This person had been living rent-free in my head for more years than I am willing to admit. Our last interaction had felt abrupt and sudden, but in hindsight, it wasn't at all. It was the end of a long ending. There were so many moments leading up to THAT moment. I can that see now.
When it happened, and we both knew that it was final and there was no coming back from it, I busied myself with anything else I could and did a really good job of not thinking about it. If the loss isn't acknowledged, does it count? If the loss isn't felt, is their pain?
After a few months, I started to replay that final interaction over and over in my head. After a few months more, I started to see the moments that led up to it. I started to understand just how long I'd lived in delusion that it was a healthy relationship. I started to see how many ways I'd endured each interaction to not rock the boat and make the other person's world better at the expense of my own.
And then I started to get mad. Really mad.
I colored the entire relationship through the lens of that anger and wasn't able to see anything but the shitty moments that just made me even angrier. When I spoke about those moments with others who remembered them, I developed my Comedy Central Roast style material to destroy that person and everything they stood for (and maybe still do.)
And then one day, I just got tired of it. All that energy had been expended on my part to make me feel better about myself and overlook all the ways that I tolerated and likely contributed to the eventual demise. I got so tired I had to stop. And in stopping, I got to see what was actually going on. I got to see that I was the only person still thinking about those moments. This person, as far as I know, hasn't ever thought about any of those moments since we ended things. There is no middle for mind share. There is nothing, just what I was making it to be in my head to make me feel better about the ways that I'd been wronged.
But that burden was mine alone. So I dropped it.
I closed my eyes, took three and deep intentional breaths, pictured this person in my head, and said out loud, "I forgive you."
I took two more deep breaths and as I went to open my eyes, my mental image of them transformed. It went back to a good time that we did have. It became lighter.
I became lighter. I was able to Make Room for everything else that had been crowded out by my over-obsessed angry revisionist history. All of it just became a thing that happened and is no longer happening. A thing of the past. Just like a lot of other things.
Choosing to forgive is a decision you can make right now to Make Room in your life for everything else that is to come. Forgiveness might be the most important thing needed in order to begin something new.
It is certainly essential to being good at being human.
And when it all comes down to it, isn't being better at humaning everyone's goal?