Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation, or anger as a result of a perceived offense, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as ‘to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt’. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In most contexts, forgiveness is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive.
I was recently asked how I can be so forgiving. Why I’m not livid and yelling. This isn’t the first time I have been asked this and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Though I can be forgiving for almost anything there are some things that are unforgivable to me and about 5 people that I will never forgive because they are either controlling, abusive, or both. Other than that I am pretty forgiving. Sometimes, I have to just look at the situation and decide did they do this because of me? Or did they do this not because they were being mean but had no idea what they were doing was upsetting me.
Let me give an example. About 6 years back, when I was single, I was dating this whore, at least that is my nickname for her. At any rate, it only lasted five months. It was a long distance relationship and I thought it was going okay. Now right about that fifth month, she suddenly wasn’t answering phone or couldn’t talk long, etc, etc. I just had this feeling something was going on. Don’t ask me why but I just thought I should do a search of dating sites on line to see if I found anything. I went through site after site putting in her info and doing searches and nothing till I got to the last one and told myself, this is it, if I don’t find anything then I’m being paranoid.
Well the site was suggerdaddy.com and I did my normal search and bam there she was. And I know it was recent because the picture she had up was a picture she took for me a month before and told me not show anyone and yet there it was on the internet. So I called her and told her what I found and true to form she immediately started blaming me saying I was invading her privacy. Now I ask, what privacy was I invading on the internet? At any rate I asked her to remove the profile if she wanted us to stay together. She said she would. A week later it was still there, so I asked why she hadn’t removed it and the response I got was “I forgot”. I’m sorry but if a relationship is important to you that is not something you forget. So I asked her again. Well needless to say it took her 3 weeks to remove it. By then the damage was done and a within a couple weeks I broke up with her. I forgave her after the first time I saw she was trying to cheat on me. It was the repetition along with a few other reasons why she became one of the 5 I couldn’t forgive.
So how is it, with the exception of 5 people, is it so easy for me to forgive? Well I believe it is different for everyone. I myself, would rather forgive and move on then hold hate and contempt and let it slowly eat me up inside. All that does is make you bitter, angry, and untrusting. I can get mad and yell and scream but when I’m done has it changed the situation? No. Has it made the situation better? No, I may feel better but the situation isn’t. better.
So, I can go on with my life, 1, 5, 10, or even 20 years later and still have hate, disappointment, and hurt in my heart and be untrusting of anyone like the person who upset or betrayed me or I can forgive them, release that anger and hurt and move on. Again, every person is different and some may find it more difficult to forgive than others but in the end if you forgive then it is a start in forgetting and healing. So remember unless they break your own personal cardinal rules and you can’t forgive, then you will always be unhappy and distraught. But if you do forgive then you will find it is much easier to deal with yourself and others and your not sitting waiting for the next person to upset you so you can tell yourself “this always happens,” people never change but in truth, people can change and do quite often. One thing you have to do before you can forgive someone is first, you have to be able to forgive yourself. Forgiveness first comes from with forgiving yourself before you can forgive someone else.