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Be the Change... forgive. Friday January 15, 2016

One of the first times I was depressed back in the early nineties, when days were very dark and full of self-harm thoughts, I sought many ways to attempt to 'move'.

One of those strategies was to consider; if I only had six months to live what three things would I do?

One of the three things I wrote down, was to call my father and tell him that I love him.

This is to a man whose harassment and physical abuse in my mind, pretty much killed my mother (she died of cancer when I was fifteen) as I now firmly believe that living a stressful life can at times cause such disease. He had also been physically violent to me and his fists were his 'words' when drunk and angry.

Some of you may remember I wrote a blog about my father 'The Gift of Darkness'

Now while I only came to that 'gift' a few years ago, I did make that call in 1993 and uttered those words.

He simply said "I've had to sit down, my whole scalp is tingling and I don't know what to say."

I simply replied, "You don't have to say anything, I've said what I wanted to say."

While we still didn't really converse much after that and he continued to live a kind of drunken and bullying life, where he could never touch or hug me, even if I asked; I did have the courage to tell him what I felt at that time.

It meant for me that I had moved on – that I had forgiven – that I had taken into account the life he himself had lived with two other siblings, each from a different father with a mother would have beaten him badly.

Who do you still need to forgive?

I believe that everyone is 'doing their best' with what they have (See Brene Brown's new book – Rising Strong). That may mean that there is still a requirement to realise that there are repercussions to behaviour and at times a requirement that it may change. For us, we at times need to make the effort to help and not 'hit'.

And as I said last week – 'If you don't have time, it's not important enough'.

Taking the time to do what came in response from my spirit, to the questions about having only 6 months to live, resulted in my world being kinder as I had just made it so.

Do you have the time and courage to make your world kinder today?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Adam Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 7:05am

Telling your father you loved him was a very courageous thing to do in the circumstances Les. Nevertheless, I am sure you rightly gained strength from doing so.

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 12:59am

Hi Adam - you are right, I did.

danielle Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 8:09am

Les what a brilliant blog. Forgiveness can be very hard but also liberating. I have had a difficult relationship with my father, he was in and out of my life most of my childhood and has a tendency to be manipulative and almost psychologically abusive. He did this to my mum, step mum, me and my half brothers, girlfriends etc, we have seen history repeat itself a thousand times. Now he lives overseas and i see him a few times a year but it is always pleasant but still rather superficial, he does have a very kind and loving side, but we are all still a little wary to let him in and become vulnerable again. I am working on it but when someone has let you down so so so many times it is hard to let them back in. I do not hold a grudge but I am quite guarded. I think the phrase 'if you dont have time, its not important enough' is so very true. actions always speak louder than words. i have some friends who will struggle to make meet ups or stay in touch and say 'oh i have been so busy' every time, meanwhile others who are genuinely extremely busy manage to speak to me almost daily. I am sure I am guilty of the same as we all are, but it does make me think it shows what is important to me xxx

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:00am

Hi Danielle - Thanks for your revealing your own father story and keep exploring and reflecting on what is important to you.

Hopeful One Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 8:11am

Hi Les- thanks for reminding me to : "forgive or forget - chose ONE" and early as possible. “The first to apologise is the bravest, the first to forgive is the strongest, and the first to forget is the happiest.” Moodscope 31.07.15

Hopeful One Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 10:30am

Hi Les- I went a little further than six months. I reasoned that the one group of people who had a vested interest in my demise were the life insurance companies.If they could predict my departure accurately then they would be able to calculate my premiums such that the premiums covered the death payout and left a tidy profit for the shareholders . They have actuaries to predict life expectancy . So I got hold of their tables and found a simplified formula which was good enough for me. To use this formula one needs to know how long one's maternal and paternal grandparents lived. One adds the four numbers and divide by four . The resulting number is one's life expectancy plus / minus 2 years( the actuaries have more sophisticated formulae and can predict even more accurately ). My figure was 76 years +/_ 2 years . I use that number to set the three things I must do before my time is up! This number of course takes no account of medical advances but anything above 78 are my 'bonus ' years .

Sheena Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 10:30am

That is so true Hopeful One. Sheena

the room above the garage Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 10:36am

Hello HO, this is hugely interesting! I'm full of your drug, hope, as one of mine is still around! :-)

Norman Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 9:52pm

Both of my granddads were killed in WWII. What ages do I use for them in the calculation?

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:01am

Hi HO - thanks for your interesting input.

Hopeful One Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 7:32am

Hi Norman- good question . I don't really know the answer. I have faced a similar question from individuals who were adopted at birth and have had no contact with their biological parents.

Angela Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 9:12am

Thank you Les .. Just Thank you ????

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:01am

Hi Angela - thank YOU.

