Forgiveness

This one has been on my to-do list for quite some time so I might as well get to it for this week! While less to do with writing and more to do with just being human, hopefully you’ll still find it interesting.

Anyone who is around on this planet long enough will eventually have someone who hurts you. They made you feel negatively for any multitude of reasons – cutting you off while driving, cheating on you, being mentally or physically abusive, and so on. What typically follows, especially with already-established relationships, is a cooling off period and subsequent (hopefully) heartfelt apology.

After the scenario plays out, you’ll run into a fork in the road as the victim. Do you hold onto this feeling of being wronged forevermore or let it go?

After all, harboring those negative feelings inside only hurts yourself. The other party may continue to feel guilty if their apology falls on deaf ears but they’ve already begun taking a path away from the predicament either way.

At this time, you’ll usually hear two words come into play – forgiving and forgetting. Some feel these are synonymous but they actually have very different connotations.

Forgiveness is the actual voluntary decision on the part of the victim to no longer harbour negative feelings towards the other party for what they’ve done. This also usually absolves all requirements for punishment as well. Depending on the severity of the issue, true forgiveness can be a real tall order.

To forget is a bit of a different beast. Essentially, forgetting is to cease thinking of a particular thing or event. It is gone, along with all previous interaction with whatever that was.

You’ll hear, “I hope you can forgive me and forget this whole thing happened,” or, “ah, forget about it.” The problem with this is that, by design, the other party is asking you to not retain, or learn, everything from the matter. This is why you’ll more often hear self-help gurus suggest “forgive, but never forget.”

Some, such as Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development, have said, “forget, but never forgive.” You won’t find too many who feel this is the right way to handle situations, though.

Forgiving, but not forgetting really accomplishes two big things. First, it does allow healing to begin (in yourself, more importantly) as you leave the conflict behind in order to focus on more positive things. The other part is allowing you to learn from the incident in order to recognize patterns in the future. For instance, forgiving is nice but forgiving for the same thing 3 times a row? Not forgetting allows for more objective reasoning to occur. As well, it can hopefully help you avoid similar instances in the future!

Everyone, try to get along! When an impasse does present itself, be sure to at least learn from it.

Keep turning the page,

Chris

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