In a two-part episode of How I Met Your Mother, the main character–Ted–discusses what he calls ‘the pit’: “A pit guy is someone you’ve been obsessed with for so long that it’s driven you crazy enough to throw them in a pit in your basement like in The Silence of the Lambs…We all have people that we would throw in our pits, and I’m sure we all have people who would like to throw us in their pits.”
Essentially, the people that go in the pit are the ones that have seemingly wronged us, the ones that irritate us, the ones that stand in the way to what we want to achieve. We blame them when things go wrong; they become our scapegoats. Our defense; our excuse.
I think ‘the pit’ is something that many people have. I’ve thrown many people in my own pit: friends, family members, old teachers. All of the people I’ve felt have done something unforgivable. Something inexcusable. And they sit, and they wait, and they weigh heavily on my mind as I come up with various ways to retaliate against them. It’s easy to blame someone in retrospect for what went wrong; it’s especially easy to stay angry at them as more time passes.
Like the show states, though, I don’t think that is necessarily be a person lying at the end of our pit, though. I think the people who thrown down there are those that reflect ideals, values, and memories we find particularly painful. They reflect the parts of us that we may not want to face.
At the end of the show, Ted states, “Kids, sometimes in life you’ll make a pit for someone in your mind. But ultimately the only person in that pit is yourself. Which means there’s only one person who can let you out of the pit.” The viewers watch as Ted reaches down and pulls himself out of his pit, having finally come to the realisation that the only person who has been hurt is himself.
We’re the only ones that can forgive the people who have wronged us; in turn, we forgive ourselves. For not saying the right thing at the right time. For not noticing what was plainly in front of our faces. For not standing up for ourselves or for sitting idly by.
Sometimes, the hardest thing is realising that it’s not the person we’re angry at, or disappointed in. It’s ourselves. For not being the person we thought we were. I struggle with this the most. It’s challenging to accept your flaws; it’s even more challenging when you realise that the flaws that disappointed you in other people are flaws you have yourself.
Once you realise this, though, the process of changing is a lot easier. You get to start over. You get to help yourself climb out of the anger, the hurt, the sorrow you’ve been keeping locked up.
By the end of this process, we’ve let go. We move on.