Eleven letters. Fourteen characters. Three words.
I forgive you.
It has been a life-long struggle of mine to say these words and mean them. In my adult years, I have mastered the other three words – I am sorry. Those words were high priority in order to succeed in relationships and also at work. Now, I can say “I am sorry” with conviction. But those other three words – I forgive you – still cause me anguish.
I’m not referring to when someone is late to a meeting and you forgive him for being tardy. No, I am talking about the forgiveness you give when someone you loved blatantly and unequivocally broke your heart. When it comes to a broken heart, I have not mastered forgiveness.
I don’t regret having had my heart broken. In fact, I appreciate it now because it made me stronger and taught me what I deserve. I am also not still in love with him anymore. That’s not what this is about. I have moved on and found love, a deeper love, and I am thankful every moment of my existence. That heartbreak ultimately brought me to Mr. ShuGar.
However, the aftereffects of a broken heart still linger in subtle ways. Sometimes I don’t even realize the scars remain because they are usually hidden and rarely on my mind. When Mr. ShuGar and I have certain arguments, I know that it’s not always what he has done, but what someone else in my past has done to me. Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I understand now that in order for me to release this ghost I must forgive him. Three not-so-easy words.
This is not the time or place to air out my dirty laundry. Nor do I want to bash him. That would mean that I hold resentment and, thankfully, I don’t any more. Yet, experiencing betrayal is earth shattering. It makes you doubt everything from that moment forward and everything before that moment. This is why trust is so valuable. It’s the foundation of a healthy relationship.
The reason I have a hard time with forgiveness is because I wonder if all was just a lie. Was he lying when he said I love you? Was he just using me from day one? What kind of a person betrays and humiliates someone they love like that? These are questions that still haunt me and remain roadblocks in my path towards forgiveness. How can I forgive what someone did to me when I would never do those same things to anyone I loved?
The challenging part is that I cannot get answers. Forgiveness comes despite getting all the answers. This kills me. If I had all the facts, then I could make an informed decision. But, life is not black and white. It’s moments of gray that are nebulous.
I don’t wish him any harm. I actually hope he is happy wherever he is. I hope I can say those three words one day so that I can feel a sense of release. Without forgiveness, there is a weight on your heart. It sometimes clouds your judgment. I know the moment you open your heart, it becomes vulnerable. That is love – a leap of faith. The heart has an amazing capacity to not only heal, but to forgive. I pray my heart mends and embraces those three words one day.
I want to forgive you….one day.
* P.S. A good friend recommended this book about forgiveness – “Forgive for Good” by Dr. Fred Luskin. It’s on my reading list and I will review it once I read it.