Re-learning Forgiveness

Monday, October 1, 2012

When you're busy, everything feels like a miniature crisis. Didn't turn in an assignment on time? Horror! Didn't send that email to the right person? Madness! Every moment is part of an efficient machine and any small deviation feels disruptive. But you always know that those things are the small ones, the ones that can be fixed. This week, the crises I faced were not those small inner demons of inefficiency or time crunch - they were deeper and more fundamental.

"Emotions don't follow rational logic," my friend told me last week. She was comforting me after the latest email chain came in, when my anger and frustration had come to a head and I needed someone to rage with and not just text. Having lost two people who were close to me in the last year, I felt I was letting them down. I wasn't being strong enough. Another person might not feel so affected by the words of others. I was wasting my tears. But even though I resisted, I knew my friend was right. Emotions don't follow a rational logic. Neither do people in crisis.

I've been trying to be gentle with myself, to forgive my own personal failings or that I can't be all things to all people. But in some ways, that's the easy part - I can feel wronged all I want, but that is only useful for so long. Emotions may not need to follow rational  logic, but actions should. Send that email. Make that meeting. Ignore the tug towards staying bitter that feels satisfying but immature. At the end of the day, the work is the most important part and that's what must be the focus when others have acted poorly to you. I am very good at holding on to negative feelings, but perhaps now is the time to un-learn that instinct.