If I believe anything about the nature of feelings, it is that they are ever-changing, all-encompassing, and uncontrollable.
Some might argue with this; I can actually hear my mom right now saying that you can indeed choose how you react to circumstance and shape your reaction so that it is healthy, rational and unaffecting. However, I just have this gut feeling that this is a stoic way to live one’s life; over-enthusiasm, deep sadness, brokenheartedness, despair, tearful laughter, and most importantly for the sake of this conversation, “lust”, love, and so on… should not be tamed or placed inside a locked box. It will eventually erode the feelings, until you feel nothing at all. And where will that get you?
Feelings are not our fault; they’re embodied by suffering and yearning and want; they are aided by uncontrollable imaginary images, the ever-so-poignant “expectation versus reality” (as seen in perfect visual accompaniment in 500 Days of Summer). And when we try to control them, they take hold of us. And at that point, we have a choice: we can either act on the urge perpetrated by feeling, or else we can not act. Whatever we choose, we are not at fault. It’s true: this is not our fault.
The idea of fault is something I’ve struggled with as of late. This is because I’ve been asking myself a fundamental question: how do I forgive myself? How do I make a move into loving and respecting myself enough to truly and fully understand, realize and appreciate that I have no reason or right to beat myself up for past incidents which I feel have rendered me an afraid, incompetant and reproachful, silent, closed-off individual? I have to remember that it isn’t my fault. And yet, I would sooner forgive an outside party for the lost fragments of my life, than I would myself. And the only way to move on is to make peace. I used to think putting to rest whatever incidents have made me feel this descent into a spiny, shattering figurine entailed forgiving the cause of the incident. I was sure I would never be able to forgive those on the outside. But recently I’ve discovered I by all means certainly do not have to and am under no emotional, moral or physical obligation to forgive anyone who’s done me wrong. They won’t care if I do or I don’t anyways. But if I don’t forgive myself, if I don’t halt the long process of self-blame and self-harm and perfectionistic thinking associated with my past, then I’m going to know about it. And I have to live in this body, with this spirit, and walk alongside my emotions, thoughts, feelings and ideas forever. I won’t go away from myself.
I think in terms of forgiving myself, I was unsure how to do so but upon recollection of my past, it’s easier than I thought… and I think this is because every incident has two perspectives; and you cannot choose what happened, or your feelings towards it, but time does shed logical light on happenstance. And in time, we can see both perspectives, and choose which one better fits our ultimate life outcome. We can weigh the options in retrospect and decide who won and who lost, what was gained and what was lost, or how the story REALLY ended. I used to think stories ended the way they ended. But we are the commentators and critics of our own life’s volumes. We observe with a bias, whatever that bias may be. And we either favour the hero, or the villain.
And in this knowledge, I have decided to firmly live my life with more confidence, perspective, self-love, self-esteem and optomism. Because I forgive myself. And as an aside, I totally, totally, totally won.