Soulmansblue Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 9:46am

Morning Les,

Your blog really struck a note with me, about forgiveness and moving on!

On Monday I posted a package to my Dad [in France] who I haven't seen in over 15 years and 15 years before that. Yes we have remained in contact or should I say that I have!

It's strange ever since he walked out 40 years ago my Mum has defended him and kept me from telling him whether face to face or through a letter what I thought or how he'd made me feel.

I tried once along time ago while I was extremely down and on the verge of trying to commit suicide. He never normally writes but I did get a reply!

Yeah, great he virtually laughed off what I had written and made light of it. 'Was I trying to make him feel guilty?' he asked. Maybe, but I really just wanted answers. I didn't even get one. The rest of the letter was all about everything but!

After that I gave up for a while and then each time I either would put it off or Mum would ask me not to using one excuse or another.

This time I've written a long letter, included some of my artwork and articles and a local newspaper which also has an article of mine that it published.

The letter explains why I haven't said anything before. I ask him not to take what I say to heart as all is now said and done. There is nothing left to answer to, I just wanted him to know. I did tell him that I loved him, I can't remember the last time he told me that or that he was indeed proud of me.

Whether I get a reply remains to be seen, but I have forgiven him and moved on. I just took along time to write the letter. Mum knows and is angry with me.

I am really pleased that you contacted your Father, despite all the things that he did. Forgiveness is a good thing and telling him will leave you with no regrets in later life.

As for looking at how you would feel if you were given only 6 months to live, I'm afraid I would say bring it on!

It would be a relief to me, knowing that I would no longer possibly face further failed suicide attempts and that I would finally get to leave this godless world behind.

This world is only happy when it's fighting one kind of war or another. Allowing the bad to hide behind laws that were meant to protect the good. What is life if you're not happy, if you are suffering and just surviving from one minute to the next.

Yes, many people care but they don't pull the strings of this world. This world makes noises but never actually follows through and fulfills them.

I would much prefer to meet my maker and stand before him in judgement than continue to live in this world.

Sorry to have gone on more about myself than about your blog. Watch over yourself and take care. Some parts of life are good, if you can find them!

Hopeful One Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 11:02am

Hi SMB- You appear to be in deep negative territory .It will need one some effort to dig oneself out and rewire one's neural circuits. The idea is to try and delete the old tapes that make one see life as a futile venture and replace them with new tapes which sees the good things in one's life. One only finds these if one looks for them.First stop digging . . Stuff happens in our lives . What has happened has happened . Consign it to the past . We often have no control it Following this " stuff" t he trick is to train the mind to look at the positive however small and worthless it might first appear. Just keep doing it every time without exception. It's not easy to begin with as the inner critic screams its negative thoughts. But it can be done. Just think of Professor Steven Hawking because this is what he does to cope with what life threw at him . There are many many other examples all around one .

Anonymous Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 5:16pm

Hello Soulman. You have done a very brave and mature thing writing that letter to your father in spite of strong opposition and no support from your mother. If you don't get a reply, it doesn't matter. He will have read your letter and he now knows how you feel. Good! You did the right thing. I agree with you about war and that the people who care don't pull the strings. I feel very strongly about this. Les' blog today is so helpful, especially the last bit where he writes that just one act of kindness can change the world. I strongly believe this too! You may think Soulman that whatever you do, will have no positive effect on any one, let alone the world but I think you are wrong. Even writing as openly and honestly as you have today and recent days has changed how people feel. It certainly has helped me to read your words. Little acts of kindness can have such large positive consequences so if you start to look at life like this as Les suggests, you will realise what a great contribution you can make to those around you and eventually it will snowball and more and more people will benefit from that initial kind act. Bon Courage my friend! Jul x

Soulmansblue Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 11:03pm

Hi Hopeful One, Yes, it would appear that I have taken a step backward or maybe two, but that's how it is with me. One forward and two back! Sometimes I take a giant leap forward and up, but then I fail to find something to hold onto and I come tumbling down. One day if I don't meet my maker first I might land on firm ground and realise that there is still some hope in life. Thanks for the encouragement, I'm still trying to hold on to any slim chance that I can grasp at.

Soulmansblue Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 11:07pm

Hi Anonymous, I pleased that you have found some solace in the things that I have written in the blog of late. I do try to help others when I can, it is one of my main stays in life these days. At least if I cannot help myself at least I can help and give support to others. Thank you for your encouragement. We need to support and encourage each other, each day and give ourselves that little extra push and reason to go on.

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:05am

Hi Soulmansblue - Quite a story and great that you can lay it out - you are right about 'no regrets' - although pity about your own 'thoughts' at present, since your inputs I'm sure help people to reflect. Look after yourself.

