I’ve been thinking a lot lately about depression and what drives people to it. I’m not talking about clinical depression and this is no reflection on what some people consider a serious disease. It’s more about garden variety depression, that feeling that you cannot change a circumstance no matter what you do. That things haunt you and are hard to get over. That kind of depression. Or maybe you would call it something else—no matter what you call it, it can sure be confounding.
We go through life, for the most part minding our own business and doing our best to pursue our goals and dreams. Large and small. Those things that we believe will make us happy. Of course without setbacks and obstacles, life would be rather boring, so we encounter stops and slows along the way. Sometimes, we encounter those stops in a deeply emotional way.
Someone we care for betrays us. Hurts us. Messes with our heads. It’s deep. It’s emotional. It makes you want to crawl into a hole and stay there indefinitely. After a while, it starts to affect other things, other parts of our lives—things go downhill. And suddenly it seems everything is just a big pile of shit and each day brings more shit to add to the pile.
We have searched our souls. Sought counsel. Prayed. Tried to forgive and forget. Because…well, because that’s what society expects of us. Whether through some religious philosophy or a military attitude, life tells us to suck it up and move on. Much as we’d like to, we can’t seem to. No matter what remedies are employed, logical or illogical, we simply can’t move on. We can’t forgive and forget. Why?
Certainly most of us try to be a bigger person. A better person. The lessons of Christ teach us to turn the other cheek. To bless those who trespass against us. To open our hearts with love and see that the perpetrator of our pain is also in pain. Perhaps lost. Doesn’t mean to do what they do. Is just acting out of fear or pain or something… Even the non-religious philosophy seems the same, though perhaps more crude. “Suck it up.” “There are plenty of fish in the sea.” “You’re too good for them.” “They are just jealous of you.” “Don’t waste your time and energy.” “Stop worrying about things you cannot change.” A whole litany of catch phrases designed to make us feel better and empower us. Restore our self esteem. Enable us to move into tomorrow.
Does it work? Sometimes. Maybe half the time. And sometimes just through sheer perserverance we get through it. Past it. The impact and power of the thing fades and we become immersed in other things. Though I don’t think it ever goes away. It lurks back there, in some ways affecting your future actions. Affecting how you deal with people and situations in the future. Perhaps curtailing your trust or belief in people or things. Changing you maybe in small ways, maybe in large ways but changing you.
What’s the alternative? Seriously, what choice do we have? Society prohibits us from causing bodily harm to another, no matter how much they may have hurt us. We aren’t allowed to have duels when we are insulted or hurt. We can’t punch out somebody’s lights. In short we can’t fight back. Too bad, because I believe therein lies the problem.
I believe that one of the reasons we can’t let go. Can’t move on. Can’t get past certain things is because our hands are tied. Because we can’t fight back, or at least we feel we can’t fight back. Hence the reason for lawyers? (Okay, just kidding).
Seriously though, imagine a world where when someone hurts you, you could challenge them to a duel. You could punch their lights out without being punished further. You could loudly and freely object. Doesn’t that feel better?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t advocate violence. I honestly don’t think it solves anything. But I guess I also don’t advocate forgive and forget. I think you can fight back, retrieve your self respect and self esteem without issuing blows or black eyes. I think you can fight back with the truth.
Telling someone who had done you wrong that you forgive them, when they have done nothing to deserve forgiveness, in my opinion only acts to enable the person to continue doing wrong to others. You included. On the other hand, telling that person the truth, the unvarnished truth, without worrying about how they will respond or sugar coating anything is good for the soul. Again, no need to be violent, but honesty I think is the best weapon of all. Forget societal rules, forget about how you might sound or what others may think. Tell the truth. Tell that person or group, or whatever exactly what you think of them. Exactly what they did that was damaging. Let them carry the burden of their actions. Don’t let them get away with it. If they have any integrity, after the shock they may truly make amends for any hurt they may have caused. And if so, then you probably could quite easily forgive and forget.
You may have helped them change their ways. But even if they don’t, at least you don’t have to own what they did. You can move on. The bible even says that the truth sets you free. It’s my opinion that it does.
What do you think?