There is a misunderstanding that comes along with forgiving. It is a topic of contention with people, and it makes sense. Forgiving is a complicated and complex subject and quite personal and hugely subjective. It is somewhat tailored to each person’s sensibilities, personality, and nature.
I propose this premise: forgiving someone doesn’t mean keeping a relationship with them. I know. It’s a bit controversial yet a necessary discussion to have.
Personally, and it might surprise you, I am all about forgiving, almost to the extreme. Frankly, I don’t forgive people to feel magnanimous, superior or to be thought of as a saint. Forgiving is a personal and selfish exercise. I do it for me, no one else. I abhor holding grudges. I despise hating others, especially those who have wronged me. Whatever they did to me, it is on them. If someone hurts you, remember: THEY hurt YOU. It is on them. Refusing to forgive drains your energy, messes with your mood, fucks up your worldview and could very well change the very foundation of who you are. Then again, I have been offended in some “minor” ways since no one has killed my parents, raped me, took away my freedom, starved me, beat me up and all the other major offenses you could name. If any of those things were to happen to me, would I forgive the perpetrators? I would like to believe I would, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. I am sure it wouldn’t happen in a blink of an eye. It would take time, but eventually, I hope I would get there.
Like most people, I have been betrayed, lied to, cheated on, insulted, pushed around, bullied, etc. I forgave those people. In some cases, it wasn’t easy and in other instances, forgiveness came as easily as breathing. Before forgiving a heavy offense, I weigh the toll the “refusal to forgive” would take on my sanity, and I decide, easily I might add, to let go and forgive those people. I forgave even those who never bothered to apologize to me. Chances are, they didn’t even care they hurt me or perhaps they don’t even know they did. Whatever the case, I have moved on and I would like to salute anyone who has made forgiving a major part of their life.
Let’s be honest, let’s be real; it takes a lot of strength and humility to forgive. Moreover, I did take revenge on some of those fuckers, so they wouldn’t come to mess with me again. The whole “turn the other cheek” motto, sometimes doesn’t sit well with me. Sometimes, I become Frank Castle, otherwise known as “The Punisher” and I punish people who had it coming. I assure you, I only hurt them the same way they hurt me, so nothing major. We good, everybody is safe, don’t worry!
However, forgiving does not mean I still talk to everyone I have forgiven. Fuck no! Are you crazy? Hello no! Forgiving and keeping you in my life or around me are two profoundly distinct actions. Forgiving a specific fault doesn’t guarantee it will not happen again. Forgiving doesn’t mean I see that person the same way. I could forgive you but never trust you again. Unfortunately, some people aren’t to be trusted. I could forgive you and realize you will most certainly do the same thing again. Some people’s nature is wired to hurt, dismiss, disrespect, insult, and bully others.
By the way, let’s get something clear: I am not here as a psychologist, a psychiatrist or a therapist. I am sure everybody’s nature can eventually be explained. Our behaviour is mix of nature and nurture. We all have wounds, to lesser and stronger degrees. Yet, this topic isn’t about therapy or understanding. Given enough time and even more empathy, we could understand anybody and some of us, might even find excuses for people. It ain’t like that. I care about actions, intent, and context. Did you mean to hurt the other person? Did you plan it? Were you sane of mind or was there an enormous amount of stress that pushed you to do what you did?
See??? Slowly but surely, we shall find why a person acted a certain way. Nonetheless, I care if you are going to do it again. I care if that specific behaviour is embedded in your mind, heart, soul and body. I will forgive you, but we might have to end our relationship. Don’t worry! I am sure we will be just fine, each in their corner, living their life, and not talking to each other. It doesn’t mean I’ll trash you. It doesn’t mean I will not say hello to you. It might mean I will not have a relationship with you. Most likely, I will delete your number from my phone, I will not talk to you again, I will not call you on your birthday because I don’t want to and I don’t have your number. I am sure you might do the same to me. And guess what? Once again, you will be just fine, as will I.
Some faults and trespasses, given the intent and the context of their occurrence, show the true nature of a person or they show a trait of character that I don’t agree with. Therefore, one must forgive those people and let them go. They don’t need to stay in your circle. You could cut ties with them forever and for the hundredth time, you will both be fine. There is no law that says we should all be friends and get along. Sometimes we don’t get along and it’s fine. Who connects with everybody? NO ONE!
Some might say I am resentful, spiteful, unforgiving or that I am faking the “forgiveness” part. It ain’t like that. I choose myself, my very own peace of mind. It is immensely selfish and guess what? I am fucking selfish. I can never apologize for wanting peace, for refusing to hang out with duplicitous or mean or dishonest people. This isn’t about them, it is about me, goddamn it!
They say, “forgive and forget”. I say, “always forgive and sometimes, let go of certain people”.
I say forgive others. Let the grudge go. Do it for yourself. But you don’t have to keep a relationship with that person. You don’t have to do it. I wouldn’t suggest you keep a relationship with the person that intentionally hurt you and who shows of signs of recidivism. Moreover, the reason for the breakup, is yours and yours alone. You don’t have to explain yourself. Some will understand, others will not. The only thing that counts is that you understand it and that the breakup gives you peace.
There are some people I have cut out of my life, as I am sure you have too. Is your life any worse today? I bet it isn’t. Do you miss them? I bet you don’t. You think they miss you? I bet they don’t. Does it matter? Not really. How are you feeling today? At peace? Well, that is all that counts.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!