I recently shared that my one and only New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to forgive. To clarify, I am not asking for forgiveness from anyone (even though I should); it’s me who will be forgiving others. I made the resolution before I realized how complicated it is to forgive. From January 1, 2019 to this date, I haven’t forgiven anyone for anything. I tell myself that it’s perfectly fine that I haven’t started forgiving because resolutions are not about instant change.  But really, I’m just a procrastinator.

Here’s the background on why I chose to forgive.  I mentioned this before and I will again. It’s been a cumulative effort but specifically within this past year, I have noticed a transformation in myself. I am finding blessings every day, even in the worst situations.  I have felt gratefulness for everything - even for outcomes that I don’t want.  In a nutshell, I have a different view on life these days and I attribute this to writing a blog on thoughtfulness once a week for almost four years.  It occurred to me that in order to live thoughtfully - to walk the walk, talk the talk -  I needed to do some forgiving. Of course, I could continue to bury all these past incidents deep into a hole and/or I could easily hand out thoughtful pinches all day long without facing my feelings. But eventually the weight of what I have been holding onto would prevent me from living a completely thoughtful life.  Metaphorically, I have to clean out my closet.  So just like Marie Kondo on Tidying Up instructs, it’s time to throw all the clothes onto the bed! 

My first step is to recognize who in my life needs to be forgiven. Then, I need to label the feelings that these people have provoked. Is it anger, sadness, shame, disappointment, embarrassment etc. ? Fortunately, my list is very short but unfortunately, the issues aren’t easy to bring up.  It’s impossible to look at my list without wincing.  At this moment, I want to change my New Year’s resolution to giving up alcohol for the month of January like my friends did. 

My resolution of forgiving is a selfish act because just as I said, this is my resolution. The people on my list didn’t ask to be forgiven. Forgiving means I will have to tell someone how they “wronged” me and there’s a big chance, they don’t even know. Then what? Forgiving will be a very messy process. It will open up closed doors. It will stir pots.  It will wrinkle up already made beds.  It will shake up things that have been dormant for years. The people on my list will think I’ve been going along with life as if all was ok but really it wasn’t ok. Will I lose their trust? Will they think I’m fake? What will I do when they wrong me again? It’s all too much really. But I’m not giving up my resolution because I am determined to live differently. So how will I do this?

On Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy writes Thank You notes. Surprise! It’s my absolute favorite segment of the show.  If you need an example of this segment, click here. One of my favorite Thank You notes he wrote was to taco shells. He says, “Thank you hard taco shells for surviving the long journey from the factory, to the supermarket, to my plate and then breaking the moment I put something in it."  Bahahahaha! I’m thinking maybe I can write funny thank you cards. Finding the humor in a situation rather than the anger, hurt or embarrassment, can be a great way to forgive. Check out the following:

The Ex. - I haven’t kept in touch with my ex-boyfriend for over 17 years but if I could write him a Thank You note it would say:  “Thank you Jon, for turning me into a James Spader fan in the early 90’s. Besides my luck of not contracting any STDs from all the affairs you had, James Spader is the other good thing that came out of our seven year relationship. “

The Bestie - I recently had a heart to heart with my best friend of 40 years and we discussed this in person. A Thank You note to her would say: “Thank you bestie, for being consumed by living your life to the fullest everyday. Because you’re busy doing that, it doesn’t leave any time for you to read my blog which makes it safe for me to write posts like these. “

The Mom - Here’s one of the many notes that I will write my mom, who, in case you’re wondering, is the number one person on my list to forgive: “Thank you Mom for always using the specified time that we need to leave the house as your start time to get ready for an event. It must be wonderful not to feel the need to be on time or perhaps you think you’re still in Southern CA, where events actually start an hour after the time listed on the invitation.”

The Son - Here’s a typical Minnesota passive-aggressive note to my son: “Thank you for smiling on your second day of life in 2008. I was convinced that I gave birth to the happiest baby on Earth because the nurses assured me that babies normally do not know how to smile so soon after birth. You tricked me!”

The Daughter - Here’s a note that would for sure get an eye-roll: “Thank you pre-teen adolescent daughter of mine for reminding me that I’m not cool like your idol, Taylor Swift. But even if she was your mother, she’d still have to be Delicate around you because right now you’re not someone who can easily Shake it Off.

The Hub - Lots of forgiving for this guy. I’ll share two: 1) “Thank you for constantly eating something other than the dinner that is prepared for our family. It’s been fun dealing with our junior picky eater - especially when he refuses to eat a dinner that you approve.” 2) “Thank you for telling our kids when they leave their bedroom or bathroom lights on. They must get that habit from someone who leaves the light on in the bathroom, the closet, the mudroom and the garage before going to work EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR YEARS.”

I thought that those were some fun examples of how some wrongs could be reconciled. Just for the record, my ex-boyfriend is not a person on my forgiveness list. But I wanted to include the note as an example of how a heavy situation can be stated and since it is water under the bridge these days, there is no need to forgive that guy. Some issues, like these examples, can be relayed using humor. Others matters will be handled by pointing out the silver linings that resulted from a situation that otherwise sucked. I only have three other people to forgive who are not mentioned above and there is a little over 11 months left in 2019. I’m starting to see that my resolution is way better than not drinking for 31 days in January. {Kudos to those who can do that.} As I resolve to continue to transform my life, I hope that a tiny change occurs - like a little ripple - in those who I am forgiving. I would love for an “aha” moment to cause even the slightest shift and maybe, when they see that I want to truly live a thoughtful life, they too will have the courage to forgive me for anything that I may have done.



What's a Quote Dispenser?

What's a Quote Dispenser?

Hugging Day

Hugging Day