Forgiveness. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary it means “deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you.” What the dictionary fails to add in their definition is how hard the ‘act’ of forgiveness really is. Sure, it’s easy for someone to say they are sorry to you and you to respond by saying “it’s okay” or “don’t worry about it” but depending on how deep the harm was to you, the damage is already done deep within. Saying it’s okay and actually meaning it and completely letting the situation go, isn’t so simple. What about when the other person isn’t asking for forgiveness and isn’t even sorry? That’s an entirely new struggle.
Like so many, I have struggled with this issue. Over the years, forgiveness has become easier for me. When someone says they are sorry and they mean it, it’s been pretty simple for me to move on and forget about it. I am also one who really doesn’t become angry or upset over most things because no one is perfect and mistakes happen and I just hate fretting over the petty. Over the last year and a half, I have been struggling in my personal life with dating again and even entertaining the idea of entering another long-term relationship. I could never really figure out the true reason. I had just assumed that the toxic relationship I was in really sent me for a tail spin and I understandably had these fears of the same events and or issues occurring in my next relationship and not really sure if I wanted to put myself out there again. I tried explaining to my friends that there was a disconnect between my heart and my brain. My brain wants that relationship and wants that guy to love me but my heart is saying no way don’t put yourself through it again. I’ve spent many nights praying to God to fix me and crying myself to sleep.
Many people are driven by anger and resentment towards another human being. They just cannot seem to forgive and let it go. Unfortunately, what people don’t realize is that holding onto this is only hurting yourself and not the other individual(s) involved. This other person or these other people have moved on with their lives. They probably aren’t even thinking about it if they even realize or believe they did something to harm you in the first place. You on the other hand are reliving the past and stewing in the pain.
I was one of these people until recently. After this toxic relationship ended, I cut this fella completely out of my life cold turkey. I haven’t seen him, spoken with him and cut any sort of possible connection off because I felt this was best. We really do not even have any more mutual friends so I didn’t even have to worry about this until one day someone I work with casually mentioned he knew this mutual person that I knew. As soon as his name was mentioned, I started having all of these racing thoughts in my head about what kind of terrible things he has said about me. I wanted to run away because this too was something I always struggled with in the past. Finally, I realized, this mutual person we both knew wasn’t making a big deal out of it and it really didn’t matter. A year and a half later I was still letting this guy control me. And for what? He has moved on. He’s not stewing over our relationship. Well, maybe he is I guess I can’t really say but I learned so much from that terrible relationship and that dark period actually turned out to be a blessing for me (another story for another time) so why was I still letting him control me? Because I never forgave him. He wasn’t asking for forgiveness nor do I even know if he is sorry for anything but it doesn’t matter because my anger towards him and his past actions was controlling my life still. I knew I had to forgive him so I could move on and leave the past in the past.
People who have hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you in the present unless you allow it. The past is called the past for a reason. You have to find some way to make peace with the situation, forgive and move on. I was able to do this and it helped that I learned from this person and his actions. I knew what to change in the future so these events didn’t occur again. I also realized a few things about myself. These things being some of my flaws and what I too needed to work on. Once I was able to look at the situation, realized what I had learned as well as how my anger was negatively affecting me it was easier for me to forgive. Even though you forgive someone doesn’t mean they should be a part of your life either. Some people aren’t meant to be in your life. God placed them there for a reason but sometimes after that reason has played out and the purpose has been received it’s time for you both to live your separate lives. “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior, forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.” ~Jessie