Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and overcomes negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance
Whew, what a definition! I searched through multiple pages to find the definition that best embodies the way I would personally define it. This is by far my favorite topic to date for multiple reasons. One of the reasons being it’s a hot topic, due to the popular mantra forgive and forget. Nonetheless, the main reason being I’m a HUGE advocate on making sure you’re ready to forgive. Where to even begin…
There are levels to forgiveness. Some instances are minor and can be resolved in a matter of minutes to hours. Reconciliation isn’t even a topic of discussion. The situation was that trivial that you didn’t even have to consider possibly severing ties with said individual. Then on the flipside, you have situations that were, or are so egregious that you’re sitting there thinking about how you ever let someone that deliberately out of pocket into your life in the first place. That “out of pocket” person really did some shit, had you messed up in all types of directions, and think that a “sorry,” excuses them from accountability.
That situation or person in conclusion, really did some fucked up shit. There’s no other way to put it. The situation, action, or person had no regards for your feelings or well-being. As a consequence, you endured some level of internal battle trying to figure out whether to forgive and forget, forgive and let them back in your life, or ignore the situation entirely and act like nothing happened ;on some out of sight, out of mind type philosophy. I don’t know if y’all have ever been in a situation like this, but it really does a number on your energy. It’s needlessly draining! Your well-being deserves that replenishment and forgiveness can provide that.
Forgiveness is a process! The first step is making sure you’re ready. MAKE SURE YOU’RE READY TO FORGIVE. I cannot stress this enough! Reread that again…matter of fact let me just type that again, so you have to read it again. MAKE SURE YOU’RE READY TO FORGIVE. Forgiveness is a blessing! You don’t even realize how heavy of a topic it is until you’ve experienced having to forgive someone who has truly hurt you and you get to experience that ease of heart and mind firsthand. Let’s talk about it!
Forgiveness is a release. You’re allowing yourself to no longer live with resentment, anger, or whatever emotional debt you’ve been paying as a result of another individual’s wrongdoing onto you. Do you truly comprehend how heavy a weight you’re lifting off your shoulders by doing so? It’s a priceless gift to yourself- think of it like a move to any space, collect a few free steps closer to a peace of mind as you pass go card. So when I say make sure you’re ready, it’s because if you release it must be a RELEASE.
As in if you let this person back into your life *case by case scenario* you won’t hold whatever the situation was against them. You’ll move past it, make it a conversation of the past, and leave it there. Even if you don’t let this person back in, it’s beneficial that you still eventually let go and allow yourself to fully immerse in that healing process. Therefore, you need to be ready. A lot of people say they’ve forgiven someone, when in actuality they still hold some type of resentment towards the situation or individual. It’s a disservice to yourself. Why would you lie to your mental and emotional self and say you’re past it if you’re not? So take the time you need. You don’t owe anyone a justification on how you cope with your emotions! *But in that same stride make sure you’re genuinely holding yourself accountable and are moving rationally, not erratically.*
Forgiveness just like healing is not linear! Some days you may think you’ve forgiven someone or a situation and then you see their name or are back in that said environment and it can be triggering. That’s okay too, that just means you need more time, and take it! For some people you can’t ever be in the same vicinity as the person who wronged you, no matter how much time has passed and that is still okay! You can appreciate *or not* the lesson learned and never want to see that teacher again. Even if they don’t know they’ve been forgiven, release yourself from that memory by mentally forgiving the situtation. Some of my most important life lessons were learned from people who are completely irrelevant to my life now.
I know it’s easier said than done. I used to have a hard time forgiving people myself. I’d tread in a pool full of my anger for a very long time and convince myself that my anger towards that person/situation was valid, necessary, and somehow beneficial to my forgiveness process. All three are true! Your initial reaction is valid, necessary, and beneficial to the forgiveness process. The problem is, it shouldn’t be a tread…it should be more of a toe-dip, testing the waters type of emotional swim. Acknowledge that initial reaction, give it some attention *sigh, our emotional side is such an attention seeker,*and then let it go. The day I realized that by not forgiving someone, I was the one suffering…it no longer became a difficult thing to do.
What are some benefits of forgiveness? Well for starters forgiveness can lead to
- Healthier relationships
- Improved mental health
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce depression system
and so much more internal levels of peace (more info here)! It’s a release so free yourself!!
If you’re the individual who did the wrongdoing and the other individual doesn’t want to forgive you. That’s okay, but you need to eventually forgive yourself! If you can honestly say to yourself you’ve done everything you reasonably can to remedy the situation and were genuine in your efforts…the same logic applies! Forgiving yourself benefits you, you’re letting go of the emotional guilt you’ve burried yourself in…over a mistake at that ! However, to back track, if the other individual doesn’t want to forgive you and you care about that bond, make sure you apologized correctly.
An apology is a regretful acknowledgement of an offense or failure. You acknowledge your wrong doing and that’s it! It shouldn’t be followed up with a “but,” or any type of finger pointing. You shouldn’t ask for an apology back, you shouldn’t tell them how they provoked you, or whatever else you want to do if it doesn’t fall under the umbrella of accountability.
Incorrect: “You were doing the most and I didn’t know how else to get you to stop talking. I’m sorry my words made you feel some type of way but if you would’ve just heard me out in the first place none of this would’ve happened.”
There’s soooo much wrong with this. From assuming the other person’s emotion, to indirectly blaming them for your reaction and completely discrediting the apology by using “but.” This is a great example on how NOT to apologize.
Correct: “I’m sorry I called you out of your name. I acted out of character and it was rude and wrong of me to do so. I had no intentions of hurting your feelings and will think before I speak if we ever find ourselves in a situation like this again. I truly hope you understand and accept my apology.”
Solely only express YOUR offense. Only acknowledge YOUR action/reaction. Express YOUR sincere regrets and how you will assure it won’t happen again, and if the other individual feels they should apologize too, then thats on them. Don’t apologize to receive an apology back. Apologize because you were honestly displeased with how you acted or with what you said or did to the other individual.
*As a disclaimer a correct apology doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed forgiveness. But it’s worth a shot!*
You know who you are and what you need to do-release yourself, free yourself, reach out and apologize to that person you hurt…why? Because that’s #WhatChiSaid! See you next week! Don’t forget to subscribe below!
~These are just my thoughts and opinions
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~Comments and/or feedback always welcomed!