Forgiveness is something that is not often talked about. Mainly because: A- we like to avoid all confrontational situations and B – we don’t want anything bad to happen to us that requires forgiving. But as we all know, life is a bitch and sometimes you find yourself in situations you’d rather not be in. Whether someone has hurt you, lied, cheated, betrayed or fucked you over, at some stage in our lives, we will be confronted with the reality of ‘moving on’ and faced with the fear of forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not equal weakness
Maybe a reason we don’t discuss forgiveness and aren’t always willing to forgive, is because we think it implies weakness or needing to apologise. But in fact, I believe the opposite. To forgive is to have the strength to acknowledge your true feelings and confront those feelings head on (which we know can be extremely difficult). It also doesn’t entail apologising. I feel like in today’s society we are always expected to apologise, it’s such a default position to fall to. Saying sorry is almost too easy. Meaning and showing it is much harder. Forgiveness is accepting and letting go of something that someone else is sorry about, it is releasing them, and yourself from the anguish.
An opportunity to let go
Forgiveness is a pathway to inner peace. With it, you let go of negative emotions and is your way of saying that I am OK and ready for a future of happiness.
Forgiveness means that you have the ability to put someone else’s thoughts and feelings front and centre. It’s wishing them the best for the future (and actually meaning it). This is probably the most difficult part of forgiveness. Why would you want the best for someone who has hurt you? Sometimes we secretly wish the absolute worst for that person. But we know that those negative thoughts aren’t going to get us very far in life. Before you know if you’re caught up in revenge and jealousy that you lose sight of what you really want. Being selfless in this way, and wishing the best for someone is probably the hardest part of forgiveness. But once you do, it reinforces your inner peace and reflects your consideration for others, whilst respecting yourself.
Forgiveness is a process
Forgiveness is a process and processes take time. You cannot simply decide to forgive someone nor can you force it to happen. Sometimes confronting these feelings is extremely challenging, particularly if someone has hurt you. There’s expiration or time limit on this, your heart will tell you when you’re ready. Because it’s only when you’re ready, are you then able to move on.
At the end of the day, holding on to these feelings of anxiety, worry, hurt and pain are not going to benefit you in any way. You need to consider what you want and where you want to be in life and think if those feelings, thoughts and people are going to positively contribute to your life. If they’re going to hold you back, then it’s time to let go. Letting go can be difficult and so can moving on. But letting go of these horrible feelings that are holding you back, well damn just you wait until they’re lifted off of your shoulders. You’ll soon be a lighter, happier and more peaceful person.
Alanis Morissette said it best
Like Alanis Morissette said ‘you’re forgiven, not forgotten.’ Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to forget about it the hurt and pain, because let’s be honest, sometimes it’s pretty hard to forget. And it’s important not to, we live and we learn, and we learn and we grow. These moments test and challenge us to our core. So it’s important to remember what you’re able to overcome and achieve, because then you’ll be equipped for the next time. And if there’s a next time, you’ll know exactly how to get through it with grace.
At the end of the day, no one has time for such negativity. The art of forgiveness will vary with each situation, but I believe that forgiveness is truly an art. It looks different to everyone and everyone has their opinion on it, but all that matters is that it looks beautiful and peaceful to you. Mastering the art of forgiveness is not easy, but little by little, you’ll be able to let go of those feelings and put yourself back to where you want to be.