Monday, May 1, 2017

April: Be more forgiving.

[I'm not going to lie, this one sat in my drafts for a lot longer than I thought it would. I guess I thought that after singing Let it Go for the last couple years this would come a little bit more easily--but that couldn't be further from the truth. Lucky for me, we're all constantly a work in progress, and I'm better today than I was yesterday, or last week, or last year (I hope), and this is my way of keeping myself accountable.]

Normally, I'm a very trusting person.
I'd rather trust somebody completely from the get-go and give everybody the benefit of the doubt than have loads of reservations about who I could trust with what....

but if anybody does anything that makes it hard to trust them, it's basically game over.

Giving somebody a chance to earn that trust back is something that I've always struggled with.
I have a hard time getting over things that hurt or disappointed me and an even harder time not letting those feelings affect my judgement of that person or situation.

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about something that had been bugging me for a while. After several minutes of ranting, I wrapped it all up with a nice little "but I'm not a bitter."
She looked at me and said, "Well, yeah actually, you are." I argued that no, I wasn't, I was just annoyed and couldn't believe that this thing was happening, blah blah blah. She rolled her eyes and let it go (probably because she knows me and realized it was fruitless), but that night I was reading a talk by Kevin R. Duncan and realized that she was right.

I was bitter. I was still upset. I was letting this situation (and a dozen other ones), things I had essentially no control over, affect how I was feeling and it wasn't doing anyone any good.
Being upset about these things wasn't making me a better person, it wasn't solving the problem, and I can pretty much guarantee that it wasn't causing the other people involved any grief.

Elder Duncan says, "I am convinced that most of us want to forgive, but we find it very hard to do. When we have experienced an injustice, we may be quick to say, "That person did wrong. They deserve punishment. Where is the justice?" We mistakenly think that if we forgive, somehow justice will not be served and punishments will be avoided." 

I put my computer down, opened up my journal, and started making a "let it go" list; a list of everything that was making me a little more bitter, a little less peaceful, and was wasting my time to be worrying about.

I knew when I was done that some were going to be easier than others (duh, Ash).

Some were bugging me because I'm a stubborn person that struggles to admit when I'm wrong; some were on the list because there had never been any resolution to a conflict; some were there because they still hurt and affected me, and like Elder Duncan said, I felt as though there was a punishment or consequence that had not been divvied out.

But, as Elder Duncan also says, "none of us should be defined only by the worst thing we have ever done." 

When somebody does something that hurts you, disappoints you, or causes you to abandon your trust in them, it's hard. Forgiving somebody for those offenses is even harder. But shouldering those feelings when you don't have to is the hardest thing to do.

That's not to say it's easy. Or something that happens quickly (because believe me, there's still a lot of work to be done here, and it's a good thing these New Year's resolutions span 365 or I'd be really slacking), but I do know that even the small improvements I've made have made me a little less bitter and a little more peaceful.

So make like Anna and Elsa and let it go--I promise it will feel better if you do.

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