When I came home, I told my parents all that had happened to me. My Dad’s advice was, “Move forward. That’s what I did. I didn’t dwell, I just moved on.”
“But Dad, I can’t! That’s not how it works. I can’t just forget and move on. I was raped, I was cheated on, I was bullied, I was used. How can I just let that go!” I stared out the window at the passing cars, and felt the doldrum of depression like Snorlax sitting on my chest and Jigglypuff singing in my ear. I felt hopeless. The optimistic and cheerful Sammy was dead, trampled on by the unfairness of life.
The emotions I’d felt began to circulate in my body as I replayed memories of what I’d experienced: disappointment, rejection, frustration, pity, guilt, shame, fear, anger. Why did this happen to me? I was a good girl. I did what I was told with a smile. I respected other people, I never yelled or got angry, I worked hard, I rarely complained. I was so nice, and yet… I was miserable. I was unemployed, single, and living back at my parents house. This was not what I wanted and far from what I had expected for myself. I felt completely taken advantage of. All I wanted was love and all I tried to give was love, and in return, I got depression and regret and disappointment. It was bull shit.
No. The world didn’t get to have Sammy Evans anymore, they got Sammy Ginsberg.
And Sammy Ginsberg was a bad bitch who didn’t give a shit about what you wanted. She took what was hers and never looked back. She deserved diamonds. She deserved 1 million followers on Instagram just like Kim Kardashian. She deserved two orgasms. She was a Queen, not a Joker. If life wasn’t fair, then what’s the point in playing fairly?
And then I realized this was my angry sub-self speaking. This wasn’t my authentic self; this was my survival self. I took a deep breath and found my ‘happy place.’ I imagined my family and I biking around Lake Bled in Slovenia, the trees and that perfect blue, birds singing and the buzz of bees. My sister laughing, my Dad leading, my Mom smiling, and me feeling peaceful, utter serenity.
It’s been four months since that conversation, nine months since I left my job, two years and two months since I was raped, four years since I was cheated on, and ten years since I was bullied; finally, finally, I am beginning to move forward. I am beginning to forgive.
No one ever taught me how to forgive. It’s one thing I always admired about my brother. He is so good at forgiving. He will shout at you in one moment, and hug you the next. Although he just might be good at forgetting, because it always comes back. He doesn’t learn. I have always been the opposite. I don’t get mad often, but once I have – that’s it. I will never trust or respect you again unless I am 100 percent certain that I won’t get hurt again. More than that, I will hate you. Worse than that, you will never know that I hate you, and you will go on living your life thinking that I’m your friend when I’m not. I am sending strong negative energy your way and hoping that karma teaches you the lesson I didn’t. If it makes you feel better, I believe that love and hate are the same energy in opposite directions, so in a way I actually love you… ?
I recently realized, thanks to Forgive for Good, that I need to forgive the people who hurt me, forgive myself for hurting others, and forgive myself for hurting myself – not because I’m a nice person or because my thoughts and emotions were wrong or crazy, but because it is good for me. It is the only way that I can move forward with my life and do what’s best for me, which is actually what is best for everyone.
In Forgive for Good, Dr. Fred Luskin states that you should only tell one or two people about what happened to you, you don’t need to tell the world. He further states that those who tell everyone is playing the victim still and trying to get revenge and attention. Hypocritically, the power of his book is in using real life examples showing us that we are not alone and that his forgiveness method works. He also states that by forgiving others and sharing your hero story with people in your life it empowers them to take responsibility in their own life. His book came out in 2002 in the days when it was weird to use your real name on the internet and Instagram wasn’t even invented yet. The way we as a society look at sharing your life has changed. It is more accepted to be vulnerable and more normal to make the “private world public”, which is was Allen Ginsberg used to say was the purpose of poetry.
I tell you all this in order to explain why I will be sharing my story and demonstrating the forgiveness process publicly on my blog. I think the intention of only telling one or two people that you trust is to protect yourself from those who will use your weaknesses and triggers to hurt you in an effort to get ahead. I believe that is survivalist thinking. I believe that the only person that we are playing against in the game of life is ourselves. True success is being the best you you can be, not being the best someone else someone else can be. I believe that we are not in competition, but on the same team supporting each other in contributing as much as we can to make the world a place where all people can achieve their true potential.
Read Forgive for Good by Dr. Fred Luskin.