Anger makes you grow smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were. Chérie Carter-Scott
When we forgive, we free ourselves from the bitter ties that bind us to the one who hurt us. Claire Frazier-Yzaguirre
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Mahatma Gandhi
He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven. Lord George Herbert
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. Mother Teresa
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I don't usually carry grudges. A few people in my life have done things to warrant my seething wrath, and when this happens, I may carry that for a very long time. (One lasted about 30 years, but that's another story.) These situations are truly few. I believe what all those quotes say, and I honestly carry forgiveness in my heart most of the time. To be honest, I find that when I don't remain aware of lightening my emotional burden, I fall prey to my own thoughtlessness. I don't want extra baggage; my own is enough, but I can deal with it.
I picked up that little book of Instant Karma earlier today, and my eyes went immediately to that line. It was then that I realized that I was allowing myself to fall into that bad pattern, the self-loaded trap that my own foot was poised over. So I've been thinking.........
The situation I'm referring to is a small thing. Really. It is the kind of thing that I would normally shrug off, but I've let this one begin to burrow under my skin. And it is just beginning to fester. I'm glad I noticed it now so I can avert any further infection in my life.
Let me set the stage a bit. I will be very careful because I live in a small town, and while I don't think anyone even knows about my blog, I don't want to shove my own foot into that ready-to-spring trap. I do have to continue living here. Well, that or lose my investment in this home and an otherwise happy life I have in this gorgeous place.
My toes have been stepped on by a woman. (What is with my "foot" references today??) I don't know why. To my knowledge I've not offended her. I once introduced her by the wrong last name, but apologized quickly and profusely. She stated that she understood (it was an honest mistake, two women I'd just met with same first name, different last names). She even asked me to lunch after that and has made a few other extensions of "friendship," although she doesn't follow up and has always been "too busy" when I've reciprocated.
I don't know, and I haven't from the start, whether I even like this woman. Honestly, I probably don't because I usually like people from the very beginning or I don't. Occasionally my first impression isn't what I learn is the real person, but I'm normally pretty "on." I suppose this should tell me that I don't have enough sense of value in the woman to cultivate a friendship. but I didn't listen to my gut. Partially, I tried to overcome that uneasy feeling because she and I have third person in common for whom I have great regard and wish to establish a deeper relationship. yes, it is a man, but one wit whom I want a friendship, period. And perhaps her goal with him is different, so I am the enemy. I don't know. I suspect it is true.
I know that she has done similar things to other people, usually women, being rude, flippant, disregarding of others, etc. A couple people see her as witty and funny. However, when "wit" and "humor" are at the expense of making others feel embarrassed, stupid, or less valued, I have issues with it. And not just when it is myself. Another woman witnessed some of this and commented to me that the woman has been like this for years, targeting others, especially other women, and while she appears sweet on the surface, there is apparently something bubbling underneath. I agree.
Several times, she had made strange remarks to myself or to others that I don't know how to interpret. My daughter has a friend who had brain damage in a terrible auto accident, and she sometimes says things that sound cold. That I understand because her brain was damaged and she has difficulty with some boundaries. The local woman says similar things, but as far as I know, she has not history of trauma, so I'm usually left blinking and puzzled after such remarks.
To help explain this, I'm going to tell you something that I was planning to say at the end of this month. No big deal when it is revealed. I'm legally changing my name, resuming my maiden name, or as I like to say, my family of origin name. I'm doing it because (1) I'm back where friends still think of me by that name, (2) my current name is very long, doesn't fit well on checks or when signing those electronic readers in stores, (3) my original name is unusual (but not difficult or way out there), of German and Dutch roots; there are many in this area by my current last name but not one by my original name, and since I plan to expand my world of photographic art, the unusual name will be more remarkable and thus remembered. At least I hope. I've begun using the name in non-legal situations to get used to it, and to allow others to do so, pending the legal change on 8/29. I introduce myself by that name to new acquaintances, and I'm slowly advising others as I go along.
At a recent gathering of friends, the woman introduced me to her husband as "Lyn Fliberdygiberdydoo." I shook his hand and said, "Glad to meet you. I'm in the process of legally resuming my family name of 'Wiget,' and while it isn't official yet, it might help if you get to know me by that name." To which she replied, loudly, "Oh, my gawd! I'll never remember that! I'll just have to call you 'Fliberdygiberdydoo,' anyway."
OK, I know it is not an easy thing to change how you think of someone. But when a friend marries and takes another name, don't you adjust? I certainly do. Resuming my family name is an important thing to me, and I felt as if she discounted it in an off-handed manner. I was offended, but thought, OK, it is no big deal, let it go. She had made odd remarks previously, but I didn't dwell on that, either.
Then a couple times since then, she has discounted my opinion/action as unimportant or acted as if I have conducted business without utmost honesty. If you know me, you know that I make effort to be honest and ethical in all I do. To be treated as if I am otherwise has begun to rub. I make mistakes, but I own them when I do. It is especially irritating because she doesn't exactly say anything specific that I could take to task. Rather she implies or somehow skirts the issue, leaving me feeling as if I just stepped into the path of an oncoming train. I tend to stand, mouth agape (really or not, I don't know), without saying anything because my mind is spinning and trying to process what just happened. What she does is a form of social sniping.
And a few days ago, she dropped another of these tidbits, and it shot through to the core. I've been operating with anger and mistrust toward her. Fortunately I don't see her often, but I've actually been plotting how to get even!! Well, now! That's gonna help, isn't it!?!? I've made it my problem, and I need to let it stay in her karma, not mine.
This morning I've decided to handle it by saying to her the next time (and yeah, there will be a next time), "Hmmm. And what makes you say that?" Not that I care a whit, but it will put her words back into her lap and leave me without the anger that ties me to her. I'm practicing it in my head over and over so that when I am caught off guard again (and I will be, because I'm a basically trusting person who thinks it will all be just fine) I can have the words there even if the brain is still whirling in disbelief.
Remembering about karma is a good thing. I'm all about karma. As you know, I believe that what I put out is what I will get back. I'll own my gaffs, but I need to reject the crap floating around, from her or anyone. And when I an slapped in the face with someone else's bad karma, I need to peel it off my face and hand it back, not throw it along with more of my own ugliness. DO NOT PERPETUATE THE NASTINESS!!
I'll chose my friendships. I'll not let them be foisted upon me, especially in a negative atmosphere. I'm keeping my good karma for myself and everyone I meet, regardless of what they are handing out. Maybe someday I'll leave enough there for someone to suck it up and start over with a new attitude, too. Who knows? But I won't allow her insidious nature stop my own happiness. And I won't get pulled into the nasty mode myself. Nope!
Isn't it interesting that Instant Karma is what gave me the heads up?
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Friendships, like marriages, are dependent on avoiding the unforgivable. John D. MacDonald
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... and .............
Life is beautiful!!!