My mother didn’t touch me, but you can’t give what you didn’t get. ~ Maria Shriver
Why has it taken me most of my life to understand parents as fallible human beings rather than the perfect archetypal models my Inner Child yearns for? Don’t I already understand that a lack of forgiveness only hurts me in the end? Of course I do. Now.
It was pivotal when I comprehended forgiveness as a two-way street. I thought absolving another was an offering, my own noble gesture. It seemed a thankless task, then, when crushed expectations boomeranged that gift back into my lap. It took me years to discover the root of forgiveness arising organically from a combination of cerebral understanding, spiritual desire and a heart longing to be free from the burden of recurring disappointment and perpetual sadness.
I was not a happy child, though I pretended to be upbeat to fit in. If I could garner recognition and acceptance from others, that elusive prop of ego known as I must exist. In fact for years I felt as though I only lived for others, as if the mirror in another’s eyes would reflect my precious heart back to me. Then I could begin to love myself enough to justify life such as it was.
I felt the impostor well into my forties, if not fifties. Cynical about all things including happiness, you couldn’t have told me anything different. Like most human beings, I needed to learn the hardest lessons myself, experiencing enough adversity that the message finally stuck. As I acknowledged my own suffering, it became easier to empathize with all living things following a similar directive to survive and thrive.
Finally, what arises quite naturally these days is the desire that all beings discover clarity of heart, encouraging the dissolution of confusion and acrimony. We all possess history that we either learn from or are unable, for whatever reason, to rise above. Perpetuating a state of antipathy cripples us emotionally, poisoning others we might least wish to harm. Forgiveness is key in unlocking many liberties, not the least of which is the freedom to express more fully that which our inner nature has ever intended. And that inner nature is love.