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The Forgiveness Fallacy

bridge-11

Forgiveness is a funny thing.  You think you’ve done it.  You think you’ve moved on.  Then one day, with no warning, you realize you haven’t completely let go of the perception of being wounded or betrayed or deceived.  Like it happened yesterday, the emotions bubble and the anger flares.

Twenty years ago, I was fired.  It wasn’t clean.  Many in the company knew before I did and the humiliation factor was high.  I had culpability – mainly because of attitude, not work performance.  My boss and I had very different personalities and in my youthful arrogance, I thought him to be an idiot, which I’m certain was communicated in my tone and word choices.

The shame I felt walking out of the building that day ate me alive for months.  It didn’t help that although he’d promised to be a good reference, he sandbagged me by lying to prospective employers who contacted him.  Yes, I was angry for a while and I worked hard to forgive him and move on. I haven’t thought about him or that job in years.  Until this morning.

In this moment, I could perceive the existence of betrayal and deceit in my career.  Because of this, I was gifted with the realization that I still held on to believing that being “fired” wounded me in some way.  I remembered how ego loves to take current circumstances and search for the shadows that appear to link them to the past – all to keep me anchored in something that no longer exists.

Before, when a realization like this occurred, I justified my perception of being hurt by seeing the “truth” of how insecure or fearful the other person was at the time.  I made it OK that someone “betrayed” or “deceived” me by allowing for the other person’s perceptions of the event.  After all, they were just doing the best they could at the time the same way I was.

The truth is, that job was an experience I had.  How I choose to perceive it is entirely up to me.  The truth is, there is nothing to forgive.  Ego would love nothing more than to trap me in the dreariness of perception so it has a playmate.  Now that I am awake, now that I am aware that I was carrying this with me, I choose to be in the light instead.  I choose to see that it was nothing more than an experience with a beginning, a middle and an end.  When it ends is up to me.

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