January 3, 2008

New Year's Absolution

I have not made a New Year’s resolution in many years. It always seemed like a setup for failure. My church had a program in which you could write down your resolution and the minister would mail it to you a year later. It was soooo nice to be reminded that you were a shirker. It was almost like being Catholic again.

So this year instead of a resolution I am going to make an absolution. This is another throwback to my Catholic days. Absolution is part of the sacrament of Penance. I started doing this at age 7. Little Catholics are big sinners.

You go into the little wooden booth and confess your sins to the priest. He asks if you are sorry. You say yes (officially known as an act of contrition) and then he gives you absolution. He absolves you of your sins. You are forgiven officially by God’s emissary here on earth. You will no longer be going to hell or purgatory – at least until you get out of the confessional and commit your next sin.

In 2008 I am taking a priest-like stance and I am absolving myself for all of my errors. I can’t seem to use the word “sin” any more. I am forgiving myself – plain and simple. I don’t have to list my errors or mistakes. It is more of a general absolution.

I am not forgiving others, because no one else is to blame. Some time during 2007 I had an “Aha!” moment and realized that I was responsible for all of my problems. I had spent a lifetime blaming this person or that person when all of the time it was me.

I recently explained this newfound knowledge to my therapist. He told me that when he was in training his instructor said that when the client realizes that he is the problem then that is the end of the therapy. The client is ready to go do what needs to be done.

I’m not ready to end therapy, but it does feel like some sort of milestone. I don’t have to concentrate on changing everyone else’s behavior any more. I can just concentrate on me.

So my first step is absolution. May it make for a happy new year.

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