Please accept my apologies – I inadvertently list the same point in the Venn diagram below. The top circle is now correct.
In my January 20th post I mentioned a number of “way points” I needed to come to grips with before I could move forward in my PTSD counseling. I mentioned that the last way point “Forgiveness is acknowledging you cannot change the past” was the most important as in my mind if I cannot forgive myself, I would be caught in an endless loop of the past with no real chance at being present today with tomorrow an impossibility. I would always be stuck in the past, no matter how much counseling I would participate in.
I realized over the next four or five days that “Forgiveness is acknowledging you cannot change the past” was perhaps the important aspect of my personal PTSD journey. Until I truly understood this, I would never break free of it’s mind numbing and insidious grip. There’s a part of me that needs to understand the “why” something is so important before I can truly integrate it.
The more I thought about forgiveness, the more I realized this concept was the common denominator that enabled the integration of those six way-points referenced in my previous post.
As I thought about how to best show the relationship of each of these points, I realized a Venn diagram would best demonstrate the interconnectivity of each hard earned understanding over the past five years that has allowed me to finally forgive myself.
While the Venn diagram lists those six way-points, I would like to share those elements of why forgiving yourself is so absolutely crucial to a better journey through life:
- Forgiveness is acknowledging you cannot change the past; until you truly understand this, you cannot forgive yourself.
- If you cannot forgive your self, the past will control you
- Past actions must be acknowledged; they happened and must be understood and dealt with before you can move on. No action is an action.
- It’s how you come to grips with those acts…you can learn from them or ignore them at your own peril.
- If ignored, they will continue to fester, control your life, your relationships, goals, everything you want to do or accomplish will be adversely impacted.
- The past contains teaching points; it’s up to you to use them wisely or not – it’s your choice; once you recognize the event, dissect it to the nth degree, learn from it put it away as best you can.
- The past you is not who you are today, nor will it be who you are tomorrow. However, today cannot be truly lived, nor become the basis for tomorrow if you cannot learn and forgive yourself of your past
- The past can be a vortex of misery or a collection of happiness…or both. It is your choice how to accept, and forgive, your past
- Until you accept and forgive your past, you will never truly enjoy life in all it’s infinite possibilities
These are my personal thoughts of the importance of forgiving your past; that once forgiven, it changes everything for the better…my perspective, my outlook on life, my relationship with my wife and family, to name just a few.
I also know that PTSD will be with me always, that there will triggering events, and it’s up to me how I react to those events. Yet, at the same time, I no longer feel that it dominates my life as it once did.
Today is the bridge to tomorrow and it’s up to me, to each of us, of how our journey continues each day; that life must be lived today with tomorrow a world of infinite possibilities. More importantly, I finally feel “human” and it is an indescribable feeling of elation and joy to me.