A lot of people preach forgiveness and I get it. The idea that forgiveness is for you, not the person you’re forgiving in order to bring you peace sounds lovely. I’m all for forgiving yourself, other people? Well, that depends.
I’m the sort of person who doesn’t forgive easily and I never forget. Hurt me bad enough and that’s it, you’re out of my life and you don’t get forgiveness. Tough but fair.
Forgiving someone is such a personal thing, the severity of what you’re forgiving and the nature of the relationship with that person will all play a part in how and when you choose to forgive someone.
Forgiveness is often painted as the best, healthiest way to resolve a betrayal, and learning to forgive is seen as one of life’s greatest lessons but take heart my fellow Basses, there’s another option.
Learning not to forgive, after a lifetime in which forgiveness has been compulsive or imposed is an impressive achievement!
Jeane Safer, Ph.D who wrote Adapted from Forgiving & Not Forgiving: A New Approach to Resolving Intimate Betrayal says
Vengeance is holding onto rage and bitterness, letting a sense of victimization rule your life; choosing not to forgive involves profound self-examination, just like forgiveness–only with a different conclusion.
Forgiving is hard work. It takes time, and involves pain. It’s not just a simple declaration or automatic, reflexive action. False forgiveness is going through the motions without anything changing on the inside. It’s lip service, and it actually interferes with authentic resolution and estranges people from their real feelings.
If you want to forgive someone, that’s great. Do it! If you don’t want to forgive someone that’s OK too – forgiveness is earned and frankly not everyone deserve forgiveness. Refusing to forgive your lover, spouse, parent, sibling or friend does not make you a bad person. Nor does it automatically make you a bitter, resentful person.
The key is to move past the hurt, which is easier said than done I know. The best way to move on is to carry on living your life, take comfort in those who support and love you. Don’t let the hurt consume you. You’re entitled to feel angry if you’ve been hurt, betrayed etc. It’s normal to feel those emotions and you should take time to feel them.
Things to Bear in Mind
- Don’t say your forgive someone when you don’t.
- Everyone makes mistakes, everyone fucks up. Ask yourself is it unforgivable?
- Forgiveness is not a single action that begins and ends with the words ‘That’s OK, I forgive you.’ Forgiveness comes on your own terms in your own in time, when you are ready. Don’t force it.
- Don’t confuse forgiveness with denial or condoning actions.
- Forgiveness does not mean returning to a toxic relationship. You can forgive and move on. Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation.
You got this!