Living each day much muchier
When you hurt someone and humble yourself to say sorry and ask for forgiveness, you want everything to go back to the way it was. If they forgive you, then surely everything is all good, right?
Forgiveness is essential where trust has been broken but if the injury goes deep, forgiveness is only the beginning of repairing the relationship.
When you forgive, you consciously let go of pain and anger. You forgo the right to bring up that pain in conversation or to make them pay for it through retribution, bitter words or silence. You forgo the right to use it as a weapon or a free pass to do whatever you want in return.
Forgiveness ties a knot in the fray and says this ends here – the damage goes no further.
The pain might not have fully gone away, but if you decide to forgive, you decide not to follow your anger down the rabbit hole or to drag them down with you.
It can be hard to forgive, because it feels like you’re giving them a golden ticket to consequence free living. It seems unfair.
That is one option, of course, but it’s not the only one and may not be the right one for your situation. There is a difference between unforgiveness and forgiveness while choosing not to go back to the way things were.
It’s a subtle one and it may feel the same to the other person. They will likely accuse you of not having forgiven them at all if the nature of your relationship changes, but this is shifting accountability. The behaviour or action is what changed the relationship. You don’t own it now just because the onus is on you to forgive them for it.
Forgiveness is powerful, but it can’t turn back time and undo a thing. The past happened. Lessons were learnt, however unintentionally they were delivered. They might feel it was a silly mistake and would never happen again, but it’s part of the story of your relationship.
Forgiveness goes both ways. You are far from perfect. No doubt you have and will again be in need of forgiveness, yourself.
You both need to process the consequences in your own way. Forgiveness may lead to moving on, starting something different or healing toward a full restoration of what came before, depending on what both people want.
If forgiveness can mean moving on, you may wonder what’s the point of forgiving at all. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ghost out of their lives and go your own way?
The act of forgiveness isn’t about letting go of a person, though that might be what happens as a result. It’s about letting go of being wronged.
When you don’t forgive, you carry the weight of what happened forward with you into other relationships and experiences. Unforgiveness colours the way you see everyone else. You figure they’ll wrong you too, given half a chance, and so you don’t give them that chance. You preempt the pain by putting up a guard and keeping them at a distance. They may never learn why that part of you is off limits and it will make them sad. It may drive them away entirely.
The act of forgiveness releases the other person from the anguish of their guilt, but it also releases you to go forward in life, giving each new person a clean slate of their own making.
It’s hard to forgive, but it’s worth it.
“There is a hard law. When an injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive. ”