Good evening, Loves. Boy, has this been an interesting few days. My heart and spirit has experienced so much joy and healing -- all in the name of 'love'. While I have already done so much work in my self-love journey, the beautiful thing about it is that we can always be learning, always growing, and come to experience new levels of joy because we understand that we are worthy of love. I also know that with God, all things are to happen in the right time and in order - so as to teach us something about ourselves and prepare us for what's to come. Well, this weekend something major happened. A shift. A new way. A different way, of dealing with something so very important....resentment from past hurts. Let me explain.
As I've mentioned before, my childhood wasn't easy. I experienced things that no child should. It's because of the pain I know so well, that I can stand before you today with true happiness and joy. After years of working myself to death, picking myself apart, and wearing 'anxiety and stress' as badges of honor; I finally decided that I had had enough! I started to read, meditate, sit in my pain in order to understand it, and begin to speak over myself. I learned to love me. All of me, imperfections, flaws, all of it. I thought the major steps in my healing had been accomplished by now and that's what gave me the courage to start this movement, Learn to Love You. Well, I was wrong. Very wrong. Because today, I feel more HEALED than I did just a few days ago. It's because I released a major weight off of my shoulders. I decided to change a pattern that I knew too well. I decided to use the strength of my heart, the faith in my spirit, and the trust in Love to move in a new direction.
For YEARS, I allowed my pain and anger to fester into resentment. A resentment that had a pattern to its approach. If someone offended, upset, or hurt me, the following pattern would follow:
1) Cut the person off completely, without explanation or discussion (COLD TURKEY! YOU'RE DONE!) This is my personal punishment to you for stepping out of line.
2) Present my case to those around me by adamantly explaining my disgust, anger, and reasons why I no longer wanted this person in my life.
3) Continue to let it fester, eating away at my peace, joy and ability to trust again.
4) Form new relationships with people, expecting them to eventually follow the same pattern (this person, too, will let me down eventually -- cue Step 1)
This is not healthy. This is no way to deal with life and the disappointments that come along with it. The reality is that people mess up. We make mistakes. We speak out of character. We forget things, offend people, and embarrass ourselves and those around us. We can be selfish. It happens! I recall Bishop T.D. Jakes saying that we must learn to forgive and love imperfect people, just as we hope people will forgive and love an imperfect YOU. When we mess up, we want grace, love, compassion and empathy from those we care about the most. Those who love us, because truly, we can only deeply hurt those we love. The stronger the love, the deeper the pain. So, I finally decided I had enough of this pattern. It's not working for me anymore. I wanted to be able to approach things with what I NOW KNOW: we must have the strength to address conflict, wisdom to reach a resolution, forgive, and move forward in love regardless of the outcome.
I have cut off some pretty important people in my life. I have turned my back on people that were the closest to me. I did so in the name of resentment: you messed up and so now you're done, forever. I thought for so long that this was protecting my heart from future pain. But now I see, that this pattern was only caging up my heart and not using the natural resource available to me.....LOVE. Now that I love myself and value my existence to a higher degree, I can look past my mistakes and decide to do better. And so, I did. I forgave my father. I have decided that it is no longer my job to punish him for his mistakes when I was a child. I have no right to torment his existence by speaking negatively of him, recollecting all the bad and never highlighting the good, and holding this grudge in attempts to punish him for things that happened YEARS ago.
My dad is a human being. A man who dealt with addiction, and the heartbreak of his own childhood. He was a broken man, who was in no position to be a good husband and father. He could barely be good to himself. How could he possibly be good for anyone else? He never dealt with his demons, and yet he married and fathered 2 children in the midst of his emotional breakdown. And, he's a child of God. Just like me. If I'm blessed and highly favored, fearfully and wonderfully made in His image -- well then guess what, so is my dad. Unfortunately for him, his mistakes and brokenness cost him his family. Can you imagine the devastation I would be living in today if my years of brokenness cost me MY family? I only have GOD to thank for His grace and mercy in not allowing that to be my story. However, it was my dad's. Understanding this in my heart and realizing just how heartbreaking it must have been for him -- my heart softened and I realized that I could change my approach to resentment and heal my heart as well as his.
I hadn't spoken to him in over 11 years. I don't even have his cell phone #, address, nothing. All I could do was email him. And so, I did. I told him that I forgive him. I told him that I now viewed his mistakes from a more human perspective. Now, being an adult and having lived through my own brokenness; I can come to him from a place of empathy. He was grateful. So very grateful. My dad is an old man now. I don't know the state of his health, and I don't know that we can ever truly have a relationship. But one thing I do know is this: if he should die tomorrow, he can die in peace knowing that his daughter, Michelle, doesn't hate him. That level of grace, that peace, that amazing gift of love has done so much already for my heart and his. I guess the saying is true: LOVE ALWAYS WINS! I have had the opportunity to practice this "new way" of handling resentment already with my brother (after years of let downs and disappointments) and with a friend (with whom I recently had a fall out with). I let LOVE win: I addressed the matter with LOVE, we worked toward a resolution in LOVE, and I decided that it was NOT my job to punish anyone for their mistakes. I'm an imperfect child of God, and so are they. Pattern: Interrupted. Heart: Full.
What patterns are you going to change? How will you free your heart to walk in LOVE? What generational patters will you interrupt? I pray you don't waste as much time as I did making this change. But even though it took me this long to come to this understanding and experience this level of peace in healing broken relationships...I wouldn't have changed a thing. God's timing is always perfect. Not swift, yet still perfect.
Peace & Blessings,