Well, the internet has been a’ragin’ about forgiveness this week. Why we should forgive. Why we shouldn’t. Who’s worthy of it. Who isn’t. How much apologizing is enough apologizing? What if an apology is never offered?
If you want my opinion, and of course you do, the only question to answer is the first one.
Why we should forgive.
The other questions range from muddying the waters to a steaming pile of emotional BS.
If you’ve ever been alive, someone has wronged you at some point. Unless you live in one of those shows designed to hypnotize toddlers. Which would obviously be awesome. Or terrifying. Whatever. But if you’re reading this, the likelihood that you have been personally offended, used, abused, treated poorly in any number of ways, is about 100%. Even the best of people make mistakes and cause pain. Then there’s the worst of people who do it intentionally. Gross. We don’t like them.
But we should probably forgive them.
WTF Sharideth?!? Why would you say that?
Oh, I have reasons. I’ve never left you hanging before and I ain’t gonna start now, my darlin’s.
Reasons to Forgive
- Mental Health – This is a big one. And it could end up causing some raging controversy in the comments but I’m going to say it anyway. Forgiving those who have wronged you, no matter what form that takes, is a critical step in emotional recovery and future healthy relationships. If you continue to carry the resentment, hatred, grudge around with you, it will spill over into any potential happiness you might find in the future.
Let me super clear about something though. You are NOT required to trust that person again or include him/her/them in your life. Forgiveness is not inclusion. It is letting go of poison that could thread it’s disgusting way through the rest of your life but not relinquishing healthy boundaries that keep you safe.
Forgiveness is not for them. It’s for you.
- Because you want to be forgiven – If the chance that you’ve been hurt is 100%, then you having hurt someone is probably at about 99.9%. We’re humans. And humans are fallible. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. Buncha dumb dumbs, that’s what we are. And each of us has probably found ourselves on the receiving end of forgiveness. But expecting forgiveness without offering it seems pretty self-centered to me. Extending grace is one of those things that definitely has a habit of coming back around when you need it. Call it biblical, call it karma, call it Darlene, I really don’t care, just understand that it’s important.
- Because you want to move on – It is time. Wake up tomorrow feeling a little lighter, a little more hopeful, a little less bummed. Whatever it is you’ve been putting off because you’re stuck in past pain, go get it. Grab on to something new and awesome and let it lead you away from the old and not awesome.
- Because you need to like yourself again – Forgiving yourself can be one of the hardest things to do. No one is better at making you feel awful and unworthy than yourself. My friend…let it go. We have all done things that we’re not proud of. All of us. No one is exempt. Take a deep breath in and exhale the need to continue to punish yourself. Then do it again. And keep doing it until it’s gone.
I feel like there is one more thing I need to talk about but it doesn’t really fit on the list.
Not receiving forgiveness when you have sincerely asked for it.
Unfortunately this is all too common. You understand you hurt someone, you asked for forgiveness…and were denied it.
Ouch and ouch.
Before I move on, I want you to understand that I know this looks very different when it comes to situations of abuse. In that case, forgiveness is going to definitely fall in #1 on the list for the abused. If you were the abuser, you may never know if you’ve been forgiven and are probably going to have to live with that.
Anything less than abuse though and you will eventually have to stop seeking forgiveness from them and move on. No matter how sincere the apology, some people are going to want to continue to make you pay. And that is so not cool. Read back over #4 and let it go. You do not have to continue to beg.
At some point it stops being your wrong doing and becomes theirs.
Yeah. You heard me right.
Protect any future relationship you might have by forgiving wrongs of the past. Whether you have to forgive someone else or yourself, do it. Let it go.
What say you?