Truthful Tuesday: Forgiveness

Melanie asks today’s musical question: How easily are you able to forgive yourself?

Forgive myself? You mean, that’s a thing?

Believe me, I’ve tried, and in some cases I’ve actually been able to not feel bad about the stupid things I’ve done, but there are just some things I can’t forgive myself for. The best thing I can do is to try and push them out of my mind. I actually was doing pretty well, then I had a stroke, and evidently when things were re-routed to avoid the damaged part of my brain, they were re-routed through that part which held the things I thought I had pushed out.

In the hospital after my stroke, while I was busy beating myself up over having a stroke because I was treating my high blood pressure with Red Bull and regular coffee, I also started remembering stupid things from my past that I still felt guilty about. Couple that with the fact that I didn’t sleep for almost two weeks when I went into rehab, and that’s a lot of time beating myself up over stupid shit. I lost it one day in rehab, and my therapist asked me "why don’t you ask for something to help you sleep?" My response: "You mean, you can do that?" That night, I slept like an infant thanks to whatever they gave me.

See, I grew up Catholic, and one of the Seven Sacraments is Reconciliation, or, as we called it in the Old Church ®, Penance, commonly called Confession. This is where you sit in a dark box with a screen between you and a priest and tell him the sins you’ve committed since the last time you went to confession. Our Religion books were very specific in telling us that we had to remember all our sins (including quantity) and get them right when we got into the box, or we wouldn’t be forgiven. (Which is silly, because there’s this catch-all at the end ("for these and all the sins…") that’s supposed to take care of the rest, but anyway…)

So, I kind of got in the habit of remembering things so I could tell the priest in confession. Problem is, I remembered so well that I never forgot…

Years later, I learned of a drink called a Mind Eraser. I tried a few of those one night. Woke up with a terrible hangover and thinking about all the things I had tried to forget. Oh well…

What’s your story?

15 thoughts on “Truthful Tuesday: Forgiveness

  1. An interesting idea – forgiving yourself. Is that like, getting past your regrets? I try to live without regrets by making good choices at the onset but every now and then I have slip ups and yeah, forgiving myself for being dumb or hardheaded is difficult but usually happens…in time.

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  2. Say 5 Hail Mary’s and you are forgiven. How dumb is that? I could never recite the Hail Mary anyway so I’m pretty much damned. I think forgiving oneself is the toughest thing to do. We Love beating ourselves up in a strange way to say. It’s much harder to say we are a good person that learned the hard way not to abuse our body. We all abuse it. I drank like a fish when I was in University and after and had a great time. I drove too which was beyond stupid. I was just beyond lucky never to have been in an accident. I ate all the wrong stuff which made my pancreas react and I am now hypoglycemic and must stay away from sugar starch and caffeine. I could go on and on but maybe we are suppose to say these things about ourself so we don’t become a narcissistic jerk or jerkess

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  3. Fabulous post John! The perspective you bring with your experiences around forgiving were ways I’d never thought of (but then I’m not Catholic). I get teased a lot about my tendency to cross myself if I get frightened (by something on TV, I’m not that loopy. Yet.) or upset. It’s comforting and I’m sure He doesn’t mind a little lapsed Mo’ in the process. There are ways to permanently banish those things that wake a person up at 3 a.m. and beat on them in the process. But it takes a lot of work and dedication, and frankly, although I’ve pushed many things ‘away’ some of them still come back. I am a bit frightened by your account of where they re-routed your brain, is that a common place for them to do such things? Because if you got iggies in your mind closet, I’ve got iggies WITH HAIR on ’em, stashed away and mostly forgotten for now. 😨😱 Great GIFs too! And thanks for the nod! 🙂

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    1. The “rewiring” is all internal: the mind repairs itself. Amazing thing, the brain. It knows how to do it all on its own. No one had to cut into my head to make it happen, though I did dream that two doctors came in to look at the back of my head, as if there was something there. There wasn’t.

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  4. I think we are all like this John to one degree or another. There are lots of things I feel guilty about and the often come back to haunt me. Be kind to yourself 💜💜

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  5. I stopped going to confession when the priest asked if I had said the Act of Contrition and I couldn’t remember the whole thing so I said yes which means I lied in confession which means I am going to hell.

    Sorry to hear you are beating yourself up over things you undoubtedly did to me which I undoubtedly forgot about anyway.

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  6. For 98% of the stupid things I’ve done that haven’t hurt any other except myself, I can forgive myself, but never forget any of it. If someone was hurt by something I did, there’s no forgiveness for myself, ever.

    On the other hand, I can forgive the first transgression that someone has done to me and caused [emotional] hurt, but if there’s a second time I won’t tell them I forgive them … a third time and they are out of my life completely (relative or not). If anyone dare lay a hand on me in anger or aggression …. well, I’ll keep the consequences of that to myself, for now. 😈

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