Love Is A Muscle, Forgiveness Is A Reflex

This post brings no questions with it.

Just an invitation to listen.

If you keep reading, thank you for that.

…forgiveness always made me feel uneasy.

Not because I had to let someone go but because feeling like I needed to give it away meant that I was deciding the contents of another person for them.

I was playing God.

“I need to forgive you because you weren’t enough.”

“Your actions were awful and you must feel ashamed of yourself at your core in order for me to even think about accepting you any more.” 

Harsh.

I see now that the pains of forgiveness weren’t because someone hurt me, but because I demanded that they bend to my way of being, doing or loving and dammit- they didn’t.

There’s so much freedom in letting go of expectation like that.

It’s not just something that’s become part of the east-meets-west buzzword camp. It’s serious stuff.

How do you let go of life’s greatest betrayals?

I remember finding out that my former spouse was sharing a literal bed with someone else and emotional beds with others, and there are few things to describe the sick punch in your stomach.

No matter the circumstances, it all feels the same.

I didn’t get the job I was pretty much promised a few months ago and built my life around these past few weeks.

Breathless. 

That soul confession and secret were meant for my friend, not for his friends as a joke. 

The oxygen gets sucked out of the room. 

Maybe those text messages meant nothing. Why did she say she loved her if I’m the only one who gets to say it like that?

The smallest peek at the cause of your pain will send you into the perfect storm from which you and your small boat won’t return. 

Between the lines: I hear you, see you and know.

It’s not about trying to stop those hurts from happening, but building within us, an connection and love so bright that whenever those hurts turn out the light, we have enough within us to get us back to the switch.

Those people are our lessons and we, theirs, because human beings cannot exist in a vacuum. Whether we admit it or not, forward movement in our lives require one another.

That’s perhaps the most bittersweet part of all of this betrayal stuff.

It’s the rest of the apple being sweet despite that first, sour bite.

Shortly after I found out about the cheating and several conversations later, where we were stumbling through trying to figure out where to go next, I stopped pretending and gave myself the evenings to fall completely apart. I had to be okay with feeling all the emotions I spent a lifetime running from, because where I came from, the expression of them wasn’t acceptable. Anger. Deep sadness. Neediness. Fear. Anxiety. I wouldn’t call it a dark night of the soul but I would call it a dark season that stripped away every defence I had built up around me to avoid feeling so destroyed by another person.

It tore down every defence I built up against love.

How hard is it to love another and to be loved when you’re so busy trying to defend something that is merely a belief?

As ‘A Course in Miracles’ states, “Nothing real can be threatened” and with that in mind, what is there to defend, other than a perception?

It is with this in mind that I saw how I may have betrayed my former spouse in kind.

Do you know how hard it may have been to love me if I had defences built up so well? If my walls let in cracks of light on occasion, let alone another person?

Granted, some of those defences were the direct result of the relationship, while others were leftover suitcases I packed full of reasons to be cautious, justified by past experiences where dropping those defences could have literally killed me.

It’s a testament to the strength of the belief that I wasn’t supported in life, in love or any other way.

When we believe we’re not enough, betrayal gives us reason to believe that things happen because of us, rather than simply to us so we must start fortifying our castles and building up our weaponry. It’s the moment where we believe we have something to defend because betrayal is no longer an erroneous act carried out by an unconscious person, it’s a personal statement of the bad person we believe ourselves to be.

If I were only better, this would not have happened. 

These things don’t happen to good people, so I’m not good.

What I’m not saying here though, is that there’s a justifiable reason for others to betray us because they’re hurt. Quite frankly, loving another person in a relationship and committing for a lifetime is serious stuff. Cheating is perhaps even more serious when it comes to my values so I want you to know that I’m saying that these things give us an opportunity to stay authentic and be cracked open by the Universe, not to believe this and continue to shelve ourselves, letting others hurt us in the process.

My pain did not let me off the hook.

It kept poking, prodding and pushing me forward even though I wanted to stay in bed for hours, not leave the house and float in my proverbial Dead Sea.

What I realized in that season: forgiveness is the release of the perception that another person had the power to hurt me.

It’s the letting go of the idea that I can give some part of me away that someone can build up or destroy.

Nothing real can be threatened.

If nothing real can be threatened, what do we then have to defend?

Betrayal loses its power.

All the reasons we thought we had for another person acting a certain way evaporate before our eyes.

We can see those situations with clarity and choose different thoughts, knowing that another person’s actions say everything about their pain. Their actions become cries for help instead of battle cries intended to scare us into submitting to their might. We see them for their innocence and wonder how we can help. We realize that our worth and value have nothing to do with it.

Instead of running away while cursing their name, we move toward them asking how we can help, knowing that we can love ourselves and stay present with our intentions while offering them a hand. We no longer need to participate in the drama their beliefs are creating for them. We feel no obligation to help, but see the beauty of both journeys creating something bold to look back on, should we change our mind about the situation.

That doesn’t create victims.

That doesn’t perpetuate emotional violence.

What it does do is give us the freedom to choose something different for ourselves while knowing that the circumstances which required us to choose differently were not the result of us being bad people.

Our insight transcends the situation and changes fear to love.

There is nothing to forgive, other than the power I placed in the hands of another, for without that power to hurt me, I would have freed myself long ago.

Perhaps the most wonderful and terrifying part of this life is knowing that there are no rules, only guidelines.

No one said that just because you bring rings and words into it, infidelity won’t happen.

There are no promises that life won’t let you down.

Those perceived rules are clever hats that expectation likes to wear.

It’s about accepting it all with grace, taking a deep breath and knowing that because we’re here, there is something important and wonderful for us still and that we are all temples housing a great many wonders, the least of them being the ability to continue to choose love.

Remember…

giving

…you cannot go into spiritual debt when giving yourself the freedom that comes from letting go.

On The Wings of Miracles,

~Cheryl~

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