The absolute last piece to my glow up has got to be forgiveness. Never truly knowing what forgiveness meant, I always tried to pay people back with the same coin they paid me with. For a long time, I lived in a toxic state of mind where forgiveness was not something granted but earned.
Here is my truth on forgiving the person who has been by my side through it all. The person who at times has made my blood boil and then also made me live the best times of my life. Our relationship has truly been a complicated one but worth all the struggles.
I have been married 20 years this year and it has really taken me this long to truly love, appreciate, and respect my husband. Believe me when I tell you that young love is blind.
My story begins in 1999, when I met my soon-to-be-husband at a concert venue where I worked. When there were shows, we would bring in staff to help with the stage, concessions, and security. He was part of the stage crew.
Around this time, I was a happy-go-lucky girl with big dreams, standards, and ambition. I had a list of the things that I absolutely was not going to settle for in my next relationship. My list was not extravagant nor undoable; it was pretty standard to me.
Here is the list of what my ideal partner needed to have.
- A job – To be able to pay for the movies at least.
- A car – Doesn’t everyone need a car?
- Non-Smoker – This is just my preference. Cigarette smoke bothers me and makes my clothes and hair smell.
- No tattoos – Again personal preference. I never really grew up with people with tattoos. I don’t like needles or marking my body.
- No piercings – There is only one diva in the relationship and it is me. I don’t need his earrings competing with mine.
The evening the universe brought two worlds into one was a night I would like to forget but can’t because I ended up getting married and having 3 kids with this man. I was so blind-sided by God knows what. Maybe it was my insecurities. Maybe it was not knowing my worth. Or maybe it was simply all the free Cokes we would get. I don’t know. All I know is that when I met my husband, he did not meet any of my qualifications listed above. You think that would have been clue number one in my head to run but no, young love is blind.
After dating, getting married, having kids, and finally realizing that we were two completely different people, I started to realize what I was in for. My husband is my polar opposite. I am an eagle; he is a duck. There is nothing wrong with ducks, the world needs ducks. I am an action-oriented individual that does things NOW and he is a tomorrow type of person. As the years went by, our differences made us clash all the time. His laid-back attitude and carefree ways were so annoying to me. To this day he is very easygoing. A complete opposite of me, since I am always going 60 MPH.
Anyway, he has a big heart and really only worries about right now and not tomorrow. Our finances were never good because he never saw the need to excel in a job or make any of the monthly bill payments on time. Any time they would run his social security number smoke would come out of the register. He has also been stuck in the 1980s with rock music and black concert t-shirts.
For a long time, he let music run his life. Actually, he still does. He is not a typical husband that comes home, opens a beer, and watches tv. Oh no, he comes home and will bang the crap out of his drum set in the garage until it’s time to go to sleep. He has a mini-concert just about every night. Yes, complete with a fog machine, lights, and sound system. Ta loco.
I always felt that he really neglected us because he was always at concerts, or putting on a concert, or just not there for us as he should have been. He had his own demons of addiction to battle and probably coped the best way that he knew how to. I don’t know. What I do know is that he was someone that I could never depend on for nothing, NADA. A lot of what I am is because of me having to be in control of everything that he would not.
There were plenty of opportunities to leave him and our toxic relationship. However, I grew up without a father, so I never wanted my kids to be tossed between two parents. I was always determined to make things work for the better of the family. Eventually, my husband matured enough to hold a steady job and begin to excel in all his endeavors.
Probably till now, I have held a lot of resentment for everything that he put us through. We spent many nights with no electricity, our water would get cut off, our car was repossessed, freaking Rent-A-Center came back to pick up our tv. We went through some pretty rough times. I remember staying up at night being worried about the bills and him sleeping like a baby.
Today, all that has changed. He is still the same duck with a big heart. There is nothing that he would not do for us. He will put anything that comes in a box together. He does not give me flowers but the direct deposit comes straight to my account. He finally has good credit. He lets me sleep. He makes a mean bar-b-que. He is always there for me, even when I don’t need him. He knows me better than I know myself.
