I do not have a perfect memory. Far from it. One of the aspects of my memory/forgetfulness that I find most distasteful is when I hurt other people. There have been times, however, when I have forgotten coffee dates, lunch dates, breakfasts, not because the other person isn’t important enough to remember, but simply because I had/sometimes still do, the tendency to forget to write things into my daytimer. In my forgetfulness, I have hurt people I care for and still they have given me the grace of their forgiveness.
Yesterday, I got to pay it forward.
A woman, one of the facilitators in this course, forgot our lunch date yesterday. When I realized she had, I had an option. To make it ‘all about me’ by telling myself, I wasn’t worth remembering, or that I wasn’t good enough. Or any other of a number of self-victimization stories about why her forgetting was because of who I am.
In my choice to not make it all about me, is the freedom to not victimize myself, to not diminish myself and to not let that event ripple out into the world in a bigger shockwave than it deserved.
It is not about me.
Doesn’t mean it’s okay to be stood up. It does mean it’s okay to be human. And in our humanness, is the permission to apologize, and make amends where possible.
In this woman’s forgetting I found my voice, and my power. At one point, as I walked along the beach gathering ‘heart rocks’, I thought about just ‘letting it go’. I knew she’d forgotten, that she hadn’t intentionally missed our date. Why bring it up and embarrass her?
Because I didn’t want it sitting between us. I like this woman. I was looking forward to spending time with her and would like an opportunity to do so still. To not mention the missed luncheon would leave me carrying the event, and when she did remember, which she inevitably would, it would mean I could play the victim to her, I’m so sorry.
I have no desire to play victim in my life.
And so, when I saw her later, I chose to check in without any attachment to the outcome. “I would like to clarify something with you,” I said, when I saw her as we reconvened for the afternoon session.” I understood we were to meet for lunch.
The words were barely out of my mouth when realization hit her. Her eyes widened, her mouth dropped open as she exclaimed, “OMG! I forgot! I am so sorry.”
Her forgetting is not about me.
My choosing how I dealt with it is.
Forgiveness is a powerful force. Letting go is too.
In choosing to let go of being the victim, in choosing to not feed my self-denigration with stories of my unimportance, I got to live the difference I want to be in the world.
I got to be 100% okay with who I am, how I am, where I am in the world today.
And I got to let her be okay with where she’s at too.
The best difference is to stop doing what we’ve always done that doesn’t work for us and choose to become accountable for how we are in the world today.