#BlogElul 10: Forgive

(for the Jewish month of Elul, which happens to coincide pretty perfectly with the month of September this year, I’m going to try to blog once a day about one of the themes for the month to prepare for the upcoming Yamim Nora’im or High Holy Days. I will most likely blog in the evenings, so it will technically already be the next day in the Hebrew calendar, but I’m really going to try to keep up with this! you can pop on over to originator Rabbi Phyllis Sommer’s blog for more details about this project.)

forgive is an interesting word for me to consider because it’s such a heavy concept. despite my zodiac sign’s stereotype for holding grudges, which people remind me of very often, I am actually the type to forgive others—but I cannot forget, not really, and I have a very different relationship with forgiveness when it comes to forgiving myself. I very much subscribe to the idea I grew up with, where forgiveness is not a gift to the person I forgive but rather a gift to myself—a way to let go of things before they fester and I just end up poisoning my own life with bitterness. this makes forgiving other people easy enough, but it creates issues with forgiving myself, as not forgiving myself poisons/punishes me and that seems more appealing than letting me just move on.

that is why I decided to be transparent about having missed days in blogging instead of just backdating some posts in the darkness and pretending nothing happened—which is definitely what I would’ve done in literally every other blog I have ever had—or just giving up like I have done in many other occasions and in many contexts. but I think that part of forgiving yourself is being honest about your errors and shortcomings so you can move past it, so I’m being transparent and just doing a catch-up post for the inevitable days that I miss so I can find ways to keep going.

and since is the season of atonement, I think that I’m not just going to make sure I’m atoning for however I’ve hurt people in the past year—but I’m also going to work to be more open to other people trying to atone so we can move on. in particular, I think that I have exhausted myself having the same conversation with people over and over and, in the situations where we have to continue to interact, I’m going to let go of the past and find a way to move forward. I recognize that on most cases our relationship will never be the same, but I’ve made peace with that—and I think that, once we open the door for a new kind of relationship, there’s a chance that we’ll even end up better than we started. only time will tell, but it seems to me that it’s a much better alternative than just obsessing about what has been lost. I know it’s not going to be an easy thing to do, but I have been trying to work on this with some people in my life and it has honestly removed a lot of the anxiety that our interactions have been giving me.

until next time, y’all!

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