First posted on James & Jax
I really struggle with the notion of forgiveness. I cling on to my anger & resentment like toddler does with their beloved comfort toy. I take my anger & resentment with me everywhere I go & would never ever consider parting with it as it’s become my protective shield not allowing anymore pain in, as well as repelling the potential for future hurt. The negativity I harbour has also become the flint that ignites all my excuses to forgive whomever or whatever. And so the cycle continues & I go nowhere fast.
I understand the notion of forgiveness & can see how others can forgive, but somehow I’m still unable to apply this to my own life. I know that by being angry & holding a grudge helps shield me from future hurt but also chips away at my overall happiness, however I suppose you need to weigh up the value you put on certain things that have happened & if they don’t threaten your contentment & safety then forgiveness has the potential to be easy. I also know that just because they/you have forgiven someone or something it doesn’t mean you will ever forget what happened. Forgiveness & forgetfulness are mutually exclusive & seldom go hand in hand.
What do I need to do to forgive someone? Can I find a template on Google to learn how to do this? Is this something that can take a long time, because I’m really impatient. Is there a right way to forgive someone? How does it feel? Will I ever be able to let this person back into my life again?
I know that forgiveness can be simple. For example, when Orli is rude or naughty & apologises to me forgiveness is simple. Forgiveness can also be incredibly difficult. I can’t ever see myself forgiving my third grade teacher for calling me stupid in front of the class as it affected my confidence & self-esteem for many years. I know my memories of this event are through the eyes & emotional maturity of my seven/eight yr old self, but even if this happened today it would be just as hurtful & impacting.
The word forgive has many definitions, one of them being ‘to grant a pardon’. Simple isn’t it really? Oh, you did something completely hurtful to me , no worries, I shall grant you this pardon to absolve yourself of all responsibly. Yeah, I don’t think so. This definition also reminds me of the Kings & World Leaders that pardon criminals or the innocently accused of a life behind bars. I see this type of pardon as ‘letting the person go’. I’m not sure I want people to get away with hurting my feelings or mistreating me. Why should they go about their life without ever accepting responsibility of their actions? Maybe it should read, ‘to grant yourself a pardon from allowing that person from affecting you any longer’.
See it’s complicated. And not easy.
When looking at the word ‘forgiveness’, the word ‘give’ is smack bang right there in the middle. How is it that I’ve never seen that before? Have I been blinded by my anger & resentment? I think so. Simply put then, forgiveness is a gift we’re all able to provide ourselves. The word itself has given me a tool to move forward with. If I can change the way I think about & feel about forgiveness, then perhaps, I’ll be able to forgive those that have either hurt me or been apathetic towards me & be free of holding onto useless & wasted energy & no longer give myself the excuses to remain stuck.
I now see forgiveness as a means to provide myself with permission to start, stop, move on or whatever I need to do for myself in order to curb the anger & resentment & living a fuller & enriching life with more room for love & hope. It won’t be easy as I’ve got a lot of hang ups to work through, but at least I’ve got something to start with. Now that the word ‘give’ stands out in the word forgiveness, I owe it to myself & my family to ‘give’ it a go.