Tuesday, January 22, 2013

forgiving does not make you a doormat

 The other day, I saw someone who has repeatedly done rude and very mean things to me.

a page from my journal
I have forgiven her in the past for a horrible thing she did... I forgave her even before she was able to say "I am sorry".... She had done something not only rude, but cruel even.... yet she had never apologized and there we were, a year after the fact, and she was buying me a drink at the bar and all smiles as though nothing had ever happened.

Well, I just couldn't.
I didn't want to be rude... but felt also I could not sip from the drink she bought me..so I very discreetly passed it on to someone else. I remembered the pain I felt and I swallowed my tears instead.

Later that night I told Sergio I could not simply just "fall into" a pretend game that "all is well"... and I asked him to please help *cheer* me on the next day when I hoped I would  talk to her... get it out in the open... somehow, find something that was amiss... I was hoping for a reconciliation, but I was too hurt to know where to start, after all I had reached out with a long letter..(in case it was a misunderstanding)...even after she had hurt me, I had reached out.... "just in case"...and she had not responded. But now the drink at the bar...

And so he did cheer me on.
And so I did put on my 'big girl' panties...

I approached her and asked her about the past "event" and I also asked about the long and very sweet letter I had written her but to which she had never responded.
She replied that she had no idea why she had acted as she had done, and that she realized she was wrong. She also said she had received my letter but simply did not know how or what to respond. So that was it. She had treated me like *shit* and a year later, she was buying me a drink at a bar.

I told her that there are three words that hold power almost as much as "I love you"
                                                                    and they are "I am sorry".
I told her I would not pry any answers from her.... I would only ask that if she wanted a relationship with me, that she promise she would never do anything like that to me again; she agreed, and said she was sorry. We embraced and basked in the glow of reconciliation without any explanations- totally free to begin again..with love.

Weeping Buddha
To me, it was a significant event, as I do love her very much, so as we walked around on that beautiful summer night we stopped to browse in a little ethnic store and my eyes fell on two beautiful little wooden statues, they were the "weeping Buddha". I saw them in the store an read the little tag and burst into tears. The story is so beautiFULLy touching and heart breaking as it tells the story of two powerful warriors, the most powerful in the land... and they meet for a duel. One kills the other, when he pulls his mask off...he finds out it was his own son. It is said he cried so much there were permanent tracks of his tears on his cheek. Apparently this is not a true Buddhist story... but perhaps we can think of it as the "Weeping Warrior" instead...

 I bought us both a little  Buddha/Warrior as a gift to remember the occasion of love and                                                                  forgiveness and to never hurt those you love.
She had hurt me deeply, but she is not the only one who has hurt me and I feel this Buddha, this little statue, is a symbol, a remembrance and a reminder all situations where we hurt people close to us, or they hurt us...I have it now on our family altar... and it means so much to me not only about that situation... but any and

Sometimes *it* happens.
so we always need to be ready to ask for forgiveness and to forgive.

I know my heart was in the right place at the time... I wasn't out to “win" or to be recognized as a victim... I wanted to know that this person whom I love, cared enough to never hurt me again.

Alas, two years passed... and in these two years, she has continued to be rude and "ugly".

another page from my journal.
 Self portrait of  myself nurturing the weeping "me"
I decided to build distance between us... as I am building distance with others in my life as 
I realize  that the only power I have in that kind of situation is not only to not "engage "... but I have the power to walk away in peace and love for myself!

But history has a funny way of repeating itself. So this weekend, I saw her again... it has now been a year since the latest incident, and again: she is all smiles and acting as though nothing happened.

So I began to wonder: "am I holding on to unforgiveness?" 

And then I felt incredible guilt..because you see, as far as I know, I am the most forgiving person I know-to a fault sometimes...I myself have often felt misunderstood- so I always give people the benefit of the doubt. Another chance. And another...I am a "forgiver"

But I have learned that is not the best way to live...I am not a fool, but in the name of forgiveness, I have acted like one..
Not that I will not continue to be a forgiver... but I now have a clearer vision of what the responsibilities to myself are, as a forgiver.

Are you a forgiver too? If so..try these sentences on for heart strength and self love-empowerment:

  • I have learned to create distance between myself and the ones who bring me sadness instead of joy
  • I have learned that being a forgiver does not mean I carry on and again lay myself  flat at the feet of those who hurt me time and time again. 
  • I have learned to forgive myself for not continuing to be at the mercy of others....
  • I have learned that I was confusing forgiveness with being a doormat
  • I have learned I do not have to tolerate the bad things/behaviors that I choose to forgive 
  • I have learned that I forgive to heal myself,  but this does no mean I have to go back for more abuse.

oil on canvas with encaustic by Claudia Olivos
So I forgive you ... 
and I love you
and I set you free 
just as I too, am now free!


Susan said...

Very powerful and moving memoir Claudia. Your words resonate.
I wonder are you going to be in the iNternational Festival of Naive art in Katowice, Poland this year? I believe Brazil is the honored country....

Claudia Olivos and Sergio OlivosM said...

Hello Susan,
Thank you so much for your thoughts and encouragement!
I will not be in Poland this year.. though I would love to be!

much love,

Nicole Suzanne Brown said...

Such a beautiful post! Your writing resonated with me so much, by the end I was nodding in agreement with tears in my eyes.. Be-a-utiful!!

Claudia Olivos and Sergio OlivosM said...

Awww.... thank you SO much Suzanne!!
I am learning each day that when I share with an open heart... even when it is *not easy* to do... I find it resonates with so many people... and I am grateful to be able to not only share openly (as it helps me heal too!)... but SO grateful that this pricess helps others too! <3 Thank you for sharing Nicole... it is people like you...and all who comment and send me emails--that keep me going on this journey as a healer via my art and process!!

Much love & light to you!