I enjoy listening to Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries television and radio broadcasts. One broadcast in particular has left a lasting impression on me. Dr. Stanley spoke about his struggle with forgiving his stepfather and the fact there are many things that he wished he had a chance to say to him. His stepfather passed away many years ago so the conversation to repair their relationship is no longer an option in a physical form. Dr. Stanley went on further to describe a method of coping with forgiveness by sitting in a chair and placing another chair beside you imaging the person you struggle to forgive is there. The conversation should be open and honest and express every bit of anger, unresolved questions or resentment that you may have.
Too many, this may sound strange at first but if you do not let go and express the pain of your past it will haunt your present relationships in many forms of dysfunction. This extends far beyond the notion of gender-based stereotypes in terms of expressing feelings and emotions because at the end of the day no one can love unconditionally without knowing how to forgive. The forgiveness extends far beyond other people it also involves forgiving one’s self. True forgiveness begins with the acknowledgement of the offense and over time releasing the need for a payment of debt in order to embrace forgiveness. Truthfully, my struggle with forgiveness is my desire for an apology from someone and the reality that it may never arrive. The additional struggle is the “get over it factor” , the notion that I have moved on from my pain but upon further examination I often discover I have not come to grips with the true depths of my emotions.
Terrie Williams author of Black Pain, says “you have to learn to sit with your pain.” Sitting with your pain involves getting up close and personal with how you really feel about something and the impact it has taken on your emotional stability. You cannot control what has happened in your past or even what will happen in your future but you can control how you choose to respond to whatever happens in your life. Dr. Stanley and Miss Williams both have the same basic principle in mind an individual has to spend some time embracing the toll of painful experiences including exploring the taboo subjects of clinical depression and repressed anger.
Overall, I challenge you to sit with your own pain because ignoring it delays open communication as the key to the success of both your personal and professional relationships.
About Author: Alicia Michelle Morgan was born and raised in New Orleans. This Louisiana native is as unique in substance as the flavorful combinations in a pot of gumbo. A graduate of Tuskegee University and New Mexico State University with degrees in engineering it’s hard to imagine at first glance an introspective and outside the box thinker lies beneath. The birth of the pen name A.M. Morgan is the outer extension of an inner voice taking on a new world where an appreciation for the creative and performing arts takes center stage.