What is forgiveness? How do we truly forgive someone? Why is it that we can forgive what people say or do to us, but we find it difficult to forget? For me, forgiveness is about understanding. It is the understanding that people sometimes do things without giving it much thought and what the repercussions of their actions could mean. Forgiveness is an individual journey that requires a lot of practice and patience. It is about our own peace of mind. It is about letting go of our ego, accepting the hurt and truly allowing ourselves to feel it. It is only then, that we can release that hurt and forgive people. In fact, forgiveness is cathartic because it allows us to continue with our lives without being stuck in the same place for too long. We’ve all been in situations when we’ve needed forgiveness or needed to forgive. So why is it then, that although we forgive or are forgiven, we find it difficult to forget the person’s actions?
My take on why it is difficult to forget a person’s actions that have caused us hurt is that words truly do cut deeper than a knife. You see, words stay with you forever whereas a knife leaves a wound and the pain is physical, but eventually that physical pain subsides, and physical pain can eventually be forgotten. It leaves us with a faded scar and we are only reminded of the physical pain it once caused when we see the scar. However, when pain is caused emotionally or mentally, that pain doesn’t ever truly go away even though it also lessens over time. You battle with the emotional and mental pain because it is more difficult to reason with why that pain was caused. For some reason, it is more difficult to forget the emotional and mental pain because it is a different kind of pain, one that in my humble opinion, is a bit more difficult to explain. When it comes to emotional or mental pain, I feel that as humans, we have to make the choice to not let our emotional and mental pain get the better of us for our own sake, but is something that is never forgotten.
One of the hardest acts of forgiveness is when we forgive those whom we never truly get an apology from. Despite this being one of the most difficult acts of forgiveness, it is one of the most liberating. It is the willingness to understand that at times, despite people hurting us, sometimes it can be unintentional, even though that can be difficult to comprehend. It is also about having to make peace with what was said and done whilst acknowledging that the person whose actions have caused us the hurt, was maybe coming from a place of insecurity or a place where they are hurt themselves. I feel this because we never truly know exactly what another human being is going through. You see, every human being has two versions of themselves. The one the world sees and the other that the world doesn’t see, and it is often the version the world doesn’t see where the hurt caused to others usually comes from, even if they don’t know they are causing hurt. It is deeply embedded in their trauma which we all have as humans. Even though we can acknowledge and understand why someone might cause us hurt, it is still not justified to hurt another human being. Can you imagine a world where everyone thought like that? Where we were so intentional in our actions that we didn’t hurt other people?
Another difficult act of forgiveness I feel is forgiving when we are in love. Often when we are in love with someone, we choose to forgive the person we love for many things whether it is comments they make about us, accusations they throw our way or generally not making us feel like we are important enough in their lives. But my question is, how long can one keep forgiving until those doors forever close? How much forgiveness can one person give to the same person over and over because they either claim they don’t know better or didn’t think of it in that way or see it the way we do? And how much understanding is too understanding? I am starting to think that forgiveness in love maybe continues until we are one day strong enough to walk away from the love that ends up causing us more pain than it should. And we all have different breaking points in this. It is when you realise that you drop your ego each time by forgiving and trying to be understanding of the person you love, but you also realise that even though you are trying to be the better person by forgiving, that love will continue taking from you because it benefits them, which in turn can lead to resentment. It is only then that the doors of forgiveness for the person we love must close. Why is it that we are willing to continuously forgive those we love even when they sometimes hurt us so deep, it is almost like a knife has been stabbed in your heart and twisted?
I have been hurt so many times and I have had to forgive those who hurt me with words, their actions, their accusations, and by those whom I thought would never hurt me. Forgiveness means to not be resentful towards those who have hurt us and sometimes that is difficult. As humans, we can often be resentful because we are hurting. And that is okay. That is part of the process of allowing ourselves to feel that hurt, to acknowledge and accept it. But how long can one be resentful for? Sometimes revenge is also something people wish to partake in when they are unable to forgive but, I feel that being revengeful is a waste of one’s own time because I am a true believer of karma. Whatever you put out into the world comes back to you at some point in your life, which is why I choose the path of forgiveness, no matter how much I have been hurt. It is human nature to hold onto resentment for a while, but I think some people hold onto it much longer and the negative consequences of this only affect their own life.
I think the beauty of forgiveness can sometimes be when we forgive those who never truly apologise to us but one day, they have the realisation that their actions must have hurt us. Sometimes we get the apology we deserved much later than expected and it can be difficult to fathom, especially if we have moved on. This is when you appreciate that the person who is seeking your forgiveness has been able to reflect on their actions and has finally understood why they may have caused you hurt. However, for some strange reason, despite doing all of this, I feel it still doesn’t allow us to forget, and I am unsure why.
With all that being said, from personal experience, once you let go of the hurt a person has caused you by choosing to forgive them, you generally live a healthier and happier life. You may never truly understand why a person hurt you whether it was intentionally or unintentionally. Forgiveness is more for your own sake, rather than theirs and that is what people who hold onto resentment fail to understand. You don’t forgive for someone else, you forgive because it is something that will make your own life better in the long run. But the hurt is not something we will ever forget and every so often, I am personally reminded of the hurt I have been caused no matter how much I try to forget. I am starting to think that maybe it is a part of life and it in turn, enables us to become the people we become.
Until next time,
The Unveiled Reflector x