A Win-Win

When I was younger, I had seen myself many times but we had never met. It wasn’t that I lacked self-awareness or even orientation. It had everything to do with the way I viewed myself in relation to others. Never did I think that people were out there for the taking, but I hadn’t ever considered the possibility that those around me were just as capable of hurting themselves as they were of hurting me. It’s ironic that we’re disappointed most often by the people we expect the most from, and it just isn’t fair to score someone against an impossible record. The greatest lesson is that no relationship has to be lost on you.It was very recently that I began understanding the notion of investment. And when you invest in relationships, you aren’t reaping someone else’s crop. You’re actually feeding your own.

When I love, I love in limbs; I always thought that had to be the height of investment. The truth that no one ever shares with us is that when you build something with the people around you, the stakes are as much in your court as they are in theirs, which is exactly why you can never lose. Not even if they break your heart or disappoint you. We may lose ties, but we can learn to not lose ourselves, even when it seems the whole world is in disapproval of us. In my own eyes, I had something hideous. My entire sense of self had eroded.

The loss of a good friend made a light in me dim. I had shrunken into a shadow of myself. Less than a wallflower, I was a stain. This ugliness had spread into the far reaches of my life and it was easy to see that I had let myself go.

It takes a lot of pain to split your own self and pit both sides against each other.

The guilt of resentment has broken me many times over and I’m sure it will a few more. Every time it has, all that could soothe me was forgiveness, even when I didn’t want it near me. For so long, I refused to forgive unfortunate situations for what they were, so they would sit in me so long that when I forced them out, they would never really leave me.

So when I forgave, I let myself heal.

In that, I began to see not only my shortcomings, but also the beautiful things given to me in what I had just lost. There’s an under-appreciated melancholy in that, and I think we need to honour it better. I believe in an Almighty God who is my deliverance from suffering, and in that belief, I honour the hurt as significant, but not all-consuming. We all have a vessel, and that is mine. I find solace in knowing that growing and shedding is promised so long as I live, and maybe I’ll do it enough times that I will learn to enjoy it.

There were people who inspired me and shared with me their love, their trials and their lives. Somewhere, the love was lost. Shedding the resentment I felt towards so many people on the other end of my failed relationships gave me back the right to continue.  I am still a strong believer in anger’s validity, but I can appreciate that the capacity to do without it may be one of the greatest tools a person can carry through life. Peace of mind is something we all need, and forgiveness is the reassurance that we are all privy to that peace of mind.


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