Forgiveness and/or Self-Forgiveness

I was just day-dreaming (even though it’s quarter to one in the morning) and something disturbing popped into my head.  How much do I consider how my words and deeds affect other people?  Right now, in the level place I occupy, a large amount of consideration goes into what I say and do.  The thing is, though, I never even pay attention to other people’s feelings when I’m having either a manic or depressive episode.  That horrifies me and makes me want to right the wrongs I have committed.  How do I do that when there are many of them?  How do I do that when I am not in contact with a large portion of them (most by their choice not mine)?  How do I do that when I’m not even sure what I did, just that I did something?

In many cases, I am not in contact with the people that have hurt so I will not be able to ask them for forgiveness.  So, I suppose the first thing I need to do is learn how to forgive myself.  This is going to take some time and some soul-searching.  Here is a quote that I found, I think it captures where I am right now:

“Remembering a wrong is like carrying a burden on the mind.”  – Buddha

But in my case, I’m remembering that I did something wrong to someone else, so the thought holds double value.  I can forgive myself all I want, but I will never know if they forgive me as well.

“If you can’t forgive and forget, pick one.”   – Robert Brault

So… I forgive the one I can (self-forgiveness) and forget the rest?  That doesn’t sound like something I can easily get behind.  I need to stop the wishy-washy approach I am taking now and choose which action I am going to take.  But wait.  I am recalling a post I published recently, “Changing Energy”, in which I expressed a distaste for how five people reacted in the face of my psychotic break.  In that same article I explain how I deal with those memories.

“That anger is still inside me, but it is in a different form. It’s no longer the negative energy that it used to be. I try to use it in my every day life. When I see something, or hear a familiar song, or even enter a situation that I recognize as something I had shared with one of those friends I say to myself “X would have enjoyed this” or “Y would have done this or that”. I treat my memories of those people as happy ones. I figure that Bipolar is going to come up with ways to attack me with enough negative shit, there’s no reason to add to it with something I have control over.”

In re-reading that I am reminded that this is how I should treat everyone that I wronged, or that wronged me during that time of my life.  I either take the anger/negative energy I have for someone and convert it into something positive.  Make it something I can use every day.  Or I seek forgiveness in myself for harm that I may have caused another.  If it can’t be found for one reason or another, I will seek self-forgiveness.  In either case, I will change the negative energy that I produced and change it into positive energy.

I know this is going to take a while, and a lot of effort on my part.  But I will eventually get it done.

I’d like to offer a special thanks to those of you that stuck around to the end of this.  I know I was all over the place, that’s what happens when I think while I type.  You all are the ones that keep me going.

Thanks again,
GB

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2 thoughts on “Forgiveness and/or Self-Forgiveness

  1. Oh, man, can I ever relate to what you’re talking about here…….I think this is one of the worst things about having bipolar disorder. The disease can make you do and say things that you ordinarily wouldn’t if you were in your right mind, but it’s YOU who has to deal with the fallout and try to make amends. People who don’t know or understand what BP is all about, can’t separate us from the illness. Sometimes, forgiving ourselves is the only pardon we’ll receive, so if we don’t do it, there is no way to close the book on an incident, and that doesn’t do ANYONE any good.

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