The Brutal Truth About Why It’s So Hard To Forgive People (And Why You Need To Do It Anyway)

Disclaimer: please do not think I’m so naïve to think that there are some mistakes that are irreconcilable, trust me, I’ve been there. Those are the situations where you have to forgive someone who isn’t even sorry and it’s something you do for you and ONLY you.
Giulia Bertelli
Giulia Bertelli

We all make mistakes: big ones, small ones, mediocre ones, accidental ones… the list goes on. It’s part of human nature and seeing as no one is perfect, it’s bound to happen on the regular. I have quite the conundrum in regards to this topic and it goes a little something like this…

When we make a mistake, we expect for others to be understanding and forgive us immediately.

When someone else makes a mistake, we pick apart every single detail and take our sweet time in forgiving them.

As a people pleaser, I absolutely despise when I make a mistake that hurts or makes someone angry. I over apologize, I overanalyze, I do whatever I can to make it right. Yet, I find myself actually getting frustrated when it takes time for someone to process the situation and eventually forgive me. It’s a helpless feeling… you want to say and do everything to make that person understand your side of things, to understand why you acted the way you did.

But, are you taking into account that maybe they need a little more time to process it? Probably not, because even though you are the one that made the mistake – you are only concerned with your timeline of things, not the person that you wronged. Which is ironic, because even though you want this person to forgive you, you’re being selfish in the manner of their forgiveness process.

There’s another side to this: when someone makes a mistake that affects you, that whole immediate forgiveness thing seemingly becomes nonexistent.

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time with the “forgive and forget” thing, trust me… anyone who knows me would gladly tell you this. As an over analyzer, I pick apart absolutely every detail of the situation. I will sit there for days trying to figure out WHY this person would ever do that, I take it personally, I ice people out, I have a million questions that

I want to ask. But… the best part, the answer to all of it is pretty simple: just like me, this person is human and its human nature to make mistakes. Unless it was with malicious and premeditated intent, it was simply a mistake and I can bet that they feel just as bad as you do when you screw up.

So why is it such a double standard?

Why don’t we give others the same grace that we feel entitled to when we screw up?

Why do we pick apart every detail of their mistake instead of being a little more understanding?

Why do we make small mistakes a bigger issue than they should be?

But lastly, why do we have such a hard time with forgiveness?

I do not have answers to the questions above, but the one answer that I have for this is – when it comes to mistakes and forgiveness, don’t be so hard on someone. Talk about it with them instead of icing them out. When you get to the root of the issue, you’re likely to diffuse a situation that was unintentional to begin with. Having people in your life who love and care for you is so essential to your happiness, why make things harder on yourself by jeopardizing valuable relationships because of a mistake?

So in a nutshell, attempt to show others the grace and forgiveness that you wish for when you’ve screwed up. We’re never going to be perfect and we’re always going to have some regrettable confrontations, but maybe if we started dealing with them in a reasonable manner… we would end up salvaging relationships and friendships that never should have been in jeopardy to begin with.

As hard as forgiveness can be, you have to think about the alternative… Would you rather have the heart of an ice queen and lose someone who has helped you through valuable parts of life? Or, would you rather put your pride aside, have a rational and mature discussion, get to the root of the issue and not lose that person due to a mistake? I don’t know about you, but it’s my goal to start going with the second option. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Twentysomething, Nashville Native, Adventurer

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