This Is Why Forgiving Doesn’t Always Mean Forgetting

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Goh Rhy Yan / Unsplash

I’ve been known to hold a grudge or twelve.

In my defense though, most of these crimes against me were considered especially heinous, and like, the others, well; it just comes with the territory. Basic offenses could be as small as not texting back in a timely manner (a reply 13 minutes later is rude. NO one is THAT busy), which can result in your being ignored for a few days to a week-and-a-half while you watch me like and comment on your friends’ posts on social media.

A moderate offense such as telling me I’m being dramatic during a discussion in an attempt to invalidate the heightened levels of my emotions just because you don’t agree with them can get you ignored for 3 weeks to a month, whichever I deem appropriate.

Other, more serious offenses like forgetting to tell me you’re married (not that big of a deal for me, but for others, issa problem), forgetting my birthday (which ultimately means you weren’t thinking about me at all, and that I mean nothing to you) or saying that Beyoncé is overrated (seriously, name another artist who can look, sing, and dance flawlessly for a Super Bowl halftime show while giving you soaring vocals that don’t even attempt to teeter on the edge of breathlessness) can get you completely blacklisted AND YOU’LL NEVER WORK IN THIS TOWN AGAIN!; with the latter being EXCEPTIONALLY worse than the former.

While it’s 100% okay to get upset and hold a grudge, you have to decide when to let it go. You don’t want to end up like the Capulets and the Montagues, because like, come onnnnn. One thing I’ve learned though since entering my 30s is that forgiveness is really for no one but you. Holding on to resentment is akin to drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Some super wise person came up with that, but I can’t remember whom, and Google didn’t cite its sources, so like, idk.

I’ve had moments when I’ve been deep, and I mean DEEP in arguments that have turned quiet whispers into shouting matches, flipped tables, and broken vases. Then realized I was wrong, but didn’t admit it and held a grudge for a few hours just to keep up the ruse. After a while, when it was time, I thoughtfully apologized and forgave the person who had so foolishly disagreed with me. When they go low, you go lower, but like, also make sure to get on a plane so you can go high later (always have a backup plan).

Most of these are all pretty superficial wrongs that could easily be forgiven with the appropriate amount of time ( it heals all wounds according to T Swift). Other instances though, are more life-altering and emotionally, or physically scarring (I’ve come to find that emotional scars last MUST longer than physical scars) such as being cheated on, abused, abandoned, or told that Beyoncé is overrated (seriously, the Beygency will find you, and the hive will crush you) – and at what point do you decide what to hold on to, or of what to let go?

For starters, don’t let anyone tell you when it’s time for you to forgive. They can’t tell you when you’re done processing or grieving what’s happened to you. They don’t get to decide when your emotional scarring should be bandaged and when it’s time to start the healing process. That’s up to you. I’ve also found that people who rush someone into forgiveness know that the accused will repeat the same behavior; so essentially, it’s really not worth it.

There has to come a moment in which you ask yourself “what is holding on to this doing for me? Am I protecting myself, or hindering myself from moving forward?” A couple things though, just because you forgive someone, does not in any way mean that you should forget about what they did to you, or how they made you feel. And just because you forgive someone, doesn’t mean you have to allow them back into your life. You can forgive the transgression, and move on with your life completely without them.

There’s an element of self-care to forgiveness. You become at peace with things, and you realize that things aren’t always happening TO you, that maybe they’re happening FOR you.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them. TC mark

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