Wednesday, April 1, 2015

BEDA Day 1: On Forgiveness

Happy April, and more importantly, Happy BEDA! We're gonna hang out for an entire month, guys, and I couldn't be more excited. It's gonna get warmer outside, we're gonna bust out our sundresses, and we're gonna hang out every. single. day. Who's pumped?!

To kick off BEDA, though, I kind of want to tackle a more melancholy topic; I've had something on my mind for a few days that I want to share. Don't expect this post to be super well-written or well thought out, but rather prepare yourself for a little bit of word vomit.

...no wait...actual vomit. 
Inevitable Mean Girls reference out of the way, here's what I want to talk about: apologies and forgiveness. Specifically, how to forgive someone when they apologize for something they've done. I'm a big believer in the power of apology; I think a heartfelt "I'm sorry" can heal a lot of wounds. That's the key though: heartfelt. Genuine. None of this "I'm only saying sorry so you'll get off my back, but I don't really mean it."

When someone genuinely apologizes, we're inclined to quickly respond with an "it's okay" and move on with our day. That's not helpful, either. I'm of the belief that a haphazard "it's okay" is just as bad as a half-assed apology. Because think about what that actually means: you're basically allowing the behavior that rendered the apology to go unchecked. When you say "it's okay," you're really saying "what you did was okay. Feel free to do it again." That's not right. That's why instead I think, "I forgive your apology" or "Thank you for your apology. It means a lot" is much more effective. That way the person apologizing knows not to commit whatever they're apologizing for again, and at the same time the relationship (whether it's family, friends, romantic partners, etc etc) can continue to exist with minimal damage.

But what about those apologies we never receive? What about those "I'm sorry"s we never heard? When we feel like we've been wronged without any damage control, it can sting a bit. That's where things get a bit more complicated. Making peace with people who have wronged you in the past is hard. I know because I've been there. I'm currently there, if we're honest. I've been there for a long time.

I think the reason why it's so hard to forgive people who never apologized to us is because it's easy to feel like a victim. It's super tempting to slip into a place of "they never said sorry, so I'm going to feel sorry for myself." That's destructive. If you're too busy feeling sorry for yourself, it's hard to feel much of anything else. You miss out on unabashed happiness. You're too wrapped up in your own pity party that it might not come as a shock when your friends stop inviting you to real parties. No one wants to hang out near a dark cloud.

But moving on and snapping out of it is so much easier said than done. I'm really talking to myself in that last paragraph, because it's the advice I need to hear. I--and maybe some of you reading, if you're in a similar place--need to stop feeling so bad for myself. Because, yeah, I've been lied to and manipulated. I've been wronged by people. But I'm also so blessed and so loved. I might have one or two enemies, but I also have so many people who I love and who, believe it or not, love me back. That's what I need to focus on. I urge you to do the same. Making peace with the past starts with acknowledging that it hurt. I've sufficiently taken care of that step. Now it's time to realize the reason why the past is never going to correct itself: the people who hurt you can't apologize because they're embarrassed. Unless you were hurt by a sociopath, that person you have hard feelings for knows. They're living with their guilt, most likely. And that sucks for them. Feel sorry for them instead of feeling sorry for yourself. 

It's hard to be Heidi Montag. You're Lauren Conrad. Lauren Conrad is clearly the best girl on The Hills.
Iconic reality TV gifs aside, you're awesome. You don't have time for negative energy. It's April, for crying out loud. Start this month by releasing some of that hatred stored up in secret corners of your brain. It's beautiful and sunny outside, stop dwelling on that time in the past when it thunderstormed. Like I said, this advice is also for me, in the event that I need to hear it again later on. I hope that someone else benefits from this, too.

See you tomorrow (!!!)

x,
Lauren

When I did Vlogmas, I ended each post with a quote, but for BEDA I think I want to end each post with a question. This is assuming you, as the reader, would be willing to contribute. We'll see how it goes.

Question of the Day: What's your favorite Mean Girls quote?
Bonus Question, for those of you who want to earn some extra Brownie Points: what kinds of posts do YOU want to see during BEDA?

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