Forgiving others is one thing. Forgiving ourselves is another. It seems as if every day I become mindful of yet another piece of poison, as Don Miguel Ruiz would call them, that I somehow internalized as a child and have been living with for decades. The lies were all a part of my domestication to the planet. As we evolve and grow, we become mindful of those lies which we no longer agree to and which we must replace in our lives.
Removing them from our lives is one part of the process of healing and evolving. The other part is forgiving ourselves for internalizing them in the first place. Most of these lies, we may not have even realized were lies when we first internalized them. We just ate them because we were told they were good for us. They were supposed to help us be better human beings and function better in society. However, as we start growing and evolving, we begin to realize that some of those lies came from a need to conform to the status quo, not from a space of love and honoring people for who they were created to be.
I am a light-skinned biracial woman and for years, I hated the color of my skin. I was too light to fit in the black community and even though I can easily pass for white, it was always important for me to be surrounded by people who were of a diversity of racial backgrounds. Even when I was in places where diversity was supposed to be honored, not being white or black sent the message that I was a round peg in a square hole. I had to work to forgive myself for internalizing the belief that there was something wrong with being mixed. In seminary, I was given the opportunity to develop a biracial theology, which was so empowering for me and assisted me in my own journey.
So much of the suffering I see in the world seems to be because we have internalized other people’s lies and then have to work at removing them from our lives. As I tell my son, these lies are like splinters. When you can remove them in the beginning, there is a moment of discomfort and then they are gone. However, the further into your life they travel, the more infection they create and the more difficult they are to remove. It takes courage to remove them and the infection they created. In the process, we need to forgive ourselves for internalizing them in the first place.
We do not need to live with the lies of the planet. We can choose to live with the truthfulness of who we are and what we know to be truth at that moment. That truth may change over time, as we evolve, but for now, it is what we know to be truth. What would happen if as we worked through our personal agreements, we asked ourselves, what do I need to believe in order to continue believing this? What do I need to believe in order to continue doing these things? Does my continuing to internalize these beliefs come from a space of love or fear?
Living with contradictions in our lives is not easy. So today, begin the journey of eliminating the contradictions in your life. Forgive yourself for internalizing them and others for feeding them to you.