I always used to say I was good at forgiving, but forgetting? Yeah, maybe not so much. Sure, there is wisdom in being wary of a person after they have acted in a questionable or unfavorable way towards us. But I now believe being able to let things go is necessary as a part of our emotional well-being.
So often we think if we forgive someone, it means we have somehow condoned their behavior. We hang onto their wrongdoing, so we can hold that person accountable. It feels righteous and we carry it like a torch. We believe justice needs to be served.
So here is my question. Don’t you ever get tired? Tired of telling the story. Tired of working so hard to keep the flame alive. Tired of feeling hard done by. Tired of feeling like the victim of someone else’s actions. Tired of still feeling at their mercy after all this time.
Last year I was involved in a situation where I felt horribly wronged by another person who I am close to. The friends I shared my story with all vehemently agreed I had been wronged. It messed me up for a while – I cannot lie. I didn’t deserve what happened and I was miserable. But things didn’t start to turn for me until I was able to separate the other persons actions from my feelings.
Here is what I do know. We don’t get to control the other humans in our lives. They are all individually responsible for their own behavior just as we are all responsible for our own. And as humans, we don’t always act in perfect compliance with the greater good. We all get a lot of stuff wrong and there is always consequential fall out and shrapnel that flies as a result. And when we are close to someone? We often get hit with the biggest and most damaging chunks.
Grief is always involved but the long-term suffering comes when we continue to make it all about us personally.
What if their behavior was more about what they were capable of at the time? Is it possible to just hand it all back to them?
Justice is not our card to play because like it or not, we don’t have any control over another person’s karma.
The other hard truth is that life is not fair. But it was never supposed to be. And we need to stop clinging to the idea, in the hopes it will somehow save us.
Choosing to just let it go might be the act of love and kindness you need most.
Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself. And that is something you deserve.