cheerful elderly man listening to music in headphones

Maya Says Forgive

“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is to be present in the present. Gratefully.” Maya Angelou

I know forgiveness is a hot-button for most survivors of abuse. To ask us to heap some kind of magic, squishy love all over the offender is stacking on more offense. Consequences and accountability are essential when one person chooses to use another as their personal perverted playground, ignoring the victim’s humanity. If the Creator of the Universe expects that person to come to them with a heart of true remorse, who do I think I am to give them a pass?

As for me? I have to forgive myself.

For decades I have treated myself as Less-Than, as second-tier, as Defective. Why? Because I have struggled with mental health issues, because I am not simply Strong. My own personal “hero’s journey” has looked more like a child afraid to step off of her own porch. Beware the boogeymen (possibly) lurking on the other side of that rose bush! I’m a low-risk sort of girl.

Looking back at my own past, I judge. I judge my inability to keep myself safe, to keep my children safe, to guard our mental or physical health adequately. I judge my dissociating, my means of escaping situations instead of dealing with them head on.

I judge. I judge that I am the eternally flawed one.

The more I’ve learned about myself and the Marvelous World of Mental Health, the more I have judged.

It’s time to forgive myself. To appreciate what my mind did to cope with bad situations, how it tried to keep me “safe” in the only way it knew how. It’s time to thank it and move fully into the present.

Stacks of books have always surrounded me. I love escape fiction, immersing myself in another person’s life. I also love to learn about the way my mind works. When I am struggling to focus, to concentrate, I love to listen instead of read. I’ve started following Monique Koven’s podcast and it’s been a Godsend. Soothing balm for my chapped soul. She’s a certified trauma recovery coach and was a social worker for 25 years. Yesterday while chopping vegetables I listened to these three episodes.

I hope you’ll also listen and learn–if not for yourself, to better understand someone you love.

The self-forgiveness started to flow more cleanly. My mental health issues? Part of the human condition. I’m not alone.

My current focus is to live more fully in the present. To see, to hear, to feel with all of me. To be “present in the present. Gratefully.” To step off the porch, to smell the flowers. I hope you’ll join me.

The bring your own beverage conversation: What in yourself have you judged? How has that kept you from loving your wonderful self?

there is no one else who brings exactly what you do to this world–love and appreciate yourself!

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