Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Forgive But Never Forget

Since childhood, I have heard how important it is to forgive and forget, but like most people I do have a problem with following through with it. I am an easy going person, which often gives the impression that I can be taken advantage of, but I am also very observant and have a long memory, and will defend myself when someone tries to cross the line with me. I can forgive those transgressions, even if the other person is unapologetic. I do this by not holding a grudge and just having better manners overall. The forgetting part is something I do not think is necessary or right. Why should I forget the situation if it has taught me a valuable lesson? Forgetting makes it possible for the transgressed to be wronged many more times in the future.

I think this particularly true in abusive relationships; forgiving abusive behavior has to be reciprocated by the permanent end of that behavior through whatever means necessary. I have family and friends who have told me they forgave a significant other or family member for their mental and/or physical abuse, but it almost always re-occurs, and often worse than it was before. As a child and teenager I was often the target of bullies, both in my own family and at school, and have never forgotten what I went through. I believe that is the reason why I am not subject to that behavior as an adult, which I am grateful for. I convey this message to those who are still being victimized; my advice is usually not taken, but I feel good knowing that I have shared my feelings about these particular situations.

What your thoughts on forgiveness? Do you think forgetting the situation is key to the process of letting go?

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