Essence magazine sent out a questionaire..How has forgiveness affected your life. Below are the questions and response.
What was your relationship to the person who wronged you?
I had an intense on and off relationship with a man for twelve years, at that time of the biggest betrayal.
What did he or she do?
He had three children at once. One he planned with a woman but to me he denied them all and only claimed the one he planned to the world.
How did you feel about it at the time?
Betrayal isn’t even the word to use to describe my feelings at the time. The incident took my very essence and crushed my very existence of being a woman. The hurt took away from the reality that he was just an immature misogynist. It created an insecurity and worthlessness that I couldn’t defeat.
Were there negative consequences in your life?
The defiance caused me to become introverted, taking away my confidence in dating and projecting myself as a woman. I couldn’t look men in their faces for shame. I felt as if the world had known how this man treated me as if I were nothing. I couldn’t look at a child knowing that there were other women who had the child that I thought were at one time going to be mine. I was supposed to be the mother to his children one day. Now I am 37 yrs old alone and childless. In the world to start over again.
I fell into a great depression, denial and anger. All my hair fell out, I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t concentrate on making money at work. I never wanted to socialize.
Did you think about restitution or revenge?
We both work to 4am in clubs. When I found out about the second child, I found myself outside his job with the crow bar in my hand ready to bash the back of his skull out for disrespecting me so bad. I had that much anger in me but then I broke down in tears because I wasn’t going to jail for 25 to Life over a piece of D*#K! I got in my car and went home.
What signs in your life told you it was necessary to release the hurt?
It was a friend. She asked me what did I like? I told her school and work. She reiterated the question and said that I need to do something I always wish to do and pursue another life. I wrote a bucket list. I wanted to learn how to ride horses and learn different languages. I also had been wanting to write a book for the past thirteen years.
I found myself riding in Equestrian competitions. I speak four languages now: English, French, Spanish and I’m a beginner in Mandarin. It allowed me to open up.
Two and half years passed before I met a man that accepted me for everything that I was. Of course, I messed it up but he made me believe in love once more. He made me believe in having a family.
What process did you take in letting go of pain, resentment, etc. * Was forgiving yourself a part of this process?
The process was to work on me, change the direction of my life and find someone that complimented me. I needed someone to bring out the best in me. I stayed to myself in order not to become bitter, which allowed a great man in. The next process was to separate each man. Not to let someone else’s past mistakes to dictate the person in my present or future.
It’s not that I forgave more so let go. Some say it’s the same thing. I realized that it wasn’t my fault and that a “Player” only plays himself. I am not a part of his life or his web in lies. He wakes up every morning wondering if his car in repossessed. He has to pay three child supports on three five year olds and has three angry children’s mothers to tend to. As well as three children or more to take care of while trying to have a single person’s life. In all honesty, I WIN!
How did you feel as this process took place?
The process was long, aggravating and lonely. An emotional rollercoaster, drunken nights, crying to sleep until I took a chance to start dating other men.
Did you feel more powerful after releasing the hurt?
After I released the hurt, I looked back and laughed because I could see what he was and if I had just met him right now, I would reject the very idea of going out with him. I was attached to the image of this man of when we were twenty-three years old. However, at thirty-six, I see that I am the only one that has grown. That in itself is power because I learned that I out grew him long ago changing the direction of my life to things that I deserved.
In what way?
I enrolled in Georgia State University, learned more about writing my book. I met knew people with new attitudes, perceptions and ethics that were striving to be so much more. They are the people who want to become the leaders of our world. They make me strive to be one, too.
Did your life/relationships get better or not?
The young man and I became friends again when I reached forty and even had a causal relationship for a short time to release the lingering feeling but it was so easy to walk away.
It is the first time that I can tell him exactly what I want, how I feel and I can now take these characteristics into the next relationship. This is the first time ever in my life that I knew exactly what I wanted. So I wrote a book to empower women, Sapphire~Escape.
Spiritual leaders say that resentment, grudges, etc. are the product of the ego, and that our “higher self” knows that the universe will restore balance and divine order. Therefore, revenge is unnecessary. Did you experience or witness things fall into place?
I believe that everything has a reason and a purpose. I believe that in order to tell a story one has to live a story and it must have trials and tribulations. You can’t learn when you have no experiences. When I closed that door, windows opened that I could never dreamed.
Do you believe the previous statement is hogwash?
I don’t think the statement is hogwash. It is a spiritual leader’s way of presenting the situation. I don’t think it has anything to do with ego. Resentment is being overwhelmed by hurt that only time can heal. Most people can’t heal until they confront the situation and accept the outcome. That’s not ego that’s learning how to deal with situations. And this only works if you believe in religion and that actual religion. When it comes to relationships “revenge” is never an answer because you can always take yourself out of the equation.
What role does forgiveness play in your love life and other important relationships today?
Forgiveness, letting go plays a part in everyday life because I learned from all of this is that life is too short to care about how someone wronged you. Keep it moving, find a new adventure and find a new you.
J A Sapphire