Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No wait required

Forgiveness doesn't excuse the fact that he caused you pain; it recuses you from a life of pain. ~ The Single Woman

Have you ever noticed that some people think forgiveness and weakness are the same thing? That if you forgive someone, it's the same as letting them off the hook for whatever they did to hurt you, and letting them walk all over you.

I've talked before about how I am good friends with my ex-husband. What a lot of people don't realize is - we weren't always friends. When the...stuff first hit the fan, we really didn't get along. Which makes sense - we didn't agree. He felt that he'd been wronged; I felt I had.

After a little reflection and personal growth (and a few hundred dollars in therapy) I learned that forgiveness is more about me about me than it is the other person. My feelings were hurt; and I had a right to be hurt. We weren't going to agree, and since we weren't going to be together anymore, that was okay too.

I learned that I can't control other people; what they say, what they do, or what they think. I couldn't control whether or not X realized he hurt me. So I had two choices: I could stay angry, and let the negative feelings take over - or I could forgive and move on.

I realized that moving on was for me, not for him. It wasn't about me letting him off the hook - because it wasn't my hook. He wasn't accountable to me; he was accountable to himself. It wasn't my job to show him what he'd done wrong; it was my job to let that go, focus on the mistakes I'd made, the lessons I had to learn, and improvements I needed to make. So I did. What happened? He eventually came to terms with his part in the whole thing - and he apologized, privately and very publicly too.

A friend of mine is going through something like that right now. She broke up with a guy about a year ago. He hurt her terribly, but she loved him a lot - still does, I think. She recently found out that, even while they were together, he was saying things behind her back. I knew she would want to contact him, to confront him. I told her to let it go - that taking the high road would be her karma. Eventually, she'll get the chance to say something if/when the time is right. He'll either discover his mistake - or drown in his own ignorance. Either way - that will be his karma.

That's the thing about forgiveness. If you embrace it, you get to move on in your own time, and on your own terms. No waiting required.

3 comments:

  1. Very good point. It's unlikely the person that hurt you even really cares that they did so why carry that with you? You're only hurting yourself.

    Is it possible to forgive and still think the person in question is a horrible terrible person or douche bag?

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  2. "Is it possible to forgive and still think the person in question is a horrible terrible person or douche bag?"

    I don't see why not. Some people aren't nice, plain and simple. So, get them out of your life ASAP - and send your anger with them. Will you be friends? Probably not. But you can still forgive the hurt, and move on.

    I also think you can forgive someone, but not forget the thing they did. For example - my heart was broken. I forgave him and let it go. I still consider him a friend - but I'd never give him the chance to do that to me again. I decided he was a good person who made a mistake and deserved another chance.

    If you don't find a way to let whatever happened go, and just say, "It's over, it happened, it's okay now," anger will eat you up. You'll spend all your energy trying to right the wrong, teach that person a lesson - and for nothing. You just end up punishing yourself.

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