A Heavy Load

For Note to Self book events, it’s important to find a commonality that levels the playing field and places all of us on the same page. That’s why I typically talk about non-forgiveness. It’s one of the heaviest loads (emotional baggage) we can carry or drag with us. I usually start by saying:

Hint #4 — There’s no commuter train service in my sabbatical location.

Every single person in this room, without exception, will need to extend forgiveness to someone at some point in their life for something the other person did or failed to do. 

Likewise, every single person in this room, without exception, will need to receive forgiveness from someone at some point in our lives for something we did or failed to do.

Then I read a passage from Note to Self that begins on page 116. If you have a copy, you may want to check it out.

Has extending forgiveness, or the lack thereof, played a role in your health and wellness?

Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”

© lauriebuchanan.com

41 thoughts on “A Heavy Load

  1. Long ago I learned that resentment weighs too heavy on the heart and shoulders. I keep short accounts now, the healthiest way to live.

    God knows where you are, Laurie. I’m still in the dark although judging from the length of time you are allowing, it could be a writers’ residency . . . . Hmmmmm!

  2. I find that to forgive someone once is easy; we all make mistakes after all, but when the same person keeps hurting us time and time again, to the point of being bullying, whether it is physical or phychological, that’s a differnt matter altogether and I am not good or wise enough to forget and forgive, I just keep away.

  3. Fatima is right on. If someone says sorry, I’m almost always ready to forgive and put the insult or slight (sometimes it was unintentional) behind me. If it continues, that person wasn’t sincere and is probably toxic to my well-being. Then it’s time to cut bait.

    Many say forgiveness should be freely given, even if the offender shows no remorse and continues the behavior. I’m not in this camp, and I don’t think not forgiving certain people has added at all to my life’s baggage. If anything, it’s freed and empowered me. No one should have to put up with a bully. We all need forgiveness at one time or another. I’m ready to apologize if I’ve hurt someone unintentionally and expect the same. Some people can never say those simple words, “I’m sorry.”

  4. I think there’s a distinction that needs to be made about forgiveness. We often assume that forgiveness means accepting the behavior, letting it go and loving and trusting the person as before. I’ve come to believe there is a level of forgiveness that is something different and almost always is about forgiving ourselves. When we forgive ourselves for making ourselves vulnerable to a person who hurts us, and look within to see what brought us to this place to begin with, then we are more likely to achieve distance and perspective. With this distance, we see more clearly the wounds of the other and how they came to be who they are, where forgiveness in our hearts can take place. Letting go of the person, or keeping them in our lives is a choice, that almost doesn’t matter. If, however, we carry hurt, anger, resentment and bad feelings about the person with us (baggage) then there is still more work to be done! (On ourselves!)

  5. I am usually quick to forgive, but there have been times when a Willie Nelson song plays in my head – “forgiving you is easy, but forgetting takes a long, long time”. Fortunately, there have not been many of those.

  6. Laurie, excellent question and I really appreciate the thoughtful comments you have received. I’ve had to learn to forgive the persons and hopefully, to forget the incidents that have caused me heartache and pain in the past. I refuse to be pulled down by the vagaries and inconsistencies of the emotional stress and unwellness that plague certain other people. You know the kind, “I feel bad so I am going to be sure everyone around me will feel bad as well.” Don’t want it, don’t need it, won’t have it. Accidental happenings do require forgiveness, for your own sake if nothing else, but malice, spite and discontent are malodorous fungi that should be eradicated the minute they become noticeable lest they disfigure and possibly ruin an otherwise wonderful life. Forgiveness is a balm to the open wound in your own heart, forgetting insures that it will not leave a disfiguring scar. Jesus said that it is best to forgive your neighbor 70 times 70, Jesus is a much better person than I am though, I find it more peaceful to put many miles between me and the offender!

  7. I was just discussing “forgiveness” in the context of a response to the great film FENCES with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. It is integral to the film’s denouement, and themes. But I have indeed been in this position before and I feel I have always done the right thing. I would suppose most people who know me will actually criticize me for being far too easily willing to forgive. Alas, this is part of my nature, and I will probably never change.

  8. Last evening coming home from Jewelia’s 21st in Wellington we very nearly had a head on collision with a truck overtaking another truck in light rain and I had to go off road to avoid a collision.

    I need to forgive that driver for almost killing us, and I have largely done so, though I would still like to identify him, just to be certain he is aware of just how close he came to causing two deaths, and can learn a lesson from that.

    • Ted — Holy Toledo! I’m so glad you two are okay thanks to your quick thinking in swerving off the road.

      I wonder if the truck driver was switching stations, using a cigarette lighter, or texting. He or she probably isn’t even aware that they nearly left carnage in their wake. I’m so glad you and Ailsa came out of it unscathed.

      Happy birthday to Jewelia! 🙂

  9. I wish I could be there in person to enjoy one of your talks, Laurie. Fingers crossed, one day I will be.

    Has extending forgiveness? And how. But thanks to some wise people, I feel like I’m growing closer to it every day. One of the biggest hurdles I’ve had to jump was forgiving myself.

  10. I am glad I had the opportunity to be in the room with you Laurie as you guided us through the exploration of non-forgiveness. This is a moment in time especially in need of such exploration.

    I do agree with Dorothy Sanders above in this stream of comments; forgiveness does start with me. I may forgive myself for, as Pema Chodron defines, “getting hooked” which may lead to my closing down of compassion and possibly reacting toward the other person. I can forgive myself lightly (saying to myself “oh it’s that bugaboo again”) especially if the situation is minor. Or, I may spend a great deal more time with myself if a deeper dimension of the issue (whether a vulnerability or something else) is triggered. In this type of situation, even self-forgiveness may not come quickly.
    Then, for me, I can forgive the other party for their contribution and be “free” even on an energy or spiritual level and be complete.

  11. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. I really like your thought that not only do we all need to extend forgiveness at some point, we also need to receive it. It levels things out, makes me realize that I’m not more worthy than anyone else. (And you have me all curious and waiting for March 28 now 🙂 )

  12. Sorry Laurie I am far to late for you to reply . I have no idea where you are , I have no idea where I am myself half the time but I’m sure where ever you are it’s giving you the space you need for creativity . What’s bugging me is not the absence of you lovely hubby it’s Willa is she missing you ? is she with you ?
    Does your hubby forward your mail ? I have sent you a small gift for when you have time …just wondered if it has arrived ….keep on writing my darlin .

    • Cherry — It’s always the perfect time at Tuesdays With Laurie, regardless of the day. To answer your questions: Willa was with me up until yesterday. Len came for a visit, and then we he returned to Boise, took her back with him until his next visit, when he’ll leave her with me again. He did bring mail, but there wasn’t anything from you. But now I’m really exited to know that his next visit will probably have something from you — yippeeeee! 🙂

  13. Your post is a perfect example of why everyone and anyone would love your book. The advice…well, no.,,,more the loving words in every page can guide all of us to a better,kinder, more joyful and more loving LIFE.

  14. Forgiveness happens on so many levels whether it’s given to someone else, an animal or even yourself. It’s something I have struggled with at one time or another but ultimately know and feel the inner peace you feel once you forgive and let it go.

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