Tonight a friend mentioned my post from earlier this week about my grandfather. It expanded to a longer conversation about family dynamics and led me down a garden path of family memories that I haven’t traveled in a while. Unlike some of the other experiences I’ve related recently of re-visiting old memories, this was not a pleasant journey. Our conversation weaved in and out of some particularly painful times, places that I do not like to touch in my mind.
In particular, there were some things that went down about ten years ago that still make me very, very angry. It is an anger that has never been spoken to the other people involved because we don’t contact, and honestly I don’t think it would matter even if we did. Instead, I seethe inside at their behavior, the injustices that I perceived, and the wrongs that were perpetrated on me and others. (Yes, I’m being purposely vague because there’s no reason to throw added fuel on the energetic fire – I imagine most of us have some story that could fit within the above description, so just fill in whatever your family story is here. The details don’t really matter.)
As we continued to talk, I realized that even though I know holding this anger is detrimental to me, I don’t really want to let it go. It’s the kind of anger that feels warming. It’s the anger of righteous indignation. It’s the anger that says, “I’m a better person than you.” Ugh. Ick.
So, my friend asked me, are the other people affected by your anger? No.
Does your anger create any positive effect in your life? No.
Why don’t you want to let go of your anger? Because then they get off scot free.
Well that’s a piss poor answer! It’s not as if my anger is holding them on any sort of hook now. Chances are that they couldn’t care less that I’m angry.
The only person being held hostage by my anger right now is me. It’s energy that I’m holding on to that could be used somewhere else, and probably much more beneficially.
So now it’s time to start showing up for myself. It’s time to start the process of forgiveness.
I can’t say that I’m 100% on board the forgiveness train yet. There’s still a part of me that wants to resist and hold the anger because – damn it! – it feels good.
But the larger part of me knows that it is time. So tonight, even though I haven’t surrendered myself fully to the process yet, I can be grateful that the process has started. Because I know this to be true – acknowledgment is the first step to healing.
And so it is.