Lifestyle Reflection

Facing the Past and Asking for Forgiveness

“Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.”

I’ve always been pretty good at extending grace to people who have hurt me, and the biggest reason for that is because I’ve been given so much mercy in times in which I totally didn’t deserve it.

It is no secret that I’ve made mistakes that I wish I could take back.  I’ve written several posts over the last few years that highlight my regrets, but I’ve never really shared specifics.  I’m not sure that there’s any merit in listing all of the things that I wish I hadn’t done.  I also realize that I don’t owe the world an explanation for things that are none of their business, but I do realize that there are times when I should have said “I’m sorry” to people that I did hurt.

It’s hard to look back and think about the times that embarrass me now – times when I lied about my background (educational, financial, etc.)  It’s hard to remember how much I hated myself and how I desperately wished to be someone else.  It’s hard to face the embarrassment that exists in my past because I simply couldn’t imagine changing my circumstances.

I was conditioned to be full of crap from a very young age.  There were times, far too many of them, in which I had to pretend that I was okay when I wasn’t.  I became very comfortable in not telling the truth, and I let that seep into my adulthood.  I didn’t know who I was, but I knew that I didn’t like myself.  I also had no idea that I had the power to change what I didn’t like.

There was a time, more than a few years ago, in which I ‘dated’ someone whom I thought could understand and empathize, but the truth is that I never gave him a chance to do that. Instead, I never let him know the real me.  Hell, I didn’t even know the real me at that time.  I lied to him to try to keep him close because I desperately wanted someone to love me.

I haven’t given much thought to that man in many years, but last week I saw a link to his blog on my Facebook feed.  I clicked on it to see how he was doing on his amazing weight-loss journey, and my name came up in the comments.  Seriously…Nearly four years later, people are still asking questions about me.  Whoa!

Our short relationship ended when he recognized my dishonesty, and in an attempt to hang on, I told more lies.  It was the only way that I knew to deal with my feelings at the time, and I was wrong.  It’s easy to see that we weren’t right for each other anyway, but hindsight has a way of making everything clear.  I wish that I hadn’t lied.  I wish that I hadn’t hated myself enough to justify being dishonest, but I did.

I’m sorry that I lied to you.  I’m sorry that I didn’t have the guts to tell you the truth, and I’m sorry that I didn’t own up to it sooner.  You were far from perfect, but you didn’t deserve to be treated the way I treated you.  And for what it’s worth, I thought you were great.  I just didn’t realize that I could be great too.  While we’ll likely never lay eyes on each other again, I hope that someday you’ll accept my sincere apology.  I’m sorry.  

And while I’m at it, I owe an apology to someone else as well.  My blog was the first place in which I ever poured out my feelings.  It was the first place that I learned that I could be myself and have friends who liked me just for me.  I’ve made some amazing, encouraging and uplifting friends through this blog, but I lost one because I was still struggling to be myself offline.

I felt pretty good about our friendship.  I knew that I could tell her anything, and I did.  I just didn’t tell her enough.  I wasn’t honest enough.  (Have I  mentioned how hard it is to look back and realize that I was dead wrong?)  I know that I owe her an apology, but I haven’t reached out to say “I’m sorry” because I don’t think she wants to hear it.  She’s tough, but she also has a good heart.

Maybe it’s too late to make it right, but I’m sorry.  I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you everything.  Believe it or not, I told you more than most at the time, but you deserved to hear everything.  You were the best friend I ever had up to that point because you were the first one to show me that I was cool just as me.  I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you everything, but for what it’s worth, I was trying.  I was working through my issues, many of which you knew and understood, and I’m sorry that I wasn’t a better friend.  I’m just sorry. 

I don’t know if I’ll ever experience grace and forgiveness from these specific people that I hurt, but I have experienced a lot of it.  I feel at peace, and I do know that I am loved.  I know that I’m worthy of love.  I know that God has forgiven me, and I forgive myself.

I know that I can’t fix what I did wrong, but I also know that I can’t change it.  I’m not perfect, but I no longer tell lies in the hopes that people will like me.  There are people in my life (several, in fact,) who know the sordid details of my dramatic, self-loathing past.  I recently read somewhere that we’re only as sick as our secrets, and I can’t even begin to express that freedom that comes in knowing that there are people who truly know all about me – my past included – and accept me anyway.

I can’t express the freedom that comes in being who I am and working toward being the person that God designed me to be.

The past will always exist, but I’m done hiding from it.  I know who I am, what I believe and why I believe it.  I’m keenly aware of the areas in my life that need improvement, and I am equally aware of the areas in which I am exponentially better.  I’m just so thankful for the grace that I’ve received up to this point, and though I don’t deserve it, I’m thankful for my life as it is today.  And I hope that someday, “I’m sorry” is enough to begin the healing process for people that I hurt…

 

 

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    mary
    May 29, 2014 at 7:50 am

    bravo
    brave and beautiful friend
    speak your truth
    own your words
    be strong

  • Reply
    Barb
    May 29, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Hi Kenlie~
    That took a lot of courage my friend! It’s so hard to admit when we have done something wrong, made a mistake or told a lie. I pray that your friends will be as forgiving as you have been, and will accept your apologies. One of the first steps to moving ahead, repenting, and making things right in your life, and with God, is asking for forgiveness . . . you are on the right path!

