“The painful thing is that when we buy into disapproval, we are
practicing disapproval. When we buy into harshness, we are practicing
harshness. The more we do it, the stronger these qualities become. How sad
it is that we become so expert at causing harm to ourselves and others. The
trick then is to practice gentleness and letting go. We can learn to meet
whatever arises with curiosity and not make it such a big deal. Instead of
struggling against the force of confusion, we could meet it and relax. When
we do that, we gradually discover that clarity is always there. In the
middle of the worst scenario of the worst person in the world, in the midst
of all the heavy dialogue with ourselves, open space is always there.”

Pema Chodron from When Things Fall Apart

I love Pema Chodron. I have been reading her for years so you would think I would have somewhat of a clue of how to let go. If I really followed her teachings when someone hurt me I would have saved myself a lot of suffering. But words can be just that when your heart is clouded with anger and you can only read the words. They don’t seem to be going to the heart but only the mind. Because I felt betrayed I closed down and didn’t feel any peace and kindness when it came my way. I really did shut down and acquired the me against the world attitude. It showed in how I dressed, how I ate, how I worked and how I felt about life. I have always had a hard time trusting which stems from my childhood. If you don’t let someone get close to you then you won’t be hurt. You use humor and toughness to keep people at bay. God forbid if they get past that facade. I would have fallen apart and I wasn’t going to let that happen. That would show I was weak and not in control. I would fight to the bitter end to be right. Determined to be respected. Never willing to ask for help because then I would risk people doubting I could handle it. Do the job better than anyone and desperately wanting them to like me all at the same time! No wonder I was always exhausted! So when those I finally trusted did not protect me as I wanted to protect them it was devastating. Venerability is not my strong point. I found myself obsessed with hurt and betrayal. Every time I spoke it brought me back to that hurt.

And then it didn’t. I knew the only one it was destroying was me. I could go on with every clique in the book about how when you let go you are free. Again…words. Until you finally realize that the pain is too much and time passes. The hurt starts to soften and the smoke clears and you start to look at the issues that put you in the position in the first place. Expecting something from someone and expecting trust when you never have allowed it is a big gamble. The only way is to take the chance to be venerable and allow what happens to happen. Because when I did so much more joy came then pain. The fear of being hurt was replaced so many times over by being loved. The child in me realized I was ok and didn’t need to jump through hoops to be loved. I just had to find me. My humor, my passion and my genuine love of life.

I still have my moments when my feelings are hurt but instead of believing it will rule me it is more fleeting and doesn’t sting as much. I don’t punish myself because of my anger. I let go and move on. I encourage you to let go if someone has hurt you. I’m not saying it is easy, I’m just saying it’s essential.

Thanks, Pema. Thanks for reminding me how to forgive.