Learn How To Forgive

For the longest time, whenever I heard the word“Forgiveness” I would remember the saying “Forgive and Forget!”. Doesn't this sound like the way to happiness is to let people walk all over you and then miraculously you will feel better at some point?  How absolutely absurd! What if I told you that you not only can you forgive and forget, but you can also forgive and NOT forget and still be happy.  Forgiveness is the key, not necessarily the forgetting!

So then what is forgiveness actually? I can only tell you my interpretation…. So when someone hurts you in some way, we were all raised to think “When you do something wrong you must put it right.” So in essence, we all have this sense that there is a debt to be paid. “You hurt me, so you OWE me.”, is how we feel. And some people keep a mental private debt list of things owed them within their heart and they hold on to it because what happened to them is so very wrong. So once the wrong-do-ers have paid up this debt (or “made it right”) then then this means they will be happy, right? RIGHT??? But what if the other person doesn’t see it the same way? What if they don’t care that they hurt you? What if the hurt was so horrendous that they could NEVER in a million years make it right for you? What if they tried to make it up to you, but somehow you still do not feel peace in your heart?  Or what if they died and can't make it up to you... ever?

So the first part…. Forgiving….To me, Forgiveness is when you say to yourself “This person hurt me, but I no longer hold them to this debt they owe me.” Once you release this debt, the hurt no longer has a hold on you. Yes, it would be nice if they paid you back, but even if they don’t (or can’t or don’t believe they should) as the song says “Let It Go”. But I hear some of you say, “But that’s WRONG! How can you let them get off scott free?” No, you are not let them free - you are setting yourself free! You cannot control the actions of someone else, so when you don't forgive you make THEM in control of your happiness and now are locked in a prison of your own making until THEY release you. You can only control your own actions and how you think. Do not think you are weak to let it go, it’s just the opposite. It takes a VERY strong person to say “I forgive” and release that debt from your heart. Only then will you truly be free and be able to start healing and on the path to happiness.

Now for the second part… Forgetting…. You do not (I repeat) DO NOT need to forget. If I could change the "Forgive and Forget" saying I would change it to say “Forgive and Move On.” It can be very hard to forget what happened to you especially depending upon the severity. You can however let go of “the story” of what happened to you and move on. What does this mean? It means stop reliving it over and over in your head, stop thinking - talking - reminding yourself about it. Some people hold on to their “story” because it may give them attention, affection, sympathy, feeling of righteousness, excuse to live a certain way, etc. but it really does nothing except make them feel crappy.  Sometimes it's easier to be the “Victim” because then it tells everyone (or even justify to yourself) that you are “Innocent” and the other is the “Evil Villain”.  If you don't move on though, you will forever be in that prison you made for yourself. 

Forgiveness takes time. So do not beat yourself up if you cannot do it instantly. Sometimes you can start by just saying the words.  Yes, they may feel like empty words but over time it will feel real. How do you know when you have truly forgiven? You no longer feel that pang of pain when you think of that person or incident.

Free yourself! You and your happiness are worth it!

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