Making Amends With the Past

Happy Self Care Sunday my Dearhearts! As you know, Self Care is all about taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. There’s lots of inner work we can do. Not all at once of course, and that’s what this post is all about.

We have to acknowledge how far we’ve come on our individual journeys.

A lot of things have been on my mind lately. If you’ve followed my posts for a while you’ll know that last year one of my friendships ended. The friendship really meant a lot to me, but at the same time she and I were very negative and destructive towards each other. It was a mess and had been for years. At the beginning of last year, perhaps the end of the year before that, I started to change. I really wanted to work on my shit. I wanted to stop being angry, mean, explosive, selfish, petty, abusive, and all of those things that I was. I wanted to practice forgiveness and acceptance. I wanted to give her the freedom to be herself without me constantly wanting her to be someone she wasn’t.

I failed miserably. 

She wasn’t in the same place, she was still angry and resentful with me over the past. I understood why, it’s like hitting someone over and over again, each time telling them that you’ve changed, and then going right back to hitting them. I can’t blame her for seeing me as the person that I used to be. Unfortunately that was something I earned. It made me angry and resentful that I was trying so hard to fix things and it wasn’t making a difference. I spent days crying, feeling like a complete failure, wondering why my efforts didn’t matter.

But it did matter.

Perhaps not to her, but it was a turning point for me. It was a time when I realized that I didn’t want to be that person that I had been in the past. It wasn’t enough for her, but it was enough for me. Instead of continuing the cycle of trying to fix things and being put down, I let go. I just stopped talking to her. No harsh words, no belittling, no fighting, I was as mature as I could be, something that was very new to me at the time. Believe me when I say that harsh words came very easily in that situation.

It’s been over a year since I made this change in myself and I look back at the past often. I think to myself, Why couldn’t I have changed my behavior sooner? Why couldn’t I have noticed that my actions weren’t healthy to me or anyone else? Why did it take me so long? Why, why, why?

It is happening now and that is enough.

I still struggle with the loss of that friendship, it is on my mind a lot. I want to reach out, to reconnect, but my intuition tells me that things haven’t changed enough for it to be a healthy choice. I want, and need, so badly to let go of the shame of the person I was.

Today’s Self Care Assignment is to acknowledge your journey. Acknowledge how far you’ve come.

I am far from perfect and it’s still frustrating. There’s so much that I want to be. I’m not there yet, but I’ve come so far. A year ago I was someone different. Five years ago I was someone different. I really like who I am now and I really like who I am becoming. I want you to feel the same way.

So even if you have work to do, and I think a lot of us feel that we do, accept that you’ve come far already. Bravely (if not fearlessly!) stepping on to the path of change and traveling your way down it. I am proud of you, and I think you are awesome for it!

What amends do you have to make? What things do you have to work on? How far have you come already?

  • Gin

    What a beautiful post, Dominee. I have come VERY far already – it feel good to be aware of that! But my journey isn't finished, there's still work to do on myself. I think there probably always will be, to some extent, because I don't think there's a "there" there, I think as long as we're here there will always be ways to change and grow and learn and become even more the person we were born to be.

    I'm sorry about the lost friendship. I made the decision earlier this year to end a long-term friendship that had become not-good for me, and I knew if I kept trying to make it okay it would mean that I'd have to keep trying to explain and justify being who I am. We'd just go in circles (because that's what had been happening any time we tried to make things okay… we gave it quite some time). The main thing is that I finally accepted my real feelings – I no longer felt emotionally safe being myself with her. She claims I couldn't forgive her – but that wasn't it, it wasn't about forgiveness (because I did forgive her) – but I finally realized I no longer trusted her. I'm sure she still totally blames me, but letting go of the relationship was what I had to do. It was painful, though, and in many ways I miss her and it still hurts. But sometimes those really hard and difficult letting-go and goodbyes are necessary. Big hugs to you…

  • I had a very good friend who used to tell me, "It takes what it takes."  Also, you do what you need to do when you are ready to do it, so you change your behavior when you can.  Or as Maya Angelou says, "When you know better, you do better."  Now you know!

  • dgoddessdawson

    I don't know if you read comments on old posts but I thank you for this!  This made me cry, but in a good-much-needed-release way.  I too lost a friend very dear to me for these same types of issues.  Right after that my marriage fell apart and I went through it all over again.  While I'm not in contact now with either of these people the emotional baggage from those "deaths" is still something I'm working really hard to lay to rest.

  • Wow. This is where I'm at … I want to stop those negative things. And I'm trying … just don't know how.

  • Oh, Dominee! I could have written a lot of this post, but not from the perspective of a year gone by. I've just had to decide to let one of my most longstanding friendships go for all the reasons you list. It's a toxic cycle, and I've always gone back before, but it's just not good for me (and probably not good for her, either). I keep wanting her to be the free, fun person she used to be rather than the person she seems to have become, and it's an unrealistic expectation. I feel guilty, I feel like a rotten friend, but staying is worse. And finally realizing that, without feeling like I don't have permission to do what instinct's been telling me to do for years…that's huge.