The Negativity Loop
“You have blessed me with many gifts, God, but I know it is my task to realize them. May I never underestimate my potential; may I never lose hope. May I find the strength to strive for better, the courage to be different, the energy to give all that I have to offer.
Help me, God, to live up to all the goodness that resides within me. Fill me with the humility to learn from others and with the confidence to trust my own instincts.
Thank you, God, for the power to grow. Amen.” ~from Talking to God, by Naomi Levy (c)
I found a letter yesterday when going through yet even more papers that my mother saved. She wrote it to me in 1983 when she was very angry with me. It was never given to me: I found it amidst an assortment of bills and receipts, photos and greeting cards. At first, I started to read it. I decided I’d leave it for later, but in flipping through it a word struck me towards the end, and I read the last page. She was writing that the good qualities I had were in no small part to the way she raised me.
It ended with “I love you but I don’t like you.”
That ripped through me, as I’m sure it would anyone else. I flipped through, scanned, saw what she was angry with and did not read anymore after that. The negative feelings of that time period. those words, affected a good part of my day. In trying to deal with it, I talked to a few people. The hurt, thirty years after it was written, was too alive at the moment.
One friend said (and I’m paraphrasing): “you’re not looking at the whole: she said she did love you.” That is something I’ve questioned for so long, simply because so much of my mom was bitter in her later years; it’s hard to remember anything other than the negative side of her that I lived with for so long. Rabbi Pam has remarked, as has the therapist, that I hold onto the personal hurt too much, not anger towards another, but the slight and hold it as “truth” in this present moment. In actuality, those hurts are in the past, and should remain so in their own context.
It’s a negativity loop, and I really want to break that habit.
I can easily excuse away anything that has happened, but that is not helpful either. This goes hand in hand with the question of forgiveness: how to forgive myself for things that now are long gone, and can do little or nothing about them. If I learn from it, that is a positive thing, and that is what I’m trying to do. I am sorry she felt that way, and I wish we had the relationship to talk things out, but, as was her want, she would rarely tell the person she was having an issue with how she really felt. She kept it inside most times, and it ate at her (or, in this case, wrote it out, which was not like her at all: I wonder if she really intended to give it to me and was either talked out of it by someone or thought better of it).
So, looking at it from both sides, she wrote of the positive and the negative that she saw in me. We all have that in us; I guess I am glad that she did find the positive traits in me. I know the circumstances of that time period that angered her so, and I also know that there is nothing I can do, now, but to learn from this again: don’t hold things in and let them eat at you; don’t carry a grudge; find some way to let yourself accept, let go, and move on.
I’m still working on the forgiveness to self part.
Posted on March 17, 2013, in Anger, Caring, counseling, Despair, Family, Friends, Grief, Healing, Inspiration, Love, Mindfulness, Prayers, Spiritual, Support, Therapy, Transformation and tagged anger, anxiety, concern, coping, counseling, depression, emptiness, frustration, God, holding a grudge, hope, love, mental health, pain, pure soul, strength, Talking to God, venting. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.