“… love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.” – Stephen Kendrick

Freedom is important to me. It is wonderfully freeing to choose to love based on what feels true and right for me. I don’t like riding the roller coaster of love based on others actions or behaviors, it has left me motion sick lots of times. Besides, I promised myself that I would be sincere about my love so that I don’t have any regrets. To thine own self be true.

“Charmaine, some people don’t deserve you or your goodness.” I’ve heard this a few times from a few people. I’m always surprised by that statement because I don’t think it’s true. I appreciate my family and friends who love me and want to protect me. I understand it’s coming from a good place.

So, what does it mean to give people what they deserve anyway? Or to treat people how they treat you?

Here’s the thing, I believe in setting boundaries. I also believe in moving on from unhealthy people. Learn the lesson and move on my dear.  Treating others how they treat you is a problem for me. If I am acting a certain way because of how you are acting I’ve lost myself. Other people don’t deserve to have power over my emotions . Someone else’s actions is just that, theirs. I won’t get sucked in, not interested.

I shutter at the thought of living in a world where everyone dished out what they think others deserve based on their own self righteousness. We are fickle, one minute we love someone and the next we can’t stand them all over a unreturned text message. It can’t get any more disastrous than that.

My friend Gargi once said to me that she felt like I was the most forgiving person she’s ever met. I don’t know about that. I’m a work in progress but I’ve been working on this forgiveness thing for a long time. It gets easier besides, my bullshit radar is fully loaded. Learning to forgive is less about the other person, it’s so I can be free.

Does forgiving others come easy for you? What about forgiving yourself?

Most things, I can forgive and move on from. There have been situations in my life that left me wondering if I would ever truly move on and forgive. It’s always been easier for me to forgive others more than forgiving myself for something I did. I was hard on myself. I learned that I can’t truly forgive and have compassion for others until I can give it to myself. That was another Oprah “aha” moment for me.

I make mistakes, I screw up, and I have cracks, that how the light gets in. I’m only human. Learning how to forgive has been a hard lesson for me to learn. Forgiveness comes with a lot self work. It’s required me to let go. At the beginning, it was hard to let go. Letting go meant I couldn’t behave like a victim or blame others for my life not going right. I remember in my early 20s I was talking to an older gentleman that was like a mentor to me, a father figure. I was telling him my sad story (poor me, ha!), he looked at me and said, “kid you have to let it go.” Excuse me? Did you just hear my story Sir? He was not phased by me. He gave me some words of wisdom and sent me on my way to figure out forgiveness. Thanks Ken.

The heart of a man that shows compassion, forgiveness and love is life altering. Yesterday, on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, Rickey Smiley shared his story of being shot and almost losing his life when he was younger. Most of us know Rickey as a hilarious comedian. If you listen to his radio show or watch his reality TV show you know he is a thought leader, great dad, and all around good dude. I don’t know Rickey personally but I’ve gathered this from watching from afar. On his show he told us about his journey up to this point around the shooting incident. Although Rickey almost lost his life he was able to forgive and show compassion towards the guy who shot him. It wasn’t just about Rickey forgiving the guy but he wanted to help him despite what he did. Wanting better for the person that harmed him and going to great lengths to try to help is…love. That doesn’t come easy for most. Thank you Rickey for living from a place of goodness and not letting your heart be hardened. May we all learn to fly on the wings of forgiveness. May the gentleman who shot you RIP and may you find peace as well.

Forgive. Free yourself. Live with no regrets. Love well. Rickey Smiley is hilarious y’all. Peace.


It only make sense to end this blog with the lyrics from India Arie’s song
Wings of Forgiveness
.  

“Wings Of Forgiveness”- By India Arie

I just want you to know
After everything that we’ve been through
I just want you to know
That I still love you
That I still love you:

Had to go
Across the water
Just to find
What was here in my heart all along
Spend so much time
Trying to be right
That I was dead wrong

If Nelson Mandela can forgive his oppressors
Surely I can forgive you for your passion

You’re only human
Let’s shake free this gravity of resentment
And fly high, and fly high
You’re only human
Let’s shake free this gravity of judgment
And fly high on the wings of forgiveness

Had to run
To the arms of curiosity
Just to find
What was here in my life all along
I had found that the art of simplicity
Simply means making peace of your complexity

If Gandhi can forgive persecution
Surely you can forgive me for being so petty

I’m only human
Let’s shake free this gravity of resentment
And fly high, and fly high
You’re only human
Let’s shake free this gravity of judgment
And fly high on the wings of forgiveness

I’ve searched for romance
Flowers and affection
What I found is a lesson
Of what love really is
Found the game of love is
Not about how much you can take
In fact authentic love is about
How much you can give

After everything that we’ve been through
I just want you to know
That I still love you
I want you to know
That I forgive you
(thank you for teaching how to give)
And I wanna let you know how much you changed my life
I wanna let you know you taught me how to fly
And I wrote this song to tell you this
I’m better cuz you taught me how to give

I took a swim
In the sea of guilt and misery
To find myself in an island
In the middle of nowhere
In my solitude
I asked to know the highest truth
And what I was told
Is to thine own self be true

If Jesus can forgive crucifixion
Surely we can survive and find resolution

Let’s keep it moving

Let’s shake free this gravity of commitment
And fly high on the wings of forgiveness
After everything that we’ve been through
I just want you to know
That I still love you
I want you to know
That I still love you

And I wanna let you know how much you changed my life
I wanna let you know you taught me how to fly
And I wrote this song to tell you this
I’m better cuz you taught me how to give

I still love you
I want you to know
I still love you…