Have you ever had a best friend and thought they would be in your life forever? Me too. In fact, I had four best friends. From girl scouts to birthday parties and everything in between we were basically inseparable. I met most of them when I was only two years old and we were friends for fifteen years. We used to ride bikes, play with Barbie’s, and run around playing hide and seek until the sun went down. When we got older we used to do each other’s hair, have sleepovers and go driving around listening to music. It was seriously the best group of friends anyone could have.
Now none of us are friends and it was (partially) my fault. The story behind why none of us are friends is unbelievably long and complicated, but to make a long story short I betrayed the people who were immeasurably important to me. I took advantage of how much they trusted me and I irreparably damaged our friendship. I don’t think I have ever written that down. Perhaps I was scared that writing it down was an official admittance of guilt that I didn’t want to face, or maybe I just didn’t want to admit to everyone that I was capable of hurting people who loved me so much. It’s been six years and I’ve taken my time to grieve the loss of my friendships but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t take me a long time to understand their anger over what occurred. I could not comprehend why they wouldn’t forgive me, why they wouldn’t open their hearts and allow me to be apart of their family again.
Now that I’m older I’ve learned just how difficult it can be to forgive others; in fact there are several people in my life I haven’t forgiven. You know that saying, “Some things are unforgiveable?” I’m not sure if that’s true or not. I would like to believe it isn’t true but I have had people wrong me in ways I have deemed unforgiveable. It hurts my heart to admit that there are people in this world who have hurt me so deeply that I feel I cannot find it within myself to forgive them. So when I say I understand, I truly do.
But, I also know how severely it hurts to not be forgiven even when you have begged for it yourself. In fact, after months of begging for forgiveness I began to resent each one of them. I resented the fact they weren’t going to forgive me and that they certainly weren’t going to allow me back into their lives. Instead of taking responsibility for my actions I relentlessly scrutinized their decision for not wanting to forgive me.
And then I finally understood that I needed to let go. I had to let go of the anger, the sadness, the guilt, the embarrassment, the loss and the hope that one day we would reconcile. If they didn’t want to forgive me then I needed to forgive myself and move forward. It was incredibly hard to let go because for so long I believed that in order to move on you need be forgiven by the person you mistreated. I thought there wasn’t a way to resolve these feelings inside of myself if the people I hurt weren’t ready to forgive me. But I was wrong. I’ve learned it isn’t always necessary to be forgiven by those you have hurt in order to move on and realistically there will be people who can’t or won’t forgive you. What is necessary is learning to release the pain you’re inflicting on yourself by not letting go.
I learned when you don’t forgive yourself you carry around the heavy burden of guilt. You replay your actions over and over and you live in that mistake. Making sadness and guilt your home is easy and it becomes really comfortable to live there. Instead, grant yourself the peace to let go.