The Art of Forgiving

“Yeah.  I mean, acknowledging is easy. Something happened or it didn’t. But understanding…that’s where things get sticky.” –Sarah Dessen, “What Happened to Goodbye?”

Acknowledging what someone has done and understanding why they did it, are two completely different things.

We all have at least one encounter with a person that has hurt us in some way. It could have been that one significant other that broke your heart. Or that one person who was so unwilling to accept yours. For others, it could have been that back-stabbing “friend.” Or it could have been that one person that lied to you, when you never thought they would. Whoever it was, whatever the situation, we all have experienced what it is like to be hurt.

Unfortunately, some people do messed up things for no good reason at all.

However, what we often forget, (or choose to ignore), is that many people do messed up things for very legitimate reasons, which can be even more difficult to understand.

How could anything we perceive as “messed up” or cruel be justified? Well, just as stated above, “that’s where things get sticky.”

Now when I talk about forgiving, I am NOT solely focused on the part where one says “I’m sorry/I apologize” and the other replies “it’s okay/it’s alright.”

The forgiveness I am talking about is the act of allowing yourself to say it’s okay to move forward from the situation.

I guess when you get hurt by someone, the easiest thing to do is try and remove that individual from your life so you won’t have to deal with sh*t they give you. Sometimes that can be the best option. But I must say, that is not the only option.

How often have you ever tried to understand why that person did what they did? Or the reason for it?

Being angry and holding onto every possible reason why you despise, dislike, or even hate the person that has done you wrong, is easy. Yet it is also tiring because every time you think of that person, you will have to remember why you  despise, dislike, or even hate that person to begin with.

Forgiving is the act of letting go of the pain without forgetting what has happened.

The best way I can describe it is that your anger and hatred are the chains that keep you tethered to the ground. When you choose to forgive the person that hurt you, you suddenly can feel those chains slip from your body. The chains still exist but the weight of those chains no longer keep you tethered to the spot you were incapable of moving away from before.

Whether we forgive easily or not, it something me must learn to do.

And there are times where it can be even harder to forgive yourself.

I know many may object to what I am proposing.

And I am not saying everyone deserves to be forgiven or forgiveness is generalizable to all situations.

But when you make a considerable effort to place yourself in that person’s shoes, and look through their eyes as to why they did what they did, and maybe understand the reasons for their actions, you have exhibited mercy even if you have not verbally said “I forgive you.”

Maybe time heals the pain, maybe not.

But I do know that the heart speaks when your mind cannot form the words. You often feel what you are afraid to say.  If you listen closely enough, you can understand what exactly your heart is trying to tell you.

I can’t even begin to imagine the type of pain any of you reading this have been through. I know I had my fair share of situations that bring me to tears and some that make me resentful. And I’m sorry to make you relive those moments now.

In the case of those who deserve forgiveness and those who do not, all I can say is trust your better judgment.

And when you make your final decision, be sure to understand why you did so.

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