Deep in meditation this morning, I came to the part where I bring to mind someone I need to forgive, someone I have difficulty with.
The person who came to mind was me. Only, it was me forty years ago. A troubled teenager with greasy hair and a brown, belted coat that she used to wear everywhere. A tormented teenager whose mind was never at peace, busy with voices that were the start of lifelong mental health issues. A teenager who had lost the father she adored and didn’t know which way to turn.
Nowadays, after a bereavement, children are probably offered counselling or guidance, but not then. When she hit adolescence, this teenager went off the rails: started running away from home. No warning, no “Cheerio, Mum!”, just open the door and go. It brought her mum untold misery and stress at a time when she, too, was vulnerable. This was a bad girl. An evil girl.
Except, she wasn’t. She was just sad.
It took a long time to put this sadness right. Even now, there remains a residual uncertainty. A lack of confidence. A deep-seated sensation of never, ever being good enough and of pushing herself – myself – to achieve. And who am I trying to prove myself to?
This morning, it became clear that it is time to let this obsession go, with kindness and compassion for the girl I was and the circumstances that occurred. To forgive my teenage self, rather than picking over her failures like old scabs. Rather than being angry at her, it is time to love her. Things turned out ok. And I’ve grown up to be a useful, loving and kind grandmother.
What can you let go of today? What gift can you bring to yourself for the rest of your life?