August 22, 2017 by phicks2012
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve been counseled to let go of my anger toward people who have in the past (and while pretending friendship or even true love) proven themselves to be opportunists, thieves, liars, and (in some cases) outright sociopaths.
In theory, the lingering (and still intense) feelings of anger are preventing me from living a life of fullfillment and happiness, and (on an intellectual level, at least) I understand this. It makes sense on paper, and maybe even mathematically.
On the other hand, the few people towards whom I still feel unresolved anger, and in some cases even hatred, were each given multiple chances to prove themselves worthy of my forgiveness. In each case I made numerous excuses to myself over time, rationalizing their behaviors and forgiving them over and over again before finally admitting to myself that, if given even half a chance, they would continue to treat me badly. In each case I finally had to admit that I did not matter to them, and that my financial or physical well-being, reputation, emotions, or mental health simply did not mean anything at all to them. In the scheme of their lives, unless I was doing something to benefit them directly I was simply irrelevant, or an impediment to the attainment of some ambition.
Given that truth, and I do believe it to be truth, I made a judgment call to cut them permanently out of my life, and the lingering hurt and anger served as a defense to prevent me from allowing my soft-hearted nature to surface yet again. It kept, and still keeps, me from allowing them back into my life to have another “go” at my well-being, at my self-confidence, and at my emotions.
With that in mind at the time it was written, the following is a poem about forgiving, or not forgiving.
Forgiveness in our lives, the pundits claim,
Will bring content, and ease the tortured heart,
And in releasing bitterness and blame
Discover peace when animus departs.
They tell us that in letting rancor go
We free our souls that joy may enter in;
That when to foes we may compassion show
Then we are freed to welcome trust again.
I hear their words, and know they are well-meant,
And that the speakers bask in their belief,
That if we can exculpate ill-intent
We blossom without animus and grief.
But in my life I’ve bitter lessons learned
That thoughtless malice, spite and cruelty
Can justify that venom be returned
When harm is rendered without empathy.
Too often wounded with a twisted blade
By villains lacking in remorse or shame,
Who as true friends and loves did masquerade
I cannot now absolve them of the blame.
For they have earned it. This I do believe.
Their punishment is written in the stars,
For I did wear my heart upon my sleeve,
Where they took aim, and I still bear the scars.
My anger is a shield, held sure and high,
That guards me ‘gainst a dagger to the heart,
And I am made less vulnerable thereby;
Defended from the bludgeon and the dart.
Thus will I never drop it, my defense,
And past abuses ne’er shall be forgot.
No, I will bear it as I journey hence,
And will remember every battle fought.
To goodly folk I’ll show benevolence
And kindness in the years I’ve yet to live,
But to to the wicked offer no pretense,
Thought I be judged because I’ll not forgive.
[6 August, 2017]