Long time no see.
Occasionally, I get into these deeply reflective moods and just let my mind wander. What I’m about to tell you wasn’t planned out beforehand. I’ve never been much of an outliner before I write, and I’m not about to start with this post. I feel something like this is better to communicate as it comes to me – in tangents and with no real organization. If you want an easy read with coherent exposition, you’re better off not reading this.
I consider myself more spiritual than religious. I was raised Roman Catholic, and I still hold a lot of the teachings and ideas close to my heart that I grew up with. As time goes on, you add to and take things away from your personal ideology and you end up with the code you live by.
In my experience, energy is a living thing that surrounds us at all times. All things exude energy, some more than others. Some things you are drawn to, others you are repelled by. I could get into a “time is a flat circle” style energy rant but I don’t want to get all True Detectives on you. I believe it exists in us and is around us and affects us every moment of our lives.
At Northwestern, us football players were instilled with the notion that attitude is a choice. Coach Fitz learned that from the late Randy Walker, and he in turn passed it down to us. I believe in this mindset with my entire being. You can’t control what goes on around you. You ARE in control of yourself. It doesn’t matter that I’m having a terrible day and nothing is going right. I am always going to be well, outstanding, phenomenal, etc because I know that nothing can come from wallowing in my current negativity.
That’s a slippery slope. We’ll come back to that.
Something that I added to my way of approaching life came to me while in a class at NU about marriage. Marriage 101, or HDPS 340, was an incredible experience. In the class, you were assigned with another person (usually of your choosing) to be a couple. I happened to be able to pair up with a close friend of mine, Claire Thompson.
Classes would meet a couple times a week, but the true gem of this course was the small group sessions we would have. We talked about anything and everything. At the time, I had recently been out of a 6+ year relationship, so this did a number on me emotionally. I have always been, and still am, a deeply emotional person. I’m not talking about crying whenever there is a sappy movie on. I’m talking about investing my emotional well being with others.
I guess you can consider it a fault of mine. I wear my heart on my sleeve much too often. At any rate…
One thing that I took away from Marriage 101 will forever stay with me. It was something so profound and such a rich concept that I, to this day, years and years later, hold it close to me.
Many people think of forgiveness as something the wrong-doer benefits from, which they do. But there’s a deeper purpose for forgiveness. Forgiveness is for you, the one who was slighted. Forgiveness is for you to cleanse yourself of the negativity associated with others and the situations that have arisen from their transgressions against you.
“As we grow up, we learn that the one person that was never supposed to let us down probably will. You’ll have your heart broken, and you’ll break others' hearts."
We live our lives continuously being disappointed by others. A core concept of the human experience is being sold short in more ways than one. It could be your father, your brother, your sister, your mother, your significant other, your best friend, your teacher, your boss… We inherently go through this time and time again.
The way to get through it all and come out without losing too much of yourself is being able to forgive as I described above.
An easy way to think about this is how the sequence of events plays out. First, there is a transgression against you. Once you recognize that, there’s a falling out between you and the other person.
Eventually, you’ll forgive them.
But when that happens, do you ever notice there are almost always residual negative feelings? You might be in the right mindset to truly forgive the situation, but not in regards to that deeper forgiveness. Coming back to the negativity and the spiritual nonsense I mentioned before, that negativity eats at you.
It eats at you until you don’t realize what you’re even doing anymore. You just want all of that unwanted emotion out of your psyche so you can finally breathe again. You scratch and claw for that air, doing things that don't make sense to anyone, even to you. Some people take it more gracefully than others, but the experience is the same - you are no longer at homeostasis. You need to right the ship.
All I can say from experience is it takes time. Usually, a good deal of time. Longer than what you want it to take.
But it’s worth it.
It is the people we hold closest to us that can hurt us the most, and when that inevitably happens, it feels like the ground has shifted beneath your feet and you no longer know where the sure footing is. The landscape is unfamiliar. You have an overwhelming sense of doubt about way too many thoughts, experiences, memories or whatever else you associate with that other individual.
After those residual negative feelings linger off into nothingness, you can begin forgiving another for YOU. Finally being able to exhale all the negativity, you can begin to find yourself again. Once you have found that, you can finally be at peace.
Not necessarily with that person or situation, but with your emotional well being. You’re free to love, to live, to experience everything this world has to offer on your own terms again.
What a beautiful feeling.
Thanks for listening and stay classy. Let me know if you guys want to talk more about this to me in person. I love getting into deep conversations with good company.
Peace n Blessins,