In my opinion forgiveness is that topic most people tend to skate over. We acknowledge our hurt, express our hurt and attempt to move forward but do we actually undergo the process of letting it go? Do we take the time to forgive those who wronged us or take out the time requesting forgiveness from those we wronged.
Most times when I am talking to individuals I often hear they ‘d rather hold a grudge then forgive that person. Or they’d just stop talking to a person rather than make amends. And maybe there are situations that cutting a person off cold turkey is wise but I don’t think it’s warranted for all situations.
A couple of years back I was diagnosed with depression and was required to attend outpatient counseling. In that counseling I learned that holding grudges only feed anger that later develop into bitterness. The counselor then used the analogy of an anchor. She explained the longer a person hold a grudge the more stagnant a person can become. She mentioned that forgiveness is more about liberating oneself from the situation and it is beneficial to move forward.
This stuck with me as I have a hard time letting things go. I harp on the situation and replay how the person did me wrong. Even if the person apologizes I still somehow hold a grudge that prohibits me from moving forward in the relationship. This type of action does not affect the next person but it occupies mental space and time I could be spending on something else.
As I grow older I realize I have 2 choices. Forgive the person and create boundaries in that relationship or forgive the person and separate myself. I cannot regain the time I lost being mad at individuals and toiling on the past. We are all human so I can’t expect people to be perfect especially when I expect people to being lenient with me. Just like I expect to be forgiven, I should show the same mercy to someone else.
I think it is human nature to think of self and how we are affected by other people’s actions. I often explain to people that not all actions are purely devious and that some actions are merely reactions to how others have been treated. An example would be coming to work everyday grumpy and not greeting co-workers in the morning for over a month. Overtime the co-workers would expect this person to come to work and not say a word in the morning. One day the co-worker is in a good mood and decides to speak in the morning. When none of the co-workers speak back, would it be fair for the co-worker to get angry at them? The answer, of course, is subjective but the co-workers were simply conditioned to not speaking to this person in this morning and the rude behavior was a reaction due to this conditioning.
I believe we are all guilty of being so wrapped up in our lives that we don’t pay attention of how we are treating those around us. We don’t pay attention to our tone, body language and sometimes jump to conclusions without actually listening to people around them. And although sometimes this is done unintentionally when this behavior is brought to our attention we instantly get defensive. This may be a hard pill to swallow but if you intentionally or unintentionally hurt someone ‘s feelings an apology would be owed. If you care about people’s feelings just the mere fact you hurt their feelings should compel an apology. This is where empathy comes in.
I’ve had so many people disagree with this theory and it’s ok as it is just my opinion…and here comes my
…Soap Box Speech
I always feel some people expect others to take them as they are but place expectations on everyone else. Personally when expectations are placed on me that is a lot of pressure as it makes me feel like I have to alter myself to fit someone else’s checkbox. I feel it is impossible to live up to these expectations for the simple fact most people do not communicate these guidelines to the person . Most times the expectation setter never feels the need to apologize due to these “rules” and find ways to justify the person not meeting these secret expectations. This type of behavior is baffling to me and makes the playing field uneven.
How can a person that set these boundaries ever feel remorseful if they are the are setting these secret rules?
Excuse me if I digressed, but my entire point is we need to feel remorse as much as we expect to receive remorse. I can’t keep looking for forgiveness if I am not humble enough to go to someone I wronged. I believe there has to be a balance.
What are your thoughts about forgiveness? I would love to read your thoughts.