Learn How To Forgive

For the longest time, whenever I heard the word“Forgiveness” I would remember the saying “Forgive and Forget!”. So this always made it sound like the way to happiness is to let people walk all over you and somehow miraculously you will feel better about it at some point. How absolutely absurd! No wonder people don’t get it. I know now that not only can you forgive and forget, but you can also forgive and NOT forget and still be happy. What??? 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 more or less how we feel. And some people hold a private debt list of things owed them within their heart and they hold on to it for dear life 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 will they 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?

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 even want to) as the song says “Let It Go”. But I hear some of you say, “But that’s WRONG! You are letting them off scott free?” No, you are setting yourself free! You cannot control the actions of someone else, so when you hold that debt you make THEM in control of your happiness and you are locked in a prison of your own making until THEY release you. You can only control your own actions and how you think. You are not 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. I would change this part of the saying to be “Forgive and Move On.” It can be hard to forget what happened to you especially depending upon the severity. But you can let go of “the story” 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 gives them attention, affection, sympathy, etc. but it really does nothing else for them except make them feel crappy. It’s much better 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”. So in a way, by holding on to your story you still hold on to the debt so you really have not forgiven them at all.

Forgiveness takes time. So do not beat yourself up if you cannot do it instantly. Sometimes you start by just saying the words. They may feel like empty words at first but then over time try to feel it. 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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