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A Logical Inconsistency

I have a character flaw.

I like to play sudoku, and I’m actually pretty good at it.  I have a sudoku app on my phone, and though I may make a few too many mistakes (I have this annoying tendency to put a number in a square where the number already is, because I’m not paying attention) I’m pretty good at it.  I play expert level and I rarely get stumped, though some take me a bit too long to become unstumped.

But as I’m sitting here playing sudoku, I have flashbacks.  I can only describe them as PTSD flashbacks.  I remember something stupid I did, or something that people did to me, and I just involuntary cuss myself out, or cuss someone else out, or just randomly swear.  If you saw me, you’d think I hate sudoku, but I’m actually not even thinking much about sudoku when I say those kinds of things.  It really is PTSD, or it’s something so close to it that it might as well be.

In the last post, I talked about regrets I have in life.  Things that did not go well, things that never have gone well, things that probably will continue to not go well in the future.  And I stated in that post that the reason for this was mostly environmental.  By this I mean, my fate was sealed when I was born.  I was born into a situation where it really could not have realistically turned out any different than it did.  In fact, the fact that I’m as successful as I am right now (and I’m not very) is not because of the environment in which I was born, it was in spite of it.  And this is such an important thing.  Some of the things I’ve done later in life I’m responsible for.  But I’m not responsible for the environment in which I grew up.  I am not responsible for the things that shaped me.  I am not responsible for the things that gave me PTSD.  And, to some degree, I’m not responsible for the things that caused me to do some of the things I regret and am responsible for.

So…  the question popped into my head, tonight, and it’s an important question.

Why am I beating myself up for things I’m not responsible for?

Forgiveness is an interesting and very misunderstood concept.  A lot of people think forgiveness has a kind of religious or spiritual import… and maybe it does, to a degree.  But at its core… it really doesn’t.  It’s a practical concept, more than anything else.  Forgiveness doesn’t really come from a divine sense of morality, well… maybe it does, but not really.  Forgiveness is merely an acceptance of the truth that the past is immutable.

Let’s say someone did something to you in the past, and it was awful.  Maybe it left you disfigured.  Maybe it left you with scars that can’t be healed, at least physically.  What’s the point in holding a grudge against the person who did it to you?

I’m not saying they don’t deserve it.  I’m not saying one is wrong for doing it.  I’m not saying the person who did it was right.  It’s a simple question.  What’s the point of it?  You hold a grudge, maybe you get revenge, even.  Then what?  Then they have something to hold against you, and the slights and the wrongs compound one onto another until the weight destroys entire cities, entire countries, entire races.  Two wrongs don’t make a right, they just make two wrongs.

And you can hold the grudge inside you, and again, it’s something completely understandable to do, but what’s the point of that, too?  They don’t know, and likely, they don’t care.  You can take it to them, and they’re just as likely not to apologize.  Maybe they don’t even think they did anything wrong!  You can make punishing them in one form or other the center of your world, or… you can just let it go.

Because you just can’t change it.

Nothing you can do will reset it.  All you can do is erase it.

This isn’t easy.  It’s not easy at all, and I am not even sure how to do it for myself.  The past few days have been difficult, precisely because the scars were ripped open, the bandages were ripped off, and the wounds are just as unhealed as they ever were.

But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a logical inconsistency.

You can either beat yourself up for something that you did, or you weren’t responsible for it.  Beating yourself up over something someone else did just means they win again.  And do any of us want that?

Love Live reminded me of the past, and of many things that I regret.  It reminded me of things I lost, maybe never to be found.  It reminded me of things I was taught that have incalculably damaged me, and I still have not been able to move past them.  But…  it also…  has hope.

Because for all the regrets of all the characters in all the Love Live franchises..  many of them start with regret.  The series never ends with them still having regret.  And maybe that’s an important lesson.  Regret is an important emotion, but at the end of the day, you have to deal with it and move forward with life, because if you don’t, the regret will consume you.  And that means… you haven’t forgiven.  And maybe it means you haven’t forgiven yourself.

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