The Princess Bride is a movie full of fabulous lines.
"We are but poor, lost circus performers."
"See! The Cliffs of Insanity!"
"Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something."
"You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles."
Perhaps the most-quoted line from the movie is this: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
Inigo Montoya has spent his whole life trying to avenge his father's death. When he finally kills the Six-Fingered Man, he says this:
"I have been in the revenge business so long. Now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life."
Wow. Isn't that the truth. Some of us have been in
the revenge business
the people-pleasing business
the victim business
the anger business
the perfection business
the rescuing business
the helplessness business
for so long.
Even when it's over, even when we know we don't have to do that stuff any more, we don't know what else to do.
For all of us Inigos who need to get out of the old business:
1. Be honest
Honesty is often the hardest part.
Whatever truth I know, I start there. I tell it. And I as I know more truth, I tell that truth, too.
The truth sets us free.
However, the truth is often painful, and so I have to:
2. Be okay with pain
Much of our revenge-taking, people-pleasing, victim-playing, anger-flinging, rescuing-helping behavior is designed to keep the pain at bay.
But there's a radical option instead of our crazy behavior:
I'm not talking about the hello kitty band aid kind of forgiveness that says, "Nobody's perfect, it wasn't that bad, so many other people had it worse."
Real forgiveness, that acknowledges the depth of the pain, and releases the offender without telling fairy tales, is a powerful force for healing and change.
That's the kind of forgiveness we have to do. That's hard work, so:
4. Get support
Get with people who support the new normal. Be honest with a few trusted friends, and see if you can find support there. Check out groups like Celebrate Recovery. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Surround yourself with resources. Go to therapy. You don't have to do this alone.
5. Live healthy
There's a big glob of social glue that keeps us stuck in our crazy behavior. We have created a world that needs us to stay in business: vengeful, super-nice, angry, perfect, always available, however we've defined ourselves.
Let the old life fall apart.
Let a new, healthy life begin.
The new life is going to have boundaries.
The new life is going to have joy and freedom and laughter and fun.
The new life is going to have pain.
And you're going to work through that, because you know how to be honest and be with your pain and forgive and get support and live healthy again.