Forgiveness Where None Is Due
I have a friend who hates learning. When she was a child, she was always scolded and severely punished for things ranging from lack of focus to bad grades. To this day, when it comes to studying her whole being rebels and hates it with a passion.
I thought about her because I came across this Maya Angelou quote:
“Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know
before you learnt it.”
I read it twice. At first, it seems a bit of an oxymoron: why would you need to forgive yourself, if you didn’t know?
But can you recall how many times you honestly expected from yourself to know something that you’ve never done before? To have all the answers?
And how many times were you admonished or punished for this?
Many years ago, as many of us did at one moment in their lives, I had a babysitting job. The mother was a doctor who sometimes was called at the hospital at aleatory hours, and the father had to go overseas on a three months contract. I took care of their 5 years old girl – a beautiful, intelligent and affectionate child.
Things seemed to go pretty much as usual in a family with busy professionals.
Except that the mum was a bit unstable and always the diva at home.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a superstar in your own family.
Except that her child came in the fourth place in her mother’s order of priorities.
The mum always had to be the centre of attention, everything had to be dropped down to assist her, and nobody was to disturb her with problems because at home she “needed her space”.
She wasn’t a bad woman, but she had the bad habit of threatening her daughter with leaving. When the girl did not perform well in school, when she made mistakes, or misbehaved, there came the inevitable words “I’m leaving! I’ll just go away and never come back!”
You’d think with time this will get old because the threats were never carried on – ah, but that’s when fresh spice would be added! Like, mum calling her husband in front of the child, telling him she was going to leave because their daughter was a bad girl. Or even starting to pack a suitcase – which would throw the poor child into a heartbreaking desperate frenzy of tears and pleas to stop her.
I don’t want to discuss the mother’s parenting style – but that’s quite a way to instil fear and feelings of unworthiness into your child!
One evening when I was alone with the girl we got to speak about nightmares. She confessed that her worst and most recurrent dream was that she would wake up and her mum would be gone forever.
No wonder in such instance learning becomes a dread.
No wonder you end up feeling you should always have the right answers if you are to be seen, accepted and loved.
As a grown-up who possesses the discriminatory power, you can see that you do not need to be forgiven for not knowing something before you learnt it.
But the 5-year-old inside of you doesn’t.
Can you forgive them?
Is Fear Of Being Judged Running Your Life?
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