I last wrote a forgiveness post on May 15, 2011. I started it with the first definition of forgive in the 2004 version of The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: to give up resentment of.
The few who actually read my blog regularly know that I have been working at becoming more like Immaculee Ilibagiza, the Rwandan genocide survivor who inspired me to forgive others. I have been reading Forgive for Good by Frederic Luskin from the Stanford Forgiveness Project to help me along my journey.
This is where I rant. A few short months ago I started a blog expecting that everyone related to the autism community would embrace my cause of educating others about girls on the autism spectrum and how being misunderstood causes harm. I mailed my novel to family members thinking they would read it and understand. I also gave copies of my novel to people at two local schools including counselors at my daughter’s now former school.
I wish I could tell you that everyone has been supportive and they are all helping me to promote my little novel written to teach tolerance and acceptance of differences to help decrease bullying in our schools. Unfortunately, this would be a lie.
Maybe I expect too much from people. My daughter is now at a virtual school because she did not receive adequate support. Some family members have failed to comment at all after having my novel for months.
I am really working on forgiving those who let us down. I believe forgiveness is the best option to avoid being consumed with anger at a world that let down not just me, but also let down my beautiful, talented, smart daughter. I do not want to become “one of them.” You know the ones I mean; the seemly, heartless bullies.
I left off my last forgiveness post promising to tell you more about Forgive for Good and how I am doing with this. Obviously, I am still working on forgiving. Part III of Dr. Luskin’s book covers eight chapters. I am only going to cover the first two steps today.
Part III: Step I
The first step is to change the grievance story, so we are no longer the victims and to let go of resentment.
I now realize that my daughter’s former school is an unhealthy environment for her, and I am grateful she is no longer there. I am also letting go of relationships that are harmful while continuing to work to educate those who are willing to listen. Others are still welcome to reach out, but I will not be begging for understanding. I am at peace with my decision.
I have wonderful supportive friends and some members of our family are supportive while others are trying to be supportive. My daughter is gaining self-esteem through the support she is receiving from the autism community. She is happy and her closest friends are supportive too. She is telling her story and I am very proud of her. Her story changed course, but it is still full of promise.
Part III: Step II
Changing the grievance story is step I. Step II is to look for beauty, joy, and love in your life. You can start with baby steps. My project gratitude posts are my way of doing this. You might do it another way. Dr. Luskin calls this changing your channel and he gives an excellent analogy of TV channel surfing to illustrate how to do this so we are not stuck on the anger/ victim channel.
Today I am grateful for my daughter’s happiness and for those who are supporting her as she tells her story. I hope some of you also will support her meager college fund by encouraging others to read the story she inspired.