In many years of blogging, I’ve learnt more than I thought possible about character and what drives others.
I’ve experienced selfless kindness on a daily basis and on such a staggering scale over the years it’s felt utterly life-affirming (thank you amazing readers and friends) but yes, along with that immense joy has come grave darkness too: libellous rhetoric, body shaming (too fat/too thin), passive aggression, faux friendship, scathing remarks about my family and untruths about my job and background.
We all, however, need the shade to see the light, right? Without it, we cannot value kindness and integrity to the degree it deserves.
I’m lucky that any negativity has been minimal to be honest. In fact, I can count the incidences above, on just one hand. Not bad for 7 years of sharing my life so openly online.
The upside to the downside (!) is that I’ve learnt the importance of forgiveness: the power of truly forgiving those who have tried and sometimes succeeded in hurting my family and I.
I’ve also forgiven myself for my own downfalls: in being reactionary at times when I should have just taken a deep breath ( I hate injustice) or for my sometimes over-sensitive ways. I accept my own flaws so can empathise with others’.
A smart psychologist and author Hillary L McBride sent me these wise words recently which resonated, ‘Hurt people hurt people’.
I realise people can sometimes misinterpret situations and know full well that we each view one another via our own prism of experience and baggage, but it’s vital to remember that we’re in control of how others makes us feel.
It’s taken 37 years to get here, but every person who has tried to break my spirit or lied about me in order to make themselves feel better, or who has hidden behind a screen falsely believing baloney, firing faux stones in an attempt to break my metaphorical bones are HONESTLY forgiven. From the bottom of my heart. Harbouring hurt or feeling resentful is a fool’s game. Letting go is liberating.
As an annoyingly, ‘always positive’ person I rarely dwell on negativity, PMT aside, and I’m incredibly grateful for all the love and support I receive each day. Just today a brand asked others on their FB page who their favourite blogger was and I felt teary-eyed to see so many people tag my blog page…I wanted to write this however, as I receive a lot of messages from others dealing with unkindness on and offline, and I wanted my words to empower them (and you)…
Life is so incredibly short, yet so much good can be done in a lifetime, so many lives potentially touched and transformed so joy must lead us all. Whenever I doubt my purpose, I remember the emails I’ve received, or the women who stop me in the street to thank me for helping them feel more confident, or who now, have a blog or business thanks to my work.
I remind myself that all the dots connect eventually and making my feature film (the path I was on pre-kids when I started developing it at Redbus, now Lionsgate) is within my reach, and that, along with continuing my work here, is part of my 5 year plan. That getting emotion up on screen (big or small) and helping others is what drives me.
That sleeping at night knowing who I am and loving my fearless self, (an act of courage in itself) is the key to contentment. That everything in my life starts with me. That when we love ourselves deeply enough, we can love others too. With unconditional love comes forgiveness. One cannot survive without the other.
It’s what I teach my kids so must lead by example too. We all must.
To be honest and strong, and to forgive.
It doesn’t mean tolerating nastiness or engaging with it. It’s about advocating and practising overcoming hate with love, in going high when others go low Michelle Obama style. It’s about empathy. In digging deeper than the surface and seeing others’ insecurities and fears first and understanding that’s what lurks behind negativity. Fear.
It’s about living with purpose, and laughing more than crying.
My Dad often scalds me that I forgive too easily. He fears my generous spirit (like his own) will always give me grief. And sometimes it has and know doubt will again, but it’s worth it, as with empathy, integrity and the ability to forgive without holding a grudge has come glorious, real friendship and relationships, and who could want for anything more?!