Forgive and Forget? Never!
“I asked you to forgive me!” When someone says, “please forgive me” there is an implied resolution, “My part is over. I have confessed, and now it’s up to you to reciprocate with forgiveness.”
Aware – Acknowledge – Move Forward in love and kindness is a path I have found healthy and successful. Fantasy says, “Forgive and forget” implying we truly forget about it, as if it never happened. The reality is, we don’t forget. We either hang on to the offense, sometimes with bitterness and anger, or we can remember for good and productive reasons.
I don’t want to forget the pain others have caused and I certainly don’t want to forget the pain I’ve caused others. I want to remember so I do not do it again. I want to remember the words and actions that hurt so I can avoid them and replace them with positive words and actions. I want to remember how it felt when something happened to me, so I recognize the hurt in others, reach out in true empathy and share hard won battles with thoughts and emotions.
We experience hurt and frustration. We are aware. We acknowledge the true hurt and pain we have caused and been subject to from others. We move forward in love and kindness, using our memory to guide future choices resulting in healthier, more fulfilling lifestyles.
Aware – Acknowledge – Move Forward in love and kindness.
Try it. Share your experience.
It’s very true. People think of forgiveness as putting an end to a situation, but in truth it never is—the past is always going to shape how we think and act looking forward. “Forgive and forget” is misleading, because no matter what you say some part of you WILL remember—and that’s okay! Every difficult situation is an opportunity to learn and grow. It shouldn’t be forgotten.
Another thing I would like to add to this thought is that people believe forgiveness is about the other person. As if they must “earn” your forgiveness, or you must earn theirs. Really, I think forgiveness is always an internal choice. YOU can choose to hold on to resentment and anger, or you can CHOOSE to forgive and release that internal stress. As the old saying goes, “holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person falls ill.”
I think forgiveness is something that you have to decide. Even if you are the one who wronged someone, it’s up to you to forgive YOURSELF for that. Honestly, I think being able to forgive yourself is more important than earning someone else’s forgiveness.
Some great thoughts Steve—thanks for sharing!
Outstanding insight, Edison! Thanks for your sharing!