“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…