    Hugs,
    Barb

  • Reply
    Lisa
    May 29, 2014 at 11:58 am

    {{HUGS}}

  • Reply
    Sean Anderson
    May 29, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Kenlie,
    Some people can’t let things go (referencing the request from a reader on my blog for details of that time in our lives). I wish you nothing but the best. Forgiveness isn’t just for the person being forgiven, it’s for the forgiver. I’m very happy for you Kenlie. If you get a chance, read my May 15th, 2014 post. It’s important.
    Apology accepted young lady.
    Take extraordinary care because you’ve got a wonderful life ahead of you.
    Wait one second…. I wasn’t perfect?? What???? LOL
    No, I’ve never been perfect nor will I ever be. Wouldn’t want to be really–I mean, could you imagine the pressure?

    Tell your family hi for me.
    My best always,
    Sean

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Sean,

      You’re absolutely right. As selfish as it sounds, I wrote this post for myself as much as for you.

      I forgave myself for acting like a jackass a while ago, but there’s something so freeing in not having anything cloud my transparency.

      I appreciate your graciousness today….

      And no, you weren’t perfect, but you weren’t too bad. Ha And I agree, in that, perfection is overrated anyway.

      Best to you too…..

  • Reply
    Sean Anderson
    May 29, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    You certainly don’t have to publish the previous comment. I was being very sincere. If you’re the only one who reads it, that’s perfectly fine.

    Proud of you.

    Seriously though–if you only read one post from my blog ever again in your life–read May 15th, 2014.

    Take care, Kenlie

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      I like the way that you described people closest to you. My mom, like your sweet mother, has and will always love me with all of her heart regardless of my size. It’s a great lens from which to recognize what love really looks like. Great point in your post..

  • Reply
    Sean Anderson
    May 29, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Oh–and one more thing. You, the real you–is great and always has been.
    (((hugs)))

  • Reply
    Cathy
    May 29, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    The truth really does set us free…what a great feeling.

    Cathy <3

  • Reply
    Heather
    May 29, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    That, my dear, took a lot of courage to write. We are all worthy of forgiveness. I hope you are forgiven by all that you’ve mentioned. We get nothing out of holding onto a whole lot of pissed off and hurt emotions. You have learned from your mistakes and grown from them. Be well!

  • Reply
    dad
    May 29, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Mission accomplished? Time to let the past go.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 30, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Well, Dad…I think you know that I moved on quite a while ago, but I said what I did because it seemed to bother others. I’m done apologizing for it now. Back to the present…:)

      • Reply
        Deb Willbefree
        June 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm

        Hi, Kenlie.

        It’s been years since I stopped by your blog–and I’m not sure how I got here now. :}

        I read this post, and then Sean’s comments. The graciousness of his words touched my heart.

        I was scrolling down to comment to you, congratulating you on your resolve to be honest, asking and extending forgiveness on the way.

        Then I read this in your reply to your dad, ” I said what I did because it seemed to bother others”

        Aww, Kenlie. What was it that caused ou to snatch back what you had seemed to sincerely offer?

        Sadly,

        Deb

        • Reply
          Kenlie
          June 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm

          I didn’t take anything back, Deb. I responded to my dad honestly. He knows that I let the past go a while ago, but I addressed it because it still mattered to other people. It felt necessary to say, “I’m sorry” so I did. Now I’m back in the present. If it came off as insincere, I can assure you that it was not.

  • Reply
    CM
    May 30, 2014 at 4:05 am

    I’ve been following both you and Sean for years Kenlie and I always wondered what had gone wrong between you. A number of your recent posts have referenced mistakes that you’ve made in the past but I kind of get the feeling that the Sean situation was the pinnacle. I think that what happened between you has affected how you feel about yourself perhaps more than you’ve admitted and I think that addressing those issues head on in this post is a brave and important step in your journey forwards. I love that Sean responded and I have a lot of respect for both of you.
    Don’t let your past weigh you down, we all make mistakes but what counts is how we learn from them in order to become better people. I so hope that you can let go of the past and move forwards Kenlie, you are kind, smart and beautiful and you deserve the happiest future and I hope that you’ll continue to blog about it. I wish that we lived closer (I’m in Ireland) as I would love to meet you, I think we’d get on well!

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 30, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Sean and I met during one of the low points of my life, but he wasn’t my main issue. He was just involved in some of my tough times…

      I wrote this post because it doesn’t weigh me down anymore, and I think it’s okay to release it now…I moved on a long time ago.

      Thank you for your kind words about Sean and me. That means a lot.

  • Reply
    Tammy
    May 30, 2014 at 11:57 am

    How kind of Sean to respond to your post. Hopefully, the air is clear for both of you now, and your futures will be unclouded by any unfortunate incidents in the past.

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    June 2, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I don’t even remember whose blog I found first – Kenz or Sean – I just know that many times in the last few years, both have made me cry and laugh and look at myself in ways that I never thought I would do. I thank God daily for both of you. Sometimes I think Kenlie is me – only I don’t have the voice or grace or gift of her writing (or her youth and beauty!). Sean says things that me think – it used to be on a daily basis – and so glad that it has started again. We all have our faults and our demons. It’s the past – we can’t change it – we learn from it and move on. So thank you both – I do not like that either one of you had to be hurt – but selfishly, I am glad that you two had your past – because both of you are so very important to so many. Even those of us in cyberspace!

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