Forgiveness can open any door

By Dwight Collins | Dec 29, 2014

Camden — Along my journey the one thing that I found to be true is that the key to being able to get on with your life is finding the strength to forgive.

You might be saying to yourself, “I have no one to forgive...”, but I assure you there is. Even if you have found the strength to say the words “I forgive you," it means absolutely nothing without 100 percent conviction.

The first step is forgiving yourself for any mistakes you have made in the past and much like any addiction program, make peace with those you feel you have wronged and have wronged you. To be able to do that, I had to first separate their reaction from my emotion. You can not control how others are going to react to something that is also probably been eating at them as well.

What that has done for me is to be able to clear my mind and open my heart for the first time I can remember. I have tried my best and on the outside I seem like a wonderful father, but I was lacking in so many other areas I had to forgive myself for not paying attention to those who where trying to model the right way to do it.

Sometimes people cannot give you what they don't have. Some people are just not wired to give the love and affection like friends and family members that is required to have a strong, healthy, relationship. They cannot control this, it is something that they are lacking and we cannot blame them for that because, frankly, who am I to judge.

Once I was able to separate the emotion from others' action, it built a buffer, fertile ground you might say, to allow my strength in conviction and character grow in my happiness.

I have racked up thousands of dollars of therapy over the past five years and once I finally decided to stop running from my problems and face them a miraculous thing happened. The depression and social anxiety I was diagnosed with went away. I had been having panic attacks on a regular basis and there where days when I just could not get out of bed. Today I can say no panic attacks, no depression and I have gained the strength to conquer a majority of my fears — most importantly the fear to love and not get it back in return.

I still have a long way to go on this journey, which I liken to a July day on the West Branch in a whitewater raft. The river has rapids, rocks, falls and whirlpools — with times of calm in between. I remember to remind myself that just because there was all the peril along the way — I still love whitewater rafting.

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