I am pretty sure that we have all been hurt by someone we cared about at one point in our lives. When people hurt us, it usually catches us off guard, especially if it was a close friend, family member, or significant other. It’s the kind of hurt that physically stings, and if it’s never dealt with, it leaves a scar on our hearts forever.
We often heard the phrase “forgiveness is not for the other person, but for you.” And you probably think, “Well that’s easy to say but very hard to do.” Which is true. To forgive someone is not easy at all. It requires a lot of strength and maturity to do. But it is possible. Because at the end of the day, forgiveness is not for the other person. They may feel better because you’ve forgiven them, but the apology is for you. It helps you to officially heal from the situation. You cannot truly be your best self if you’re holding on to past hurts.
The real maturity lies in forgiving someone who will never apologize to you. There are some people who truly have no regard for others feelings. They couldn’t care less if they hurt you or not. I can see how this can make you hesitant to forgive them, but you still have to do it in order to move on. Because while you’re there making yourself miserable over this person, they’re still living their life.
Now, I’m not saying that forgiveness is an overnight process, because it’s not. It takes time, especially if what the person did was really severe. You just have to take baby steps.
But here’s the thing about forgiveness: Once you decide to forgive someone, you have to TRULY forgive them. You can’t say you forgive someone and then, months later, bring up previous offenses that you already forgiven them for. All that does is erase all the healing and progress you’ve made.
I’m also not saying to preserve relationships where you find yourself continuously forgiving someone. There are many people who love to say sorry for the hell of it but never change their bad behavior. They take advantage of the fact that you’re always willing to forgive them so they keep hurting you. You should still forgive this person for your own sake, but that doesn’t mean you should keep them around.
You’re not obligated to sever relationships in which your feelings are not being respected.
One of my favorite quotes about forgiveness comes from the movie Diary Of A Mad Black Woman, said by Cicerly Tyson’s character.
She said, “When somebody hurts you, they take power over you; if you don’t forgive them then they keep the power. Forgive him, baby, and after you forgive him, forgive yourself.”
The most important part of that quote is to forgive yourself. It’s easy to blame ourselves for allowing people to hurt us, but all that does is make us feel worse. You can’t determine what people do to you, but you can control how you respond.
Forgiveness is a pretty slippery slope. It’s one of the hardest things we have to deal with as human beings. There are some things that feel like they’re unforgivable, but you should still try. Life is too short to hold grudges and let people take power over us.
When you forgive someone, it takes a huge weight off your heart. It gives you room to properly heal and move on. The longer you hold on to the hurt, the more you stay in that negative space.
The next time you’re faced with a decision on whether or not to forgive someone, think about times where you’ve hurt people. You would want someone else to grant that same mercy the person you hurt gave you.
If the person is genuinely apologizing, forgive them. Even if they aren’t, FORGIVE THEM. Not for them, but for you.