Cast of Characters
One evening, you're having a "conversation" with Someone, and it's not a nice one, and things are said to each other which cause an enormous lightbulb go off in your head as you suddenly understand the full extent of someone's dishonesty. Except the dishonest someone isn't the person with whom you're conversing, it's Someone Else. You realize that out of a gripping fear of making mistakes, out of an inability to cope with them, out of a lack of self-confidence, out of an inability to stand up for themselves, Someone Else lied. Not just to you but also to the Someone with whom you're engaged in a not-so-nice "conversation". You realize it because a year ago, something happened involving all three of you. Someone was told story A while you were told story B. Someone Else was afraid to be honest with either of you, and the really shit part is that as a result of Someone Else's lying, you stopped talking to Someone.
The really really shit part is realizing this is the case not simply because of the conflicting stories told by you and Someone. You realize this is the case because Someone Else had told you directly that they had issues with honesty a long time ago. And in fact, there were dozens of times you'd caught Someone Else hiding the truth from you, denying the truth, or not telling the full story about things that had happened. You'd told Someone else more than once that a difficult truth upfront was so much easier to handle, so much better than discovering a lie later, and asked for honesty.
So now that this veil has dropped, you begin to see holes. You hadn't seen them before, you'd hoped they weren't there or that they'd been patched, but they weren't. And there were also times you ignored them entirely, but they were there. You know that you weren't the only one who was lied to, that the web of lies Someone Else wove was large and extensive. It hurts. It rails against the nature of the soul you saw in Someone Else. You feel angry and betrayed. You feel confused and heartbroken, and you find that you don't even trust your own feelings in this matter, whether they be from head or gut or heart.
You feel lost. You were always, always honest with Someone Else. You made a point of it, in fact...no, not so much made a point of it, but wanted to be. *Always* wanted to be honest, because Someone Else was so very very important to you, and if there was one thing you'd knew for sure it was that being honest and upfront (and compassionate though you certainly had trouble with that, but generally, so does everyone) was the best way to avoid difficult situations turning into Very Hurtful and Damaging Situatons. You knew this because after years and years and years of being lied to and, in turn, lying to others yourself, you understood the sting which could accompany honesty was nothing compared to the gut punch of lies and betrayal, as it causes far less damage and is far easier to heal.
The truth is that you really, honestly loved Someone Else very deeply and with all of your heart despite all of it, and despite it all, you still love them now. You love Someone Else so very much, despite their flaws. Maybe even because of them, because you also have flaws and want to be loved despite them. You yearn for compassion and understanding. But now you find yourself facing a new truth: that you've lost trust in Someone Else. You long for Someone Else, you grieve that they are gone, you miss them from your hair follicles to your toenail molecules, but you realize you no longer trust them. You hate it. You hate yourself for it. You love Someone Else so deeply, but now those feelings of love come accompanied by a cold unease which sits squarely in your belly. You hate that too. You doubt yourself because of it. You doubt your feelings, even your sanity, because of it. You're very sick from that gut punch, so you struggle daily with leaving the door cracked or allowing it to close completely, not knowing which is the right choice.
The thing is, quite recently, Boogedy Shit happened in your life which dropped your own veil and forced you to realize you had been hiding the truth from yourself, denying the truth to yourself, or not allowing yourself to admit the entire story. You came face to face with every mistake you ever made, every lie you ever told to others and to yourself. You suffered immense pain once you realized just how extensively you betrayed yourself, and how doing so led to the suffering of people you cared for a great deal. You hated yourself for causing others pain, and you hated yourself for causing your own pain.
You struggled to accept, to realize, to face the truth, to keep your head above water. You fought even though you desperately wanted to give up, and it seemed no one could see you how close you were to drowning when you were. And when you almost drowned, twice, you survived not because someone gave you a hand, but because some instinct made you fight to stay afloat. It was horrible, terrifying, painful. It turned your entire life upside-down and caused you to lose sight of who you are as you became a shadow of what you were. In reality, you did drown. You had to shed who you were to survive, to stop yourself from sinking to the bottom. Instead, who you were sank to the bottom and drowned, and what was left emerged at the surface exhaused, shaken, confused, and terrified. There's sun on the water, and it's reflecting in your eyes and blinding you as you tread water and tread water and tread water and even though your limbs feel like they are about to fall off you're still paddling because is that land over there?
