Why is forgiveness such a hard thing to do? When we are hurt or betrayed by someone, why does it take so much to forgive them? It seems that maybe the problem is because we are looking at the idea of forgiveness in the wrong way.
How do we look at forgiveness?
Forgiveness is such a hard concept because we don’t want to feel like we are giving the wrong doer a pass. If we say that we forgive the person does that allow them to feel like what they did was ok? If we continue to be angry or hurt or distant from that person, will that make them understand better how we feel about whatever they did to us?
What happens to us when we refuse to forgive?
In not forgiving someone or something, we in turn are injuring ourselves again and again. We are allowing the hurt from that person to continue to sit within us. When we continue to let that hurt linger within us it can cause symptoms of depression and anger management issues, among other things. It can cause us to stop doing things that we love, and we can become withdrawn from those close to us.
How could we look at forgiveness differently?
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word forgive as “to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong): to stop feeling anger about (something)”. By definition forgiveness is about ourselves, not about the person or thing that harmed us. We need to look at forgiveness as a way to erase the hurt from ourselves, a way to move forward. That hurt has the potential to help us grow and become a better version of ourselves. Forgiveness is the first step to that. Without it, the hurt will never transform into something beautiful. Forgive the person not because they deserve to be forgiven but because you deserve to be at peace.