Forgiveness is a whole lot harder than you would think. Forgiving and forgetting is even harder. When we are wounded by someone, it’s hurtful. Once we get over the hurt, we get angry. At this point, it’s really easy to slide into a sludge of resentfulness, self-pity, and righteous anger—and stay there.
It’s easy to hold a grudge because essentially we believe that we have been wronged, and how could that person say or do what they did to us? How do we forgive someone who has hurt us deeply?
It’s not easy, and it takes time. It means calling on our better angels to weigh what matters and what doesn’t. There are many I’ve known who will say, “I can forgive, but I can’t forget.” This is actually pretty common. Even when we don’t say these words, it’s hard to forgive—and forget.
I find that, the older I get, it’s just is a waste of time to not forgive. It creates a burden I don’t want or need, and righteous indignation only lasts so long. Case in point: my first marriage was a disaster. These days I fully recognize that I was every bit at fault as my ex-husband was. I used to hope that bad things would happen to him; thinking this way only made my anger and resentment worse.
Someone once said that hating someone is like drinking poison and hoping that it will kill the hated person. Hatred is a pretty corresive thing, and it can, given enough time, eat you alive. Who needs that?
These days when I think of my ex-husband, I see him as he really was: a fallible person, just like most of us. These days I wish for peace for him and hope that he has found a way to live that works for him. It’s been said that, once you have absolutely no feelings for someone who has hurt you, it’s over. Just like that; it’s over.
Forgiveness can set us free to live the kind of life we want and need. Forgiveness may be the hardest thing we’ve ever done, but it’s worth it. Forgiveness sets us free.
And let me end with this, just so you don’t think I’m some kind of saint who forgives and forgets all the time: karma is a bitch.