The Thing About Forgiveness

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It’s been a while since I’ve written a piece that was a tad emotional and personal. For a few years I have maintained a great level of privacy because it brought me much needed peace. I realized that when I was going through “stuff”, I would put that energy out into the World by talking to others about it, posting it on social media, etc. That same energy came right back to me to bite me in the ass. I was tired of living that way.

I have no specific reason as to why I am choosing to write about this topic other than I had an epiphany. One that I am sharing with you, in case this connects with you in some way. Or perhaps it might help. I don’t know.

Let’s talk about forgiveness. What exactly is it? What does it look like? How does it feel?

Forgiveness is the act of forgiving. Forgiving is defined as:

1to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) pardon 

  • forgive one’s enemies

2a to give up resentment of or claim to requital (see requital 1) for 

  • forgive an insult

b to grant relief from payment of 

  • forgive a debt*

Forgiveness is interesting. You see, people post shit about forgiveness quite often. It’s all over social media. We are encouraged to forgive, and move on. To forgive those who’ve harmed us. To forgive those who’ve broken our hearts, or promises. To forgive those who have hurt us emotionally, and even the ones who’ve hurt us physically. Not only are we encouraged to forgive them, but we are also tasked with forgiving ourselves. Talk about a whole lot of work to do with very little energy. (someone pass the damn wine please).

I say f**k that. Yes, you read that correctly. F**k. That.

Let me clarify. I am not saying do not forgive. I am saying f**k that to people telling you WHEN or HOW to forgive. Forgiveness is such a personal journey that should and must be done carefully at your own pace. Do it when you are truly ready to do so, not when everyone thinks you should.

How will you know when you’ve arrived at a point where you can forgive a person that’s hurt you? I can’t pinpoint an exact moment, or action, but I can tell you that you will FEEL it in your heart. You will know when the time has come and you will experience the beauty and freedom of forgiveness.

Who am I to say this? Well…I have a short story:
I was very angry at someone for almost 6 years. Six. Years. (talk about holding a grudge). The first few months were excruciatingly painful. Then anger, sometimes even rage set in. Then regret and remorse. I think at one point I even sought out vengeance (not in a murder type of way…relax lol). I believe we tried to have a decent friendship at around the 1 or 2 year mark and that failed miserably. I wasn’t ready. It felt forced. I could still recite in the back of my head all the horrible things that were said during our time. It was clear  that my mind and heart had not healed. I could not forgive the pain this person had caused me. Not just yet.

But then, not too long ago, I tippy-toed my way in. How would I react if I saw this person again? Would I be able to hold a conversation? Would I get angry? So I reached out (out of pure curiosity and concern) and it was the most peaceful and beautiful feeling I had ever felt in my heart.  I knew I had finally forgiven this person. I saw that part of my life as a lesson learned. Something in the past. Something that I finally let go of but at the same time, something I was able to make peace with, not only with this individual, but with myself. And we laughed, and we caught up and talked about our families, life, jobs, etc.

Wait a minute …could it be? Is it? Yasssss! Forgiveness had finally arrived and I was totally here for it! I was present!

The process of forgiveness wasn’t pretty for me. Not one bit. I don’t think it really is easy for anyone.  But everything in life is a process. YOUR process and not anyone else’s. A process that takes time. Essentially, time was the only thing that could possibly dictate forgiveness in my case. It could be something else in your case.

Forgiveness looks different for everyone. Sure the definition will always remain the same, but the process never is. And THAT, that’s the thing about forgiveness.

Here’s what I want you to take away:

  1. Forgiveness is a choice.
  2. Forgiveness is a PROCESS or a journey that takes time. It could be a little time, or it could be a long, long time.
  3. You will continue to live if you choose not to forgive. I promise you.
  4. Forgive when YOU are ready to do so. Go through the motions that YOU need to for YOU, but never be persuaded into making the choice of WHEN that happens for you.
  5. Last thing I want to share is a little suggestion, kind of an exercise you can practice moving forward: Focus on love — loving yourself and loving those who are deserving of your love. Try making decisions out of love rather than fear. This will open yourself up to abundance, love and eventually will clear the path to the road of forgiveness.

Leave me your comments and thoughts. You know I love engaging in discussions.

*Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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