[Getting Over a Break Up - A Step by Song Guide - Part 8 - "Learn To Forgive" ]

I went through a devastating break-up a few years ago and wrote my way through it. That album, 3 AM, comes out June 10, 2016. This series is about how I got through that break up and the songs that came out of it. If you’re somewhere in the middle, hope this helps. Chin up.

This is a hard one, and it takes a while. In fact, it doesn’t just happen one day and then it’s done. You don’t get bonked on the noggin by the forgiveness fairy and immediately commence to feeling groovy. The hurt or betrayal you felt doesn’t just magically dissipate, but you can learn to soften around it rather than letting it fuel your anger and harden your heart. Time really does heal. Not in the same way time allows a physical wound to close. But when it comes to emotional wounds, time allows for some perspective to develop that you couldn’t possibly have when you were still pulling emotional shrapnel out of your tender places.

I was angry for a long time. I still have moments of being angry. It’s a defense mechanism. It’s much easier and more satisfying to blame the one that hurt you – make them out to be the villain while you play the victim. Yeah, sometimes people do really shitty things. But there’s not a one of us alive who hasn’t done a shitty thing. And we didn’t do it to be shitty. (At least I hope that’s the case for most of us.) We did it because from whatever seat we were sitting in the stage-of-life stadium in that moment, it was all we could see to do. I don’t remember where I heard it described this way, but I really like this: “they did the best they could, given their current level of consciousness/awareness.” In less uppity speak: he did the best he could for where he was.

I didn’t want to let him off the hook
But it was me who was tangled in the line
Maybe that’s exactly what it took
To get sick and tired of being sick and tired
— “LEARN TO FORGIVE” (Kira Small/Amy Speace)

Did it hurt? Like a son-of-a-bitch. Was it about me? No. Was I blameless? No. I could argue here about who did what and how often and how much weight each offending behavior should carry, but that would be a) fruitless b) petty and c) annoying. No matter how badly someone burns you, it always, ALWAYS takes two to tango.

Weary, but bravely - facing what’s scary
The part that’s mine to carry
And stop blaming him for doing what he did
Maybe this is how you learn to forgive

Anger wasn’t something I came to naturally. This was the first time I’d ever let myself be angry. It was warranted – I know, cuz my therapist said so. And so did all my friends who said “what the fuck???” But while anger can be healthy in the short term, it’s not sustainable. It’s also not a joyful or peaceful place to be. Anger is a heavy load to haul around and after a while I got tired.

Every single one of us is broken open

Forgiveness is the high road. Not in a moral fancypants way, but it takes you higher in a “this is a much more comfortable room to hang out in than the other one with death metal posters for wallpaper” way. Be grateful for the opportunity to practice forgiveness – it’s a gift you can give yourself over and over again, and you’ll grow bigger, stronger every time.

Who can you forgive today??? Do you have a story about learning to forgive? Other thoughts, questions? I’d love to hear from you in the comment boxes below.