It’s easy for people to say they are sorry and NOT mean it. The recent “struggle sessions” that have grown popular on social media is just that. A witch hunt starts for an individual by overly involved people who take it upon themselves to be DEEPLY offended. They hunt down their subject, torturing them, bullying them, stalking them and belittling them until they crash to their knees and beg people they didn’t REALLY offend for their forgiveness as if they were deities. The thing is, the person begging for the favor of the perpetually offended doesn’t REALLY mean what they are saying. They are just SO scared and abused they will do anything for the abuse and bullying to end.
Every night when I go to bed I pray. In doing so, I find myself feeling deep shame and humiliation at moments in my life (My Fair Brady, anyone) or guilt over those I have hurt. Some people pretend I hurt them just so they can trash me and feel justified in doing so. Others will take a broad statement of mine and apply it to themselves as if I was talking directly to them. Though I do feel sorry for hurting these kinds of people and wish I hadn’t and DO offer my apologies for any bruising I may have caused with my big mouth, I accept that NOTHING I say and or do will EVER be enough for some people. They relish too much in feeling that I (and many others) should be punished till THEY deem I have paid for my horrible crimes against them. I think, secretly, people simply like to gloat over others…stepping on their throats while they wiggle, gasping for life. I do feel remorse for people who feel I have wronged them, even if most sane people would tell me I didn’t…..but mending fences with the witch hunters is a lost cause. I advise anyone about to issue their public apology not to do so. It won’t be accepted. Just as I have learned to accept I will never get an apology from some people who directly shattered my heart. I have to accept it and move on. If I don’t, ruminating in it and not letting it go only reflects badly on ME, not them.
However, there are people I was actually directly wicked to. I can remember someone calling me horrible names while I walked a red carpet. A fan in the fan area next to the photographers was CLEARLY not mentally right to behave that way publicly. Instead of just ignoring it, I bashed her. It isn’t exactly a proud moment. I IMMEDIATELY felt bad for doing it, even though everyone laughed and seemed to think it was wonderful. LA approves of such things. It’s something that pops into my head. The way I used to talk in front of my Grandma can tear me up. I seemingly took joy in offending her or mocking her religion. This is someone I loved beyond ANYTHING on this earth. Yet, I took it upon myself to make a game out of making her feel uncomfortable. The shame I can feel now for that can be overwhelming if I focus on it.
The BIGGEST victim of my loud mouth? Christians. Most my family are Christian, and many not in just name. They devote their lives to doing good for others. Here I was, smugly declaring I was better than all of them (family and public alike) because I followed the science and they were stupid. To anyone out there who may feel I deeply wronged you….you do not hold a candle to the Christians I spent 15 years of my life bashing. Taking responsibility and seeing yourself for the flawed being you are….really awakens your ability to feel deep shame at your behaviors.
If I hadn’t found God again, I do not believe I would have EVER been this aware of my shame. It’s a double edged sword, a spiritual awakening. I liken it to Atreyu facing his true self in the mirror gate before the Southern oracle.
“Oh, that’s what everyone thinks! But kind people find out that they are cruel. Brave men discover that they are really cowards! Confronted by their true selves, most men run away screaming!”
Every night, I lie in my bed and feel that twinge of shame at my past behaviors. Hell, I can go back 3 months ago and find some wondrously stupid things I said or did that may have hurt someone or made me look like a complete jerk. If I didn’t feel that God knew my heart, I would tremble in fear that nothing awaited me at death but to be eternally damned. If I didn’t feel forgiven by a higher power, I would never be able to forgive myself. If I didn’t start this journey to become a better human being, I would be screwed.
I always laughed when people claimed they felt cleansed of sins. I figured it was a VERY convenient way to be a jerk all the time and just get forgiven. I understand what it means now. Feeling that grace and forgiveness…..is only given through a deep spiritual awakening. Without that deep awakening, you would not be capable of seeing so deeply into your flaws. Nor would you be able to start working on them. That is the key. Changing. it doesn’t come over night….but change does come to those willing to put in the effort.
Redemption is but an awakening away. It isn’t easy to come by. You have to crawl through a field of broken glass and see that ugly reflection of yourself that you tried to ignore….your true self. All that is left now, is forgiving myself.