What does it mean exactly to be forgiving? Does it make you a push over? Does it mean you are weak? I don’t think so. I think forgiveness is a beautiful, enlightening, weightless thing. To forgive does not mean to forget. Forgiveness is acknowledging something that has happened, and making a decision to move along from it; freeing yourself and another from any burdens of past ills or mistakes.
I think the ability to forgive someone isn’t a sign of weakness but a sign of true strength and maturity. There are a few reasons I believe in forgiveness.
The first is purely selfish. I like to live my life lightly. Taking the time to be angry at someone or carry around the grief of being disappointed, upset, or angry makes everything very heavy. When you forgive someone, you can toss the majority of that heavy depressing load right out the window. There is no room for stewing when you spearhead it! Ripping something off like a band-aid by acknowledging it and moving forward, that’s the way to be.
Secondly, life is short. You never know when your last conversation with someone is going to be. I learned a long time ago that I would prefer to have positive memories of people and for people to have positive memories of me. If I were to die tomorrow, I wouldn’t want something nasty I said or some silence I enforced to be the only thing echoing in someone’s head. And vice versa. If someone else passed away and I was too “tough” or angry to ever forgive them that might also eat away at me. You deserve to express your thoughts, pain, and hurt and have the ability to move on, and I think that is granted with sweet forgiveness.
Another thing that helps me to forgive is acknowledging the fact that I may not understand the other side of the coin, or what someone else is dealing with, or who they are in that moment. I believe we are evolutionary, that who we are today is not who we will be tomorrow. And who we are today is just a small spec of who we were years ago. Surely, there has been a moment in your life when you did something that seemed unforgivable, and you managed the guilt, pressure, and burden of carrying it around all day and dealing with it. And someone forgave you. Maybe for a good reason, maybe for no reason. We all deserve forgiveness on some level. It feels good!
On the flip side, I think forgiveness is a two way road. If you are constantly forgiving someone who continues to hurt you (like a poor relationship), then don’t be stupid! Don’t forget what they have done. Learn from it and don’t allow them the opportunity to do it again. But do forgive, do let it go.
I think sometimes there are things so dark, so difficult to forgive someone for doing. In those instances, I think it’s most important to forgive. Purely for the selfish reasons! Those wounds hurt the deepest, and you owe it to yourself and the people you love to toss all of that out the window and agree to live your life the best you can today. With this sweet life and sweet breath you have been granted!
I was prompted to write this because I think it’s really important to have the ability to forgive. I have gotten flack for being viewed as “too forgiving” but I think of forgiveness as a serious thing. There have been countless times in my life whether for something small or serious, someone has accepted my apology or plea or just started off by understanding when they didn’t have to. I believe in turning over new leaves and granting second chances to those truly deserving. I think there is only one higher power, somewhere, who would has the right to decide if another person’s damned, and that being is not myself. And it’s also not you.