You've known in your mind that no matter how deeply you love Someone Else it's up to them to discover their truths and listen to their heart, but in this moment that understanding floods into your entire being. It's up to Someone Else to decide if they are able and willing to put forth the effort it takes to make a journey, and it's up to Someone else to decide what that journey will be and which path to follow. In the end, it's their faith in themselves which will determine the path, keep them going, and allow them to reach the endpoint. Not your assistance, not your love, not your belief. Not your knowledge. Even if you're right. Even if the truth is that they CAN do it, that it IS possible, in the end it's all them. You know this well because you've been through it before with another, another who couldn't and/or wouldn't choose another way, and even though you believed it was possible, they didn't or couldn't, or didn't want to. In the end, they didn't want to make the effort, they felt it wasn't fair, they felt they shouldn't have to work so hard, so they stopped trying, and it broke your heart.
You knew it well because you've been through it with yourself, you've smashed up against that wall repeatedly, desperately trying to find a way around it and failing over and over again until eventually you felt it wasn't worth the effort, because no matter how much effort you put forth you'd never get there. You believed you'd never do it, and so you stopped trying. You saw Someone Else trying, you knew they were, and you believed in your heart it was possible even as you saw them hitting that wall over and over again and feelings of futility began to pile up in both of you, and then Someone Else decided it wasn't worth the effort, or it wasn't possible, and they couldn't or didn't want to do it. You watched them give up, and once again, it broke your heart. But there was nothing you could do to make it happen then, and there's nothing you can do to make it happen now. All you can do is be authentic to yourself and continue to love Someone Else deeply, for as long as that love exists.
You know that what finally allowed you to break through was changing your belief that you couldn't. One day you believed it was possible and you made the choice to do whatever was required to make it happen. That choice, and the effort it took (and is taking) was yours alone to make and to give. Even when those you loved believed you could break through and so desperately wanted you to for so many years, you didn't or couldn't make that choice because you believed, or made yourself believe, that it could never happen. You were heavy, and you sank, until one day you couldn't take it anymore, and a spark of hope ignited inside of you, and you chose.
And then another lightbulb appears in your head. You realize it's actually been on the whole time but you didn't notice it because it was so dim. But the longer you look at it, the brighter it gets, and you begin to see that you and Someone Else may be on different paths, but you share a common journey. You begin to feel and comprehend more than just your own pain, but also Someone Else's. You've both quaked with fear, you've both lost trust and respect, you were both terrified of abandonment, of being alone, you both saw no escape, and you both were so desperate for an end to the suffering, which both of you experienced as well as gave, in much the same way.
Then you remember the other day when you decided to buy the book Desmond Tutu wrote about forgiveness. You remember how hard you cried working your way through the introduction, and the more you think about it, the brighter that bulb gets. Brighter still as you re-read these words:
There have been times when each and every one of us has needed to forgive. There have also been times when each and every one of us has needed to be forgiven. And there will be many times again. In our own ways, we are all broken. Out of that brokenness, we hurt others. Forgiveness is the journey we take toward healing the broken parts. It is how we become whole again.
And now that lightbulb has grown very bright, bright enough that you notice a mirror below it, illuminated by it. When you look into that mirror, you see Someone Else's face looking back at you. You finally understand the truth, and as this undestanding spreads through your heart, the pain, anger, disappointment, and grief that has been so heavy begins to feel lighter, begins to loosen. Not entirely, not completely. There is still so much grief, so much pain, but it has finally begun to move. You've come to a key point on the path you chose, the path of Forgiveness. You thought you would find someone else on this path, but when you came to this point, you found yourself waiting there. So you take a break, sit down next to yourself, and begin to heal.
You know that the pain of honesty is easier to heal because it is rooted in love, respect, trust, and understanding. It's not only others with whom you need to be honest, it's yourself. It's not just others you need to trust, it's yourself. It's not just others you need to respect, it's yourself. Most importantly, it's not just others you need to forgive, it's yourself. Forgiving your own flaws and mistakes, forgiving yourself for what you've done to hurt others and what you've done to hurt yourself leads you to the abilty to forgive others. Especially when the ways others have hurt you are the same ways in which you've hurt them, or hurt others before. And you realize if you can't even face the wrongs you've committed or if you don't forgive yourself for them, you'll forever chain yourself to them and allow yourself to be dragged down by them, sinking. And when others wrong you, you'll lash those chains around those wrongs and those people and be dragged down. You'll sink.
The path of forgiveness is exhausting and has often taken every ounce of courage and strength you've had. It has become so difficult at times as to make you think you chose incorrrectly, and wish you'd never chosen it in the first place. But now you do know, your heart knows, your soul knows. You're in the right place at the right time, you've made the right choice, and so you continue.
You continue to love Someone Else deeply and with all of your heart, despite it all. You allow the universe to send that love through to them, with the idea that Someone Else can heal too, that Someone Else can be strong, can be confident, can clearly hear their heart, and can succeed where they think they have failed. You send off a prayer that whatever path Someone Else has chosen, whatever path they're on, they can get to that place...but it's up to them to choose.
-=:because you also have flaws and want to be loved despite them:=-