J and I had to work on apologizing and forgiving each other this week.
There was a lot to apologize and forgive for. In the past three months a lot had happened, and a lot was left un-communicated, we became emotionally disconnected, and resentment, frustration, and anger built up. Opening the lines of communication back up just by recognizing what had happened and beginning to apologize and forgive has already strengthened and deepened our understanding. I already feel so much healing and reconnection taking place. It has been magnificent.
It can be so painful to go through this. When I am in pain, my ability to communicate gets warped, and yet my need to be honest goes way up. The feeling that my true feelings and experiences aren't being expressed accurately gives me a stomach ache. I have to reach this place of breaking past a deep shell and just letting myself be vulnerable. Fortunately, I feel blessed to have a partner who doesn't trample on that vulnerable part of myself; he respects it and actively listens to me. Of course, this requires him to be in a space himself where he can actively listen. I know for myself, that when I feel angry I struggle to actively listen and understand another person's point of view. It is a process to remember to be a active and compassionate listener.
Forgiveness is a process. It is similar to the grieving process. It is as much about the person forgiving as the person you are trying to forgive. It is releasing past hurt in order to feel a lighter load and move forward. It is not about forgetting. This article was helpful to me in remembering the art and benefits of forgiveness.
Throughout this process of communicating, apologizing, and forgiveness, my wonderful cousin told me: I have a feeling you are almost to the top of this huge hill, and it's really hard right now. But you're almost there. And when you get to the top, you are going to look out across this amazing and beautiful field of flowers.
I covered my face and cried. I wanted to believe her, and believe in myself and in J.
I am glad I did. Because I feel we are there now.