Can You Forgive If You Can’t Forget?
People have commented to me many times about how patient I am with others. I’ve also have, friends, family coworkers and, heck even customer’s ask a few times a week why I smile so much. They me ask what get’s me through the day to be able smile so much. I sort of touched an aspect of that a few days ago with my entry “Keep it Simple Stupid“. I explained that while I’m not a religious person (I don’t believe in God) love is a belief I can jump on board with. But love is a very broad topic. Part of love is being able to open your heart enough to forgive. Or as a great quote I read,
“Altruism, compassion, and forgiveness may be healing for both the giver and the recipient because giving to others with an open heart helps heal the isolation and loneliness that separate us from each other. When we forgive others, it doesn’t excuse their actions; it frees us from our own stress and suffering. These allow for deep levels of intimacy and community that are powerfully healing. When you meet hatred with love, and fear with hope, this transforms you, as well as those around you.”- Marianne Williamson
And love just feels good. Forgiving feels good. Remembering that other people’s flawed tendencies reminds me that they (like me) are human. Other people are stubborn, other people have bad days, other people are rude and sometimes other people are just plain selfish at times. These are behavior’s I can forgive because they are human. Yes, it bother’s me when I’m constantly interrupted or when people make me feel like my point of view isn’t right. But instead of getting mad at them, I take into account of the factors. Are they just normally overly dominate of a conversation or are they just in the heat of the moment excited? Am I making myself being heard or am I letting myself lay by the wayside. And when people insist that their point of view is the correct one I remember this, you can’t argue with a brick. The point is, people have flaws. And so do I. Sometimes I’m the one who interrupts too much and insist that my point of view is the right one. Sometimes I’m the one who doesn’t realize when I’m being rude. And I guess I just want people to forgive and love my flaws too.
But sometimes I’m just not able to practice what I preach and instead I foster a grudge. It doesn’t happen often but when grudges do happen, I can hold onto it for years. Like I said, it rarely get’s to that extreme, but it has. I don’t mean to and sometimes I can’t even remember why I’m holding onto said anger in the first place! All I can remember is just an intensely strong disdain for a particular person. Yes, I realize I’m being silly and yes I realize I’m being stubborn for not being the bigger person and moving on. I wish no ill will towards anyone but sometimes I just get sick and tired of always having to be the bigger person both physically and emotionally. So a grudge will happen.
Most of the time I am a rational person willing to try to see someone else’s perspective. But sometimes I just want to be selfish. When I’m in a rare fight with someone, sometimes it would be nice if the other person make the first attempt at reconciliation instead of me having to be the peace maker. Someone to stretch out their hand (metaphorically) and say, Sarah I’m sorry, let’s work this out.
This whole topic of forgiveness started playing on my mind when someone I have been holding a grudge towards, started simply acting nice to me again. It baffled me and yes, I was a little wary and pessimistic towards such a new-found generosity. Because that sort of behavior just doesn’t happen to me. Only people I ever care about hurt me. It used to be where I let just about anybody in, and I still do to an extent. But if I start to suspect that you aren’t as honest as you appear to be, I slam the door of my heart until I see otherwise.
But back to the topic. The point is, nobody does try to reach out. What happens, when you can see someone actually trying to in their own way reconcile? Do you trust them? Whose to say anything will be different this time around? Especially when the words you want to hear are not spoken and your needs fall short? Do you let this person in their own vain way attempt to woo you? And because you don’t hear the words you need to hear, can you forget the past?
Anytime I’ve ever gotten into a unpassable argument with someone, I always tried my best to just emotionally let go. Sometimes you just can’t win and sometimes you just can’t make someone want to be friends. Those are actions I am familiar with and are able to forgive. Like I know my ex Tony will never want to try to work things out and try to be friends. And even though that hurt more than I care to admit to, I have accepted and forgiven the consequences of that choice of his. I can’t make someone want to care, even if it breaks my heart. So if we were to go off that example, if he were to call and say he wanted to talk, could I forgive him again if I have trouble forgetting our past?
In any fight, there are two sides of a story. And after a while from most arguments, I eventually try to put myself in the shoes of the other person. I ask myself questions. Where was I being unreasonable and how were they? Why do I feel justified in making such accusations and was I right for pointing them out? Was I hitting below the belt? I’m not saying I’m perfect at this logic but I try. It get’s harder because I usually don’t the other person’s perspective so I don’t ever fully know where I hurt them and vice versa. So I try to realize when I’m being a little bit over dramatic, a bit too preachy or when I’ve crossed a line. I try to realize where I’m at fault but where they fall short as well. I feel like a crime scene investigator trying to piece back together a murder with only half of the clues.
And I will over analyze these thoughts, and perceived wrongs for ages until I can let go that they will never be resolved and I will never know what if. So in that aspect, I can let go and forgive the “what if”. I can forgive because like the number of licks to the center of a tootsiepop, we’ll never know. But what happens when someone does come back to try to make things right; in their own actions instead of words? I’m not sure. This is unfamiliar territory for me. Apart of me is wary, wondering what this person’s motives are, if it’s to truly be kind or because they are two faced.
It’s too soon for me to start to make up my mind. It’s in my nature to forgive and in honest truth, I want to reach out my hand in friendship but I’m afraid of being bit again. I’m afraid of my feelings being stomped on again and if I’m being honest here, I resent the fact they never once said that they were sorry. I want to forgive, but I’m having trouble forgetting.