I listen to Eminem…a lot. I think his music is witty, creative, well worded, and just over all hilarious. One of the things I like most about his music (besides the way he can paint an amazing picture with his words) is that most of his songs have a message. Not just raping “sluts”, doing drugs and killing women, as some might think. An actual message. A MEANING to his music.
He released a song on his newest album called “Headlights”. In the song, he basically apologizes to his mother (his past songs chronicle the constantly deteriorating relationship they have/had) for the things he has said to her and about her, and he says that he forgives her for what she’s done to him.
That song has gotten me thinking about my own birth mother. It has been a couple months since I decided to forgive my entire birth family, and the people I feel have wronged me throughout my life. As I’ve mentioned before, just because I forgive someone doesn’t mean what they did was right, or that I condone it. It simply means that I no longer choose to hold onto the anger and bitterness that lingers when one is hurt over and over.
I’ve also recently been toying with the idea of how I view my birth parents, namely my birth mother. I try not to think about my birth father. I am not yet at the point where I can consciously wrap my head around what he did and be ok with it. I WANT to forgive him, which I’m told is the main thing. Anyway, I know that in September of last year, I wrote a post stating that I did not think my birth parents did the best they could when raising me, which seems to imply that they knew the impact they were having on me, and purposefully continued anyway, disregarding my feelings. My views have changed on this subject.
I believe that my birth parents, and my extended birth family, DID do the best they could. I believe the people in a particular church who abandoned me did the best they could. I believe that everyone who has ever hurt me did the best they could.
A person can only behave in a way that they know. If a person has been raised around critiscm and hate, that is the way they will be around others until they LEARN a new way to act. If a person has been raised to see the best in people, they will always see others in a positive light. I know that my birth parents did not come from easy households. I know both sets of their parents. I can imagine, as children, my birth parents had hard lives, but in different ways.
I can imagine my birth father was constantly having to live up to his parents’ expectations. I know they thought that he should succeed in certain ways, exude certain traits, and marry a certain kind of woman. I can imagine that would put a lot of pressure on a person, and affect the way they live their life. My birth mother was raised with physically and verbally abusive parents, which would explain a lot about how she acts. Her parents were constantly disregarding her and her siblings’ needs in order to purchase nonessential things for themselves. Until one actively seeks out change in their life, they will default to whatever behavior it is that they know. One cannot be blamed for acting the only way they know how.
Up until recently, I was not a nice person. Not to people who really knew me. I was able to hide all my nasty behaviors, until I got comfortable with you. Then I was rude, critical, angry and mean. I could never be satisfied. I was constantly feeling hurt by others, and lashing out as a result. It wasn’t until I actively sought out different ways to be that I was able to change. Up until then, I was only acting on what I knew. What I had been taught.
One of the affirmations I very much like is:
Everybody is doing the best they can; including me.
I used to repeat that affirmation when I was beating up on myself for mistakes I’ve made. Then I realized that the first part of this affirmation applies to others. “EVERYONE is doing the best they can…” I’ve started repeating that affirmation now when I feel others are being hurtful to me. I use it to remind myself that Crazy Jay may not be perfect, but he, too, is doing the best he can.
Now, let me say that, just because I believe that everyone is doing the best they can doesn’t mean that their best is good enough for me. If someone’s best is to be constantly critical, judgmental, demeaning and condescending, I do not have to accept them into my life. I am the one who decides who I allow in my world. If one is not evolved enough to overcome their hurtful behaviors, they do not need to have anything to do with me. I do not need to be mean and judgmental back at them, however. I can simply say to myself, “Hey, they are not far enough along in their journey to be able to interact with me in a way that will not be negative and harmful to me. This is not a person that I want to spend time with.” It’s as simple as that. I don’t need to judge them for what they say or do. I don’t need to critique them, or try to change them. I can change no one’s actions but my own. I need to accept everyone as they are, RIGHT NOW. I cannot expect people to change for me. It is up to me to decide how to react when I encounter a mean, hurtful person. My decision is to keep them out of my life, or to eject them from my life.
So, yes, I now believe that my birth family did the best they could. That doesn’t change the fact that they each exhibit deeply hurtful behaviors, and that I don’t want to interact with any of them. I forgive them for what they did. I forgive them their failures. I wish them all the best. I hope they can each find the happiness that comes from truly loving and accepting oneself.
I learn to forgive and release. Inner peace is my goal.