A while back I wrote a post about unsuccessfully trying to find forgiveness for those who have harmed me and done so much damage to my mental health. Shortly thereafter, I first heard of the song Praying by Kesha in a post on Deanna’s Dark Diary. I’ve had that song playing on heavy rotation since then, often singing along at the top of my lungs. My attention was then caught by a subsequent post of Deanna’s in which she referenced the song again, specifically mentioning the line “some things only can God can forgive”.
All of a sudden, something profoundly clicked for me. This forgiveness that I haven’t known how to even begin to find… well, maybe it’s not mine to find at all. “Some say in life you’re gonna get what you give, but some things only God can forgive.” That shift in perspective resonated incredibly strongly with me. Being a non-religious person, I think of “God” rather loosely, in a more general sense of a higher power, but the fundamental idea is still the same.
Forgiveness is a burden for me to carry. Forgiveness is not supposed to be a burden, but it was feeling like just one more way that I was not good enough, not compassionate enough, not mature enough, and on and on. And that sounds a lot like victim-blaming. The responsibility for the bullying I endured lies squarely on the shoulders of the bullies. “I hope somewhere you’re praying, praying. I hope your soul is changing, changing, I hope you find your peace, falling on your knees, praying.” It’s not up to me to forgive or find peace with what they’ve done, the damage they wrought in my life; that’s between them and their higher power, whether that’s God or simply the genuine humanity that lies deep within their own hearts and souls. That is their task, their journey, their burden to bear. It is not on me. The onus is 110% on them. That reframing has been incredibly freeing for me.
“When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name.” My task now is to find a way to thrive, to outshine the darkness they brought. It’s up to me to be “proud of who I am. No more monsters I can breathe again. And you said that I was done, but you were wrong and now the best is yet to come.” It is possible to “find a strength I’ve never known”; somewhere, deep within, I will eventually be able to find that. That needs to be my focus. Whether they eventually find forgiveness has nothing to with me. “I’ll just say this is I wish you farewell.” And given that letting go was why I was trying to find forgiveness in the first place, maybe I have actually found what I was looking for all along, just in a different way. There is now the glimmer of possibility that I can let the past go and move onwards and upwards. It’s really remarkable how much we can gain from the growth others find through suffering. So thank you Kesha.
This guided journal focused on finding forgiveness is about forgiving on your own terms and for your own sake. It’s available as a free download from the MH@H Store.