What if there is just that one person that you are not going to be able to forgive in this lifetime? I believe that I can answer this on the grounds that I feel this way right now. Despite all of my work, Journaling, affirmations, prayers, talking, analyzing, olive branch offering to my own detriment, I just don’t think the forgiveness thing is going to work out this go around. And this is in despite all of my writing on forgiveness, preaching, and teaching. I tried. I tried very hard, but I just can’t forgive them and I have to come to realize that it’s ok. For now.
Sometimes it’s just too hard of a burden to bear – trying to release yourself from the mental prison where you reside daily at the hand of someone who probably isn’t even thinking about you. It’s just too hard to fuss and fight your inner demons, the kind that wish that this person feel on the inside the way that you do when you think about them. It’s just too hard to keep wondering if they will ever “get theirs” and if you will be there to see it. However, I pose this question; what separates our actions of withholding forgiveness for someone in punishment, and that of obsession? After all, one of the definitions of obsession is “an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind”.
So everyday, once a day at minimum, the thought of this person pokes it’s self through your mind space. Your disgust and contempt for them continue on despite your life humming along nicely. You think of them even when you know full well that they can do nothing to harm you any further, and that you are, or are nearly living the life of your dreams. Still, it doesn’t stop the anger from boiling up inside of you nearly everyday. You stop just a hair short of hating them however, because you know that no good can come from that and you have seen your fair share of karma to wish ill will. However, it does not escape you that to be completely free from the thought of this person would make the relief that you feel so palpable that you would feel like you are gliding on air because that’s how you were before they did what they did to you. What do you do about that shit? What if I told you that I don’t know. I’m in the same boat that you are.
In unknown instances like this, I like to throw hypothetical equations at myself. What if they walked right up to you right now and apologized for hurting you. Would it be over? If so, would you want a relationship with them? Or is it about your vindication? I asked myself these questions, and I was surprised by my gut responses. It turns out that I would do nothing with the apology. Though it would be nice to have, the lack of one thus far proves to me that I would not have a relationship of any kind with them.
My kind of people are those who work solely from integrity. They take responsibility for themselves and their actions. They will call me on my bullshit, but allow me to call them on theirs…then we talk it out. They care about other people other than themselves. They don’t hold grudges for years. They don’t judge lest not they be judged. They don’t play victim. They love hard. My kind of people are good with flipping up the carpet and dispelling the dirt. They support dreams and don’t get jealous of you when you go after them. They don’t bust balls. They don’t gossip. If they talk about you to other people, it’s to get further insight on what is going on with you so they can help you, not trash your character. The people that I cannot forgive, can’t love anyone but themselves and those that can do something for them. And I have been in and through enough relationships by now to know if any of the above is missing, we can’t have a relationship…at all.
So then, are we still on the hook to forgive people that we know for a certain fact that we want nothing to do with? It is said that withholding forgiveness keeps us a prisioner in the situation. Krishnamurti said that “Without freedom from the past, there is no freedom at all”. No disrespect, but I call bullshit. If being honest with yourself is always the best policy, and you honestly feel that forgiving someone will bring you absolutely no relief, then why continue to force the process? Why not just accept the fact that sometimes we only seek to forgive people so to extinguish the guilt that we have for not forgiving. Maybe the whole “you have to forgive in order to be forgiven” thing has been beat into our heads, but our hearts reject it in some instances for a reason.
In my particular issue, I realize that I only wanted to forgive because I feel that I have to in order to set an example. To live up to my own hype about forgiveness, and what I would advise other people to do in my situation. Also because I do believe that forgiveness is a major component to living a positive life, though not the only componant. Lastly, because my termoil is over relationships that society says that I should have to live a positive and rosey life. But I run my life, not society. The truth really is that I don’t want to forgive. Atleast not now. And even if I were to, I don’t really want these few people in my life in any capacity. I don’t believe that any value would be added to my daily whatsoever. In fact, I would be looking over my shoulder the entire time because I don’t, and nor will I ever, trust them. This realization actually brings me more relief than I believe forgiveness ever could. I don’t like them, I don’t want to like them, and guess what, I don’t have to like them. Logically I understand that forgiveness is seperate and not a condition of liking someone, but I am not in the emotional space to make that seperation. And that is ok. For now.
Sometimes, I think it’s best if we don’t work so hard to forgive those who hurt us. Sometimes it really is best just to manage these feelings. Management means you play supervisor to your thoughts over the situation and then direct and re-direct them to your highest benefit. Management also takes the promise to yourself to remove hate as best as a human can. It means never wishing ill will or taking revenge. Keeping civil when and if we have to see them, praying for them as well as for ourselves, and remembering that God works in mysterious ways. We don’t know the future, we don’t know the Divine plan. Whenever we become preoccupied with those that have hurt us, it can be a great comfort to remember that. This is what I am doing anyway. I have given up trying so hard at forgiveness. Forcing anything is never a great idea. Believe me, when I think of these situations, my stomach churns and I want to punch a wall, if not them…and it’s been a few years. This in turn makes me even more mad that I would allow someone to occupy a nurtured and creative space that I take great pride in such as my mind. But suspending self-judgement, all of that is actually part of the management plan. That is the human-ness that I have to allow if I truly love myself. Because that is what it really comes down to, love and respect for oneself, which in turn becomes respect for others, no matter who they are. I’m not going to tell my all knowing heart to do something that it doesn’t want to do. Sometimes it doesn’t want to forgive…and that is ok. For now.
Further reading on the topic: