that you set them.
For example , you can’t keep forgiving a partner who is repeatedly unfaithful and then continue to blame the partner when they continue to be unfaithful, if your boundaries are ‘I know you have always been unfaithful but I will keep forgiving you anyway because when I put my head in the sand and choose not to see it, we have quite a comfortable life‘ then I am afraid as the saying goes ….
‘You can’t keep dancing with the devil and wondering why your still in hell’.
This also works in the other way , and this is certainly my experience, you need to know when to stop falling on your sword. When to stop saying sorry, and also when to stop allowing your own sense of guilt to let you be a victim of someone else rage. You have to know when to recognise if someone is capable of admitting they are unable to forgive you and if they can’t, you need to recognise it for yourself and get out of a potentially very destructive situation.
Lets be adult about it.
At the end of the day, we are all adults. We all have a past , and the older we get the more ‘past’ we have. The key is being able to carry the past and move forward in a positive way. If you want to move forward with someone that means moving forward, it doesn’t mean punishing them for previous relationships or mistakes that happened along the way.
I am a firm believer that we all have a soul mate. I also believe that we may not all ever meet our soul mate. If we are lucky we will get to spend some time with them during our lives, and if we are really lucky we will get to end out days with them. One of my favourite films is ‘Bridges of Madison County’, films like that are not made because everybody who wants to be together ends up together!!.
There may be crossover in relationships , you may be with someone who still has love for someone else , you may be with someone who still finds it hard to talk about someone in their past, you may be with someone who is still intertwined with someone through children or through family members, but if that person is with YOU , they are with YOU, they have chosen YOU. Cherish it. Trust it.
Love their love and don’t ruin your time together by becoming consumed by their past, don’t continually try to break down a love they have for someone in their past, or compare the strength of love, cherish them for who they are today and where they choose to be. We should all be afforded our own privacy and private memories, they shouldn’t be fair game and have to be laid bare and destroyed in order to move forward in a new relationship.
Forgiveness is Freedom. Choose to be in the present and choose to be happy. Choose to shine. If you cannot choose this, then choose to move on.
With love, as always xxx