“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” – Thomas Szasz
Forgiving someone can be one of the most challenging things for an individual to do. I speak from experience when I say that. Being a person who values such ideals as respect and sincerity, I find it difficult when trust is broken because a person has betrayed me. After years of knowing someone and building a friendship or business relationship, being wronged by that person can cause all sorts of unsavory emotions to gush out.
If you’re caught off guard by this “stab in the back”, the shock factor that hits you can briefly cripple your thought process for the moment, causing you to almost be rendered speechless. The raw anger which can emerge could create severe consequences if you don’t put yourself in check. The disappointment and heartache of feeling hurt might be the hardest feelings for many people. Finding out that whatever emotional tie which had developed between you and that person could be cut off, is one of the most difficult pressures on a person’s psyche. And lastly, the “moving-on” stage. That is the hardest for me, hands down. Trying to continue on after that unfortunate event can cause severe hardships for someone who might have heavily relied on the betrayer, and had become accustomed to enjoying their company and unique personality. Not holding a grudge against the individual whom you are trying your best to forgive, can be one of the most difficult struggles psychologically. For me, seeing that person again without visualizing bold lettered headlines announcing whatever wrong they committed against me, IS HARD!!!
Knowing that I will never fully view that person in the same light that I once had, (especially after the trust and respect I had for them has been broken), is tough. Okay. So how do you deal with all of this emotional pressure? How do you forgive and feel good afterward? It depends on the person. Some people are great at quickly sorting out those emotions of “post-wronged”. For others, it takes time to cool down from such an intense situation. I realize the importance of forgiveness because I am learning to recognize that not everyone lives by the Golden Rule of: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you“. Humans are fallible. We make mistakes, we treat each other badly, and we do not choose love as our first reaction most of the time. By understanding this, learning to forgive is that much more important. Forgiveness is something which illustrates a type of love. In a sense, by pardoning someone, you are taking the higher ground. Despite the pain that they caused you, having it within yourself to forgive allows you to wipe the slate clean, so to speak. That does not mean that the blemish of the wrongful action is erased, however. Forgetting it all together and acting as if it never happened is not wise, especially if you are dealing with someone who is an opportunist who takes advantage of your kindness. It really depends on the psychological readiness of the victim. I still am working on it, but understanding that I am not perfect in any way shape or form, and having been forgiven before for wronging someone else, I have no excuse for refusing to forgive or for holding a grudge. It’s tough, it is hard, and it goes against how you feel in the moment, but the ability to forgive is emotional aloe vera: a healing balm for your soul.
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee