“When someone shows you who they are, believe them”

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them”- Maya Angelou                       A coworker spoke this truth to me today, as I lamented a betrayal by someone that I considered a friend. With this quote in mind, I write tonight about betrayal, forgiveness, and forgetting.

I write this with a heavy heart, but as one quote I cherish says: “You own every thing that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

I was the recipient of a great deal of hurt in college. I had high hopes that college would be less dramatic than high school…it wasn’t. I had even higher hopes that adulthood would be less dramatic than college and high school combined…it hasn’t been. Adults are just as, if not more so, dramatic than teenagers.

Two of my hallmark quotes for my students are, “Don’t water dead plants” and “If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes on it.” Yet, as much as I speak these truths to them, I have a hard time following them myself. In complete honesty and vulnerability, I let myself harp on things much longer than I should. I also have an easy time saying “I forgive you,” and I mean it wholeheartedly, but then I struggle to actually forgive and forget. (Can I just say the devil just whispered what a bad Christian I am for even feeling this way?! Oh, how he loves to hit me in my weak spots).

So, why am I writing this? Because, again, I need to process. I am a woman who claims to prefer guy friends and who proclaims frequently her hate of drama. I still would say that I do identify with both statement…but…I want so badly to have girl friends and often (even the guy friends) that brings drama and betrayal.

This year I have struggled as I have pondered betrayal, friendship, forgiveness, forgetting the wrongs, and when it’s right to cut someone out. Oh, dear friends, how I have struggled. I have been convicted of my Christian need to give grace, forgiveness, love, and “keep no record of wrongs.” I also have been drawn to love myself, and if that means cutting off someone who hurts me, then being able to cut them off. Especially as I have started practicing yoga and self awareness, as combatants for anxiety and two chronic illnesses, I have focused on the fact that you have to love yourself to love others. If you don’t love yourself, then how will anyone know how to love you properly?

So here I complain about the ones who I should have believed when they showed me who they were. I won’t name any names but here is some of the things I, any maybe you (if only slightly similarly), have experienced in the last few months:

  1. A “friend” spreading a rumor about me….shortly after lamenting others spreading rumors about them….like, wait, what?
  2. Someone who has done their best, at every turn, to tear apart my relationship….oh, but how I wanted her to be one of my girl friends!
  3. A new “friend” went and told something I had told her in confidence to someone who used it to try and hurt me, perhaps solely for their (mutual?) amusement, it’s still unclear. Again, dang it, I wanted her to be my girl friend.
  4. A “friend” frequently makes snide comments, yet, when it is to their benefit they wants me around and builds me up to get where they want to be.
  5. A “friend” twisted my words to hurt someone I loved very dearly.
  6. A “friend” lied about me to someone, and also made hurtful comments to me, about my health as I was dealing with some already heavy decisions over my health issues.

These are the people I should have believed but a part of me wanted to forgive and forget. When clearly I needed to forgive and forget them as I ran the other direction from their “friendships.”

I have some I still question if it was forgivable or not, not listed here.

AND I have the friends who deserve forgiveness and forgetfulness, because they are looking out for my best interest.

  1. The friends who stand up for me when I’m hurt, even if what they say isn’t what I want to hear.
  2. The friend who tells me I need to get the help I need for my anxiety and depression, when I feared getting said help.
  3. The friend who reminds me to be careful who I trust, even if I wanted to be that untrusthworthy person’s friend.
  4. The friend who tells me to remember who I am, and what I deserve…even if they don’t always have the most gentle words.

I want to be a woman who forgives. I want to be a woman who forgets the hurts to move forward. I also want to be a woman who is strong enough to walk away when she is mistreated, whether it be once that is beyond the “let’s still be friends” line or repeatedly by a person who clearly doesn’t have my best interests at heart.

I also want to be a woman who is a trustworthy friend. I want to be a woman who speaks frankly with her friends. I want to be a woman who has their best interests at heart. I realized today I am not always that friend. I realized that as I have been so caught up in my own stressors, it has been days since I asked my best friend how she is. I am currently sitting here in absolute guilt about not being the friend I want to be or the friend I want to have.

I want to better understand forgiveness. I want to better understand keeping a record of no wrongs. I want to be better at being selfish in my own pursuits while also being selfless to those who I care about the most.

I want to have no fear of opening my heart to new friends, especially girl friends. I want to also be better at guarding my heart against those who are not worthy of my trust and friendship.

What would I love to hear from you today (any or all):

  1. how long do you take to “trust” someone as a “friend?”
  2. What is your cut off line for wrongdoings by a friend?
  3. What are your tips for “forgetting” once you forgive?
  4. Do you believe Maya Angelou’s quote, and if so, how do you go about cutting people off?
  5. Bible verses to support any of these ideas.

All my love, Lo

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