Hopeful One Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 7:39am

Hi SMB- I accept that our climb out of the valley is not linear. But even if it's crablike it's still a climb up. Worth reminding oneself that crabs can scale cliffs in that way.. Take care .

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 8:42am

Soulmansblue, helping others is a great point...within that, provided you are not depleting your own resource, you can heal. You might find you support others the way in which you wished you'd been supported and by doing so you heal.

Soulmansblue Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 10:05am

Helping others is one of the ways that helps me to cling on. Thanks all.

Tricia Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 10:01am

Five years ago I thought I might only have 6 months to live and it made me a kinder person. Since I survived, I'm working on forgiveness...

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 10:22am

So pleased you are still here and working on forgiveness, Tricia. Bear hugs x

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:06am

Hi Tricia - what power in two simple yet deep lines - thanks

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 10:33am

Les, if your own self is asking you to do something...and it keeps nagging at you, then do it you must and I am glad you found the courage to follow it through. Brings a deep sense of peace within. I have forgiven many things done to me and my family by my sister. Other things are unforgivable and although they are still raw, I'm learning to forget them....
Btw - I just lurve, lurve Brené Brown :) Off to library to find her books after exhausting you tube videos!
Biggest, warming Bear hugs on this brr cold day x

the room above the garage Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 10:48am

Hello Bear, I'm glad to see you X.

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 12:16pm

Nice to see you too, dear RATG x x x x

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:07am

Hi Bear - snow on the ground up here so your warm hug is very welcome.....Aye Brene is the business.

Sheena Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 10:34am

Les I do remember very clearly your Gift of Darkness Post. It is good to remember that all events present us with opportunities. It's important to learn from our lives even if it's only retrospect that enlightens our view. I guess that to be able to truly forgive one needs a true thoughtful apology. Certainly learning from our past and not repeating what we did not like is crucial. Sheena

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:08am

Hi Sheena - Many thanks for your comment and offering.

the room above the garage Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 10:47am

Hello Les, I love your style of writing, it brings me a great calm when I read your words. You have a core of iron to have stood tall amongst these experiences. And you have described something I was taught about in my own counselling some years ago. The 'hot potato effect'...your grandmother received one and threw it onwards. Your father did the same. You, my friend, held it. And although it burns, you have stopped it in its path. I wish that we can help you heal. Love ratg X.

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 12:19pm

You are such a wise woman, RATG! x

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:09am

Hi RATG - love the hot potato have to hurt to heal. Your inputs for sure help healing. Lx

April Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 5:36pm

Hi Les what an amazing achievement you have made with your father. Sadly I don't know if I can ever forgive my father for what he's done to me. I dream of him on his death bed telling me he's proud of me and that he loves me and that he's sorry but I know it won't happen. I admire your courage and yes I'm weak not to be able to forgive but I guess we're all only able to do what we can do. Thankyou for telling us about your journey. April

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:11am

Hi April - You just never know when you may be able to forgive - I didn't think I could, due to how he treated my mother. We simply do the best we can with what we have. May you gather strength.

John Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 5:42pm

Hi, forgiveness is not an easy thing because, I think, our sense of "justice" means we want the person who hirt us to hurt as much as we did. I know not every reader is a Christian, but I have felt the words un the Lord's prayer "forgive me as I have forgiven others". Even if you don't believe as I do, I think in as much as we can forgive other who sin against me. By forgiving others we give ourselves space to forgive ourselves

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:24am

Hi John - Totally agree...and an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

The Gardener Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 7:37pm

So many people with awful childhoods. Were some of the fathers, like mine, unrecognized bi-polar, and life could had been better for them and us with treatment? I know cases where the father said 'my childhood was awful, going to make sure my kids suffer too'. Many had got themselves trapped in horrendous marriages and took it out in drink and violence. By 'trapped' I mean trapped, culture, upbringing or the horrifying cost and bitterness of a break-up making them stay together. My parents were totally symptomatic of their generation - sticking together to provide a 'stable' background while the children (child in my case) finished their education, or could 'understand'. Did they think we were too brainless to see the truth? I was a nosy child, and found a letter from my father to my mother when I was a year old saying, basically, 'this misery must stop'. If I had six months to live I think I would write a 'sociology' treatise, leaving out the sociology claptrap (apologies to the many excellent sociologists) and tracing the absolutely fascinating change of mores that have taken place in the four generations that I have lived. From my Gran whose husband had dementia in his early sixties, and had an indomitable spirit, to my great-grand-daughter - oh, that she has a chance of happiness - due to family chaos she is being brought up by son and daughter-in-law - thanks to modern morality she is only a blood relation of one of us - but, she is the adored 'red-haired baggage' of the family. Les's 'forgiveness' is laudable. When I was married my Pa only came to us when he was in trouble. I was torn to bits about loyalty. I went to our excellent priest, who had been a chaplain in the Navy in the war, and had seen the worst of the world's miseries. He said, as a Christian you must make sure he is not destitute, but his behaviour is such that you MUST not risk harm to your husband and children, they come first. So well done Les.

