I’ve been toying with the idea of forgiveness.
Interestingly, this solution, for this very old, old, old problem of mine, came to me while watching an episode of The Bold and the Beautiful. I know a lot of people may snigger and deem it so low-brow to be getting advice from a soap opera… but hey, at least I’m getting it from the most popular soap opera in the world.
In it, (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) Oliver is trying to convince his new girlfriend Ally, to try to let go of her hurtful past and forgive the woman (Taylor) who while drinking and then driving accidentally killed her mother (Darla) on the side of the road, who was at the time helping the daughter (Phoebe) of the woman who killed her.
And now Ally’s Dad (Thorne), so many years later, wants to be with the woman who killed her Mum.
Of course, only in a soap opera. However as I go through life, I seriously realise that the shit that happens on the real stage is far more fantastical than any soap opera can conjure up.
Ally hasn’t been able to forgive Taylor for Darla’s death, and even says she hates the woman; she ruined her life.
In the episode in question, Oliver is trying to help Ally see that if she forgives, she’s not doing it for Taylor, because she still has to live with what she did for the rest of her life – but she is doing it for herself, to have peace, and to move on.
In particular, when he remarked that her holding on to her anger has only increased the negativity in her life, I couldn’t help but see the immediate parallels between the two on the tv in front of me, and a conversation Hubbie and I had a couple of nights ago.
You see, there’s a person, or persons, that have been the thorn (LOL, above) in my side for a good while. Out of respect for all involved, I won’t name names, other than to say that the situation is made difficult because these people are so infuriatingly difficult to get along with, and I can’t get them out of my life. I have a million negative expressions for them, but the kindest words would include:
Recently, these people did something very inconsiderate to me. As things go, they are probably unaware of what they did. You might say I have no reason to get mad then. But they are the types that if I, or anyone else, did what they did to me, to them, well, let’s just say our Prime Minister would be discussing it in a special 7:30pm bulletin tonight with a full audience of the public voting ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to the arguments and points of contention being put forward.
They are very one-sided, and explain everything away so it suits them.
I’ve had so much anger and frustration, pain and sadness building up and boiling over in me for the past few days now, that it’s been sickening. I’m consumed with angry thoughts, full of scenarios of me telling them where to go and where I vent ALL of my feelings to them, feelings that have been simmering and building now for years.
It’s happened in the worst week. I’m meant to be busy finalising preparations for baby girl’s Christening – instead I’m busy imagining scenarios of them, upsetting me AGAIN, where the end result is some massive and long overdue confrontation.
I’ve been trying to work out how to get control of my thoughts, and my reaction to it so I can live in peace. So many quotes out there advise that ‘it’s all in your head,’ and ‘you are the master of your thoughts.’ That’s all fair and good, and usually something that I would swear by; in real life however, when something has been stewing in you for ages, and an untold and furious story is waiting to be unleashed from inside of you, it’s fairly hard to take the latter statements to heart and live by them.
When I heard Oliver mention ‘forgiveness,’ something inside me softened. I can’t say how it happened, but it was almost as if I was so desperate for a solution that the answer, and indeed it seems the only answer, made me reach out and grasp it with vehemence.
Could I forgive them? Could I really forgive them, or would I just be convincing myself that I should forgive them, as so many hurts have been involved that it would take years and much concerted effort on their part to mend things, where I could really start to forgive. And that was the thing. On TV, Taylor was crying to Ally and telling her how sorry she was, how sorry she’s always been for what happened that night. My situation, though no where near as dramatic thank goodness, was different, but still very difficult. I was dealing with people who have a chip on their shoulder, believing the world owes them and everyone should bow at their feet. These are people unwilling, I think also unable to change. They have been their impossibly difficult selves for so long, I don’t think they would know how.
However, the thought of forgiveness, and moving on, appealed to me. It’s a hard one – would I be admitting that what they have done to me was ok? That all the hurtful moments I’ve endured with them was acceptable? That they weren’t accountable for the hundreds upon hundreds of slights and mean-spirited words/actions/intentions that have come from their direction? No. Like Oliver said, I was doing it for me. I was doing it so I could move on.
Hubbie had bought flowers home for me last night, because he had wanted to cheer me up – seeing me so upset had made him realise how much of a happy person I was.
That was the other clincher. I was a different person when they upset me. I wasn’t me, and I didn’t like the person I was in their company. Now, sometimes, I may not be able to avoid them all together… but like all those freaking clever people say time and time again, I had to change my reaction to them, rather than change them. Because I couldn’t. Not when they couldn’t change themselves.
What happened to Oliver and Ally and Taylor in the end? Well, at the end of the episode, Oliver had convinced Ally to speak to Taylor – and after she confronted her with more ‘why’s, she came to understand that Taylor had actually helped her Dad heal… and they hugged. With tears.
My ending may be a bit different. I can’t do what all those clever-thinkers tell me to. I’m going to play a very impassive role when around them – kind of blind, ignorant to them and the way they are. I will do that, because I don’t want to amplify the situation… because I’m better than that. But if they push my button –
I’M GOING TO BITE.