It’s good for you to let go of your anger and forgive, but forgetting isn’t required or even necessarily healthy.
When it comes to long-standing relationships, forgiveness is an integral part of communing, of experiencing deeper intimacy and of showing love (and acceptance.) Without it relationships would not stand and deep bonds cannot be formed.
On the other hand, forgetting can often be close to impossible for many of us as people’s words and actions inherently play repeatedly in our memories like a song stuck on repeat. However, not being able to forget may not be such a bad thing and it certainly does not mean you have not forgiven. Forgiveness in its simplest form is defined as letting go of anger. Forgiving someone does not necessarily involve any of the widely popular markers, such as forgetting, or any of the shoulds and shouldn’ts we often attach to it. Here are two reasons why you should always forgive and never forget:
Self-respect is the basis to healthy relationships. Someone wronging you and insisting that you forgive and forget their offense, allowing them to potentially repeat the offense without a plan in place averting this from occurring again, is not the greatest show of respect. If you cannot respect someone, a relationship with them will be lopsided; stretched too far, too fast in all the wrong places and ultimately will not be a great fit.
Respecting yourself enough to speak up once wronged may seem like it might cause a rift in the relationship but in a scenario where the other person is a healthy, confident person, speaking up for oneself, in an appropriate way, will most likely have the adverse effect and bring you two closer.
Confrontation often breeds closeness. Remember, it is not a crime to protect yourself. Healthy people understand that a confrontation or someone saying “no” to a particular type of treatment is not a rejection of them. A “no” often times is a way of people protecting their own interests as well as themselves. Healthy people understand that it’s not always personal. You can think of a confrontation in these terms as a test of whether the person is someone who will respect your needs, wishes and fears in the long run.
You have to hold your friends, family, peers and colleagues accountable for their actions and inactions. If they gave their word saying that they’d do something for you like take good care of your property and didn’t or that they’d never do something like be unfaithful and they do, you need to hold them accountable.
An effective way of doing so is not by throwing events in their face any chance you get to punish or wound them, instead keeping in mind their track record with a particular subject like paying back money on time and in full, is more effective. The next time they ask to borrow money, regardless of the situation, being hesitant to lend and saying “no,” are appropriate responses to their history with you concerning money. Although you are no longer angry about the time they borrowed $500 and promised to give it back as soon as they got their tax returns but failed to, you have learned that they are not good with returning money to you when they said they would. It is nothing personal. It is the reality of the situation. You have a right to protect your money and yourself. Firmly saying “no” when asked and then calmly reminding them the reason you don’t feel comfortable lending them money is because of them not returning your money in full when they said they would. That is accountability. Not many people like being held accountable for their actions or their promises but it is imperative that you do this, lest you enjoy being walked all over and hurt time and time again.
Don’t get me wrong, keeping score and going tit for tat when it comes to relationships is not what I am disseminating. It is important to develop healthy habits that you exercise through your relationships though, and for you to do your part to increase the peace.
The most important thing to take away from this is to never take love for granted. Never take out your frustrations over the world being an unfair, cold place on the people around you. That is incongruous. The most admirable people to me are those who have been burned badly by love and still find the will to recover and love again. And I think, the only people who deserve them are those who don’t wish to get over on anyone, be misleading or expect more (forgiveness) from someone else than they are willing to give themselves.
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