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:25am

Hi TG - thanks

g Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 10:05pm

I love you Les and send you virtual hugs.

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:26am

Hi g - appreciated

Sally Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 10:26pm

You're talking about something I know about, physical abuse and bullying from a father who ruled the family tyrannically until his death 3 years ago. Towards the end, I did forgive him, but still didn't see why he was so nasty to us, and brought our mother to an early grave we all believe. Unhappiness in him, unresolved issues from his childhood, why was it necessary to perpetuate them and make us feel useless? He was unreachable, I'm afraid, and we were his chosen victims. He wreaked tremendous havoc on the whole family because he did not help himself.

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:28am

Hi Sally - many cannot help themselves, like my father. They did not have access to the many sources and services we have now - as well as having far harder childhoods due to the cultures in the 30s and 40s. Its great you did forgive him....

Frankie Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 11:13pm

So brave Les; "call my father and tell him that I love him" ...
Am working on my relationship with my (alcoholic) sister ... as we deal with my aunt's deterioration following a fall ... need to find her a nursing home ... need to ring sister tomorrow ... dreading it ... hope I will find it in me to be as brave as you ... Frankie x

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:29am

Hi Frankie - I'm sure you will....I'm with you. Lx

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 8:50am

Hello Frankie, I'm with you on that nursing home path, it's not easy. This will challenge your resources...lean on us. Xxx

LillyPet Fri, Jan 15th 2016 @ 11:52pm

Forgiveness is a difficult one for me to really get. To me alot of things are forgivable, but others are absolutely not. The idea of changing how you feel about what the person has done seems odd. I can see how you wouldnt want to have any bitterness or anger continuing the damage done, but forgiveness suggests that you are ok with what they did!

g Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 12:08am

definitely not dear LP . Forgiveness is necessary for our well being and piece of mind . It does not mean that we forget or condone.

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:31am

Hi LillyPet - I never thought what he did OK ......I had to find my own way to 'understand' why he did what he did - that takes an effort on my part.

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 9:23am

Hello LP, I have a distant thing I can't quite forgive (partly because I don't know the person any more but also... I just can't forgive their action). However, lately I found I was able to forgive the situation. Myself included. And I was able to reduce the impact of the person within that so I became free. I did write about it but it's too heavy to help anyone else. If you have something that needs work, maybe you will find another way of seeing it which will bring a way to let it go. I don't think forgiveness is necessarily saying it's ok, it's not letting it hurt anymore. Xxx

g Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 12:17am

sorry for writing this - sounds horrible and patronizing .i am anxious about tomorrow and probably taking it out on you - will better go to bed and try to fall asleep...

Les Sat, Jan 16th 2016 @ 1:33am

Hi g - you see - we need people to hold a mirror up to us and for us to take time to reflect......and realise that sometimes its our own fears that make us behave poorly to others.....whose to say my father didn't live in fear about actually receiving love and how to deal with that - never having had it from his own mother?

g Sun, Jan 17th 2016 @ 1:50pm

your amazing deep well of understanding and wisdom makes everything clear connected obvious ...

g Sun, Jan 17th 2016 @ 1:47pm

so the day turned out ok and all the fears were unfounded but i had spent a sleepless night before it never happened.i hope i will learn to be cool enough not to fear imaginary events in the future...

Les Sun, Jan 17th 2016 @ 3:32pm

Hi g - So my question would be - have you learned - will you learn? How can you embrace that learning? Rather than say you 'hope'..... which is 'external' and not 'internal'.

g Mon, Jan 18th 2016 @ 2:21pm

no idea yet - the proof is in the washing or something like that .i have to go through the same experience to see if i am able to persuade myself not to fear and sleep as sleep is what i need and not sleeping is even worse as makes dangerous high very likely... hope is very internal for me - i am a catholic

g Mon, Jan 18th 2016 @ 2:21pm

i hope you may see my answer as i had to go back to check that there was a question

Les Mon, Jan 18th 2016 @ 11:25pm

Hi g - yup saw the answer...good luck..

g Wed, Jan 20th 2016 @ 4:24pm

ty .i do not know why but i was hoping for more as if we started a discussion of sorts .are you dismissing this as not worth of continuing or are you satisfied that it is finished ...?

g Wed, Jan 20th 2016 @ 4:25pm

oh , and do you have to physically go back to that day and blog or are you getting an email that somebody commented ( FB like) ?

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