Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Love and forgiveness

A close friend and I were discussing love.

Like what is it really.

I said I believe genuine love is an exercise in terminal forgiveness. If I love someone I'm in a state of perpetual forgiveness.

When two people choose to forgive each other for virtually everything that actually does not matter, that's true love.

I'm not talking about the big things - any verbal or emotional abuse or worse can't be tolerated. Even if there is the urge to hang out with that person in the mistaken name of love - nope, it's buh bye. That's not forgiveness, it's masochism.

I'm talking about the little things. The tiny things that can build. The way she chews her gum - the fact that he chews it at all.

You know what I mean. The little things. That build.

A big complaint is directed at people who "suck" their teeth in an effort to clean them without brushing. At first it may sound ... sweet. But for some reason after he moves in with you it becomes so irritating you buy him electric toothbrushes, floss, sonic-spray and more, but he doesn't stop. So that "minor" issue becomes major, when in the great scheme of things it really does not matter - if your mind and emotions are directed on stuff that actually does matter.

Unless you're forgiving. And in a really recognized way. That is, saying out loud or whispering to yourself, "I forgive her for chewing gum, I'd rather be around the sound than not around her at all."

Same with the bazillion of other things that can drive us nuts if we aren't fundamentally interested in being around that person. As in, obviously, you aren't that into him/her.

But in the end it's not about the other person, it's about us.

Why does his/her particular habit grate on our nerves? What does that reflect within us? About us? And why don't we just tell him or her to cut it out?

Do we love that person enough to forgive the little things, knowing that the big things are handled? The respect, the thoughtfulness, the care, the fun, the tenderness, the kindness, the appreciation, the soft place to fall?

Do we love and respect that other person enough to ask for what we need? Does he or she love and respect us enough to hear just how incredibly frustrating our tooth-sucking can be?

Are our priorities loving and forgiving or are they more involved with trying to discover what is wrong with the other person? The Frasier Crane syndrome.

Another friend and colleague is the father of two terrific teenage girls and a devoted husband to his long-time wife. On Father's Day, I ended a work email with "I hope your female family is spoiling you rotten today!"

He wrote back, "They are making me feel very special and appreciated. But spoiling? That's *my* job."

Now there is a man who's so in love he must spend a lot of time forgiving ...

I enjoy the whole notion of forgiving people I love and care for. I don't expect perfection or want it - maybe I'm afraid if I did, they'd expect the same from me. And I'm far from perfect.

Besides, being upset about something takes far too much energy; energy I'd rather spend feeling good; feeling good helps my creativity and being creative makes me happy.

So I guess what it ultimately has to come down to - since my premise is that it's really about us and how we react to people - is that as long as I can forgive myself for the little stuff, knowing the big stuff like self respect and self esteem are going for me, I stand a good chance of forgiving others for stuff that, in the end, don't matter anyway.

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