Forgive forgive and forgive again

4 Oct

Dear Ruth,

I am trying to embrace the grit doctor.

I walk 4 miles regularly and easily but everytime i try to move on my back acts up.I have two bulging discs and avoided surgery four years ago by exercise and walking and generally minding my back. How can I move my fitness level on ?

But please advise I had a serious falling out with my sister 4 years ago .After reading your book i said ok time to forgive and forget.I have phoned ,texted,written and met all to no avail .What do I do ? I cant keep on having every attempt at reconciliation thrown back at me ?

Thank you M

A: In response to the first part of your email, I’m afraid you will need to see a real doctor: so first stop, the GP, and then possibly a referral to a physio to help with your back. It is a very bad idea to run if it is causing you back pain. And look, it is great that you are managing to walk 4 miles regularly and easily. If that’s all that your back can take, so be it. Stick with what works, walk up hills or walk faster if you want to *grittify* those outings – provided of course that your back can take the added strain.

It is difficult to answer the second part of your email without knowing a little more of what lies behind it. That being said, the Grit Doctor loves a challenge and is a firm fan of the straightforward approach: No back story, no nonsense, no excuses, no blaming.

So, it was 4 years ago that you had a major falling out with your sister and have tried everything at a reconciliation. If by that you mean you have come to her with an open heart and open mind, free of judgement, and in the spirit of humility, apologised without reservation for your behaviour and despite this she was unable to reciprocate, then that is her call to make and, ultimately, her loss to bear, but you should feel entirely at peace with yourself in having let go of a big grudge. Your unequivocal apology that might make room for a proper reconciliation would have this kind of sentiment at its core:

“Sister, I am so sorry for what happened four years ago and for being such a bitch and behaving as I did. All I know is that I love you and the four years we haven’t enjoyed our relationship as sisters have been a total waste. I miss you. I will always love you and the door is always open for you to come back into my life. No conditions and no expectations. Its up to you, but I have made my peace with the past and want to move forward. I would love nothing more than to have a good relationship with you like we did as children and for all the years before what happened. I think we could have an amazing relationship again and I will remain hopeful always that this is possible for us. I love you very much and I miss you more than I can say.”

It is about asking for forgiveness rather than giving it. It is about getting off our high horse and saying sorry – even when it wasn’t our fault. Even if you don’t think that its fair, and especially when you think (or know) that you are in the right. And if you don’t feel like saying the above then you haven’t yet made peace with what happened, nor are you really ready to forgive both yourself and your sister which is why she is not responding as you’d hoped and you still have a lingering sense that you have not yet buried the hatchet.

I am stabbing in the dark a bit here but all quarrels have at their heart a perceived injustice and it is only when we let go of that perceived injustice completely that we can set ourselves free of it. It takes a lot of courage and utter humility to be truly sorry and ask for forgiveness, but the rewards speak for themselves….a lost friendship restored, a family connection reborn.

The Grit Doctor says:

When only love remains in the space where the complaint once lived, forgiveness is complete and your work is done.

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2 Responses to “Forgive forgive and forgive again”

  1. Tink October 5, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Ruth, I just want to say thank you. You can’t possibly know how well timed this post was for me – I too am going through a similar situation and this post appeared in my inbox merely minutes before I had to go and confront a similar situation with my mother. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out as I hoped, but I feel at peace knowing that I’ve done all I can to mend our relationship. I still can’t quite believe the timing, but you really did help me through a difficult time, and for that I thank you.

    • gritdoctor October 6, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      Glad to hear it but sorry it didn’t turn out as you’d hoped. Best of luck, Ruth

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