How I Learnt To Forgive

forgiveness

In my Full Moon tarot reading for October - November, I briefly touched on my view of forgiveness.

I mentioned I see forgiveness as choosing to release and let go; for me, it's about refusing to be bound by bitterness, anger, and hatred. Today, I wanted to share a bit about how I got to that point, and why I think forgiveness is so important.

A While ago I had something happen that changed how I saw forgiveness and why I forgave people. Until The Thing happened, I thought forgiving someone meant the relationship with the person who wronged you needed to be the same again; it was as if nothing had ever happened. Forgive and forget, and kiss and make up after all, right?

When The Thing happened, I was hurt and confused; I just stood there because I couldn't believe what had happened. For a while thinking back on the situation would bring up feelings of sadness, anger, and an incredible hatred towards the person who had wronged me.

At some point, it was if a light had been turned on, I wasn’t going to allow this person to have any control over me; I wasn’t going to let their negativity affect me, and I certainly wasn’t going to let this situation define me. I suddenly realised I needed to forgive this person, but how, and more importantly WHY?

I realised

  • Forgiveness was for my own happiness. Holding on to the pain, hurt and anger would have done far more harm to me than it would have the other person; it's about letting go of the negativity that results from being hurt and letting go of the emotional baggage that comes along with it.

  • Forgiveness allows me to live in the present. The thing was something that could have defined me if I had allowed it, but honestly, I don't really think of it that often anymore.

  • Forgiveness is incredibly freeing. it allowed me to move on without contempt, anger or the need to revenge (not going to lie, in the beginning I wanted a time machine, so I could go back and knock them the fuck out).

  • Forgiving someone does not mean I condone what has happened. Choosing to forgive someone and moving on does not make what happened okay.

  • Forgiving does not mean having to forget. Choosing to move on from something painful and forgetting about it are completely different things.

  • Forgiveness does not mean having to trust or rebuild a relationship with the other person. There are times when relationships can’t be rebuilt, and there’s no way to go back to what they were. and that’s okay.

  • Forgiveness does not need to be face to face. Hell, i don’t think the other person needs to know they’ve been forgiven; I wrote a letter that I never gave them. Choosing to forgive was for me alone.

How I forgave

  • I journaled. I wrote about what happened and how I felt

  • I talked about it. I talked about it with the people closest to me, and in therapy

  • I allowed myself lean into my feelings and process my emotions - I cried, I yelled, I swore; I was angry, it's a valid emotion, I just didn't want to continue to feel that way.

  • I wrote a letter to the person I was forgiving. I never actually gave them the letter; it outlined how the situation had made me feel, and why I was choosing to forgive.

  • I put myself in the other person's shoes. Doing this gave me some insight into the situation, and I could see how, and why The Thing had happened. When i did this, I felt a sense of pity, like ‘you poor fucking thing’. Empathising with this person didn't make what they did okay, but I could understand why it happened.

Maintaining a relationship with someone you forgive

I don’t really talk person who changed my view on forgiveness anymore, but there have been situations since where I have forgiven people who I do maintain relationships with, here’s how I have done that:

  • working out my feelings and emotions before talking to the other person about. I can say some pretty horrible shit when I’m angry; I have learned that you can never take backs something said in anger.

  • Taking using *I statements. You know the kind of statements I’m talking about ‘I feel hurt/angry/betrayed/whatever; I try do this without blame, event though sometimes it’s so easy to say something like “I feel angry because you’re a dick”.

  • Setting new boundaries.

  • Leaving it in the past.