I share all this with you because many women who come to sites like mine or want to help the next generation also have stories like mine. You may have a story like mine. And I want you to fully understand that we’re walking this out together. Sure, I may already be in a place that looks glamorous and fun through the screen, but beauties, I busted my butt to get here. And now I am showing you how to do the same. Imagine if we all spoke into the next generation by passing down our experiences and not acting like we wake up in the morning wearing these fabulous magnetic lashes, perfect eyeliner, and pressed clothes. Nah ladies, we have to admit we wake up with crusty sleep in our eyes some mornings too. But, because of it, we get to share lessons like what follows: The importance of forgiveness. We CAN’T stay in a place of “this happened so I am going to make the world pay!” We have to move on. Here are some thoughts on how we do that.
Forgiveness is not trying to make someone’s life a living hell because they did that to you. (Pretend I’ve inserted an eyes wide opened emoji here… oopsie, just finding this out.) It is not trying to make someone feel the exact same way they made you feel. In fact, forgiveness has really nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with you. Forgiveness is supposed to make life better for you not them. Releasing all those feelings of vengeance has helped me to see my husband in a new light, almost like how Madonna saw Sean Penn.
If you are struggling to find true forgiveness, here are some things that helped me as I worked through forgiving my husband for our early years and gave him a chance to become the man he is today. Forgiving him allowed him to rise to a new level, even though it’s quite possible he never even cared how I felt about it because he is so easygoing that he was most likely oblivious to the pain it caused.
- Recognize that forgiveness does not mean that you are okay with what that person did. Your feelings are valid and your pain is real.
- Forgiving them is not about saying, “What you did was okay” but about saying, “I learned from what you did and realize that you won’t do it to me again.” It is about not keeping yourself in a jail cell counting up wrongs when you could be living life fully with them in the past. Yes, this is more difficult if it’s your spouse, but it is still okay to move forward and just not let them do it again while also not holding them guilty forever for what was done.
- Realize that the time and effort that you are putting into that resentment and feelings of anger are only hurting you.
- Again, it’s like being in a jail cell and all along the key is around your neck. Stop hanging yourself with it and instead use it to come out of the cell sis!
- Remember that when you are not forgiving, you are allowing others to have control over you.
- Repeat that last part loudly. YOU ARE ALLOWING OTHERS TO HAVE CONTROL OVER YOU. Do you realize by not forgiving and doing all you can to make their life hell, you are actually making your own life a living hell?
- Stop dwelling in the past and live for the now. Thinking about what happened years ago is really draining. It keeps you from enjoying the place where you are at now.
- A coach that I know teaches a popular concept of “POC and POD” (link not from same coach but gives the larger concept of The Clearing Statement from Dr. Dain Heer). In my terms, it’s a way to stop thoughts without having to go allllllllll the way back to the beginning. Ain’t nobody got time for that right now. We are trying to be empowered. So why are you holding on to things from 3645 years ago sis? Just like Elsa, I need you to let it go!
- Forgiving does not have to come quickly. It takes time and you will know when you are ready to let go.
- You can’t fake yourself out and say, “I’m ready to do this,” when you know you aren’t. You’re smarter than that. Instead, you have to take time and be sure you are truly ready to live free. This is especially important for those of you who have lived with a victim mentality so long that you don’t even realize it. When you start forgiving people, you will become so light and free that you will have to learn a new reality of living. It’s like coming into a million dollars overnight if you don’t give it time. You will go right back into your old habits – and worse when you do. If you are living like that, seek professional help for the transition. You will thank me later.
- Releasing all the feelings of vengeance, resentment, and anger will set you free.
- Did I mention it’s a joy that you will never feel anything like when you are truly free from holding on to these things? Forgiveness allows you to do you and do her well! It allows you to see the world through possibility instead of failure. It allows you to experience the world.
It’s not easy but you will not regret allowing yourself to be free from holding anger or pain toward someone else. Ultimately, it’s your decision. You have to decide if you are ready to do this. When you are, we are here for you. But don’t wait too long to make the start on the journey. Empowered women own their world; they don’t allow others to own them.
Let’s watch this video together as we close today.
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