At 49, I am not forgiving. You think you understand forgiveness. You say, “I forgive you” like that will free you. Like that means anything to your brain, your soul (if you believe in that), your karma (again, if you believe in that), your heart. It doesn’t.
Everywhere I look, I hear the forgiveness chant: forgive and you’ll forget; forgive and you’ll be at peace; forgive and you’ll lose weight (probably). Most of all, forgive for YOU, not for them that wronged you. Oh, no. You “forgive” to unlock your own chains (they claim), not anyone else’s.
I don’t believe this. I don’t believe in forgiveness, period.
Everywhere I look, I see people locked in bad behaviors. I see people smiling tight-lipped smiles. I hear people repeating, “I forgive him/her/them”. But I don’t see them free. I don’t see forgetting. I don’t see anyone losing that last ten pounds.
What I see are people trying desperately to feel better, in the aftermath of terrible wrongs, of unfair treatment, of unearned slights, and horrific tragedy. I see people not doing ANYTHING to right these wrongs, to protest these slights, to heal these tragedies. Except, of course, to parrot, “forgiveness” that everyone around seems so comfortable with.
How about this? How about working for justice? How about shouting down the bigotry? How about giving as good as you got? How about, just this once, not making everyone around you feels better by saying, “I forgive”? How about saying, “You done me wrong” (you could even sing it!)? How about telling someone off for their bad treatment of you? How about holding someone accountable, and then – not forgiving them? Just that.
At 49, I don’t forgive. I also don’t wait for “karma” to work some magic universal come-uppance.
I hold people accountable. I work for justice in my own little corner of the world. If someone hurts me on purpose, I am angry. And, I stay that way.
Guess what? It doesn’t control my life.
I am not angry every day (after all, they are no longer in my life!). Although, I am angry when I think of the occasion or the person(s). I believe that this keeps me of slipping into relationships and behaviors not appropriate for someone with a healthy self-image. I don’t “rot”.
It’s not easy. Everyone else likes it when you “forgive”. But if you want me to “forgive” for myself, well, I’ll pass. I am fine how I am – and this is real smile on my face.