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How to Forgive Unforgivable

Updated on September 28, 2018
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.

A Hug Is Worth a Thousand Words
A Hug Is Worth a Thousand Words

So Hard to Say Good-Bye

It seems to be one of those givens in life, when even a lousy fortune-teller can't ever go wrong by predicting that, sooner or later, someone we love will hurt our feelings. If that was not so, many of those musical hits talking about unanswered or betrayed love would have never made it to the top.

As it usually happens, time takes care of most of those hurts to heal, with just a memory left of something that is not to be repeated --- so love moves on.

However, there are those hurts which at very onset carry with them an oath --- "never to forgive". Does it really have to be the end of it? For, sometimes we just don't know the way out of that oath, while there is a secret wish to discover it.

Maybe in the name of all those good times with happy memories competing with that hurt in our judging heart. Those ones which somehow just don't fit into the coffin where we buried that love, with our oath of "never-to-forgive" providing all the nails.

Then, maybe there has all along been a nagging little doubt about a possible trace of our own contribution to that outcome. Or, how about a tiny doubt about our possible overreacting?

Well, a heart of a good person can never contain enough poison for which it wouldn't have an antidote; so, like a few songs have already said it before me: "Damn it, it's hard to say good-bye"--- that "damn it" being added by many of those listening to such song.

Let No One Claim Their Perfection

Now, let's get to that very core of your hurt by thinking of that person in question. Since I don't know the gender, I'll be using the pronoun "they" to make it simple.

As you think about them, try for a moment to strip them of their social image, their "front", and imagine them as just another imperfect human being, something like yourself, just in their own style of being imperfect. At this point it will help to be O.K. with the notion that our mistakes are not any more dignifying than those of other people --- just because they are "ours".

So, maybe we never betrayed anyone's faith in us; never let anyone down; never went tactless and inconsiderate towards anyone; never lied about ourselves to make a good impression. Well, if you happen to be one of those --- congratulations, your kind of mistakes are so well undefinable that I could not think of them in this list.

But, let me try your memory again with another question or two. And please, don't think where I am going with all this, because I am on your side, just bear with me. You don't even have to tell me, but tell yourself if anybody ever had to forgive you? Besides, are we humans sure that there will never come a time that we may hurt someone's feelings --- even unintentionally?

I can't guarantee anything like that, judging by my never written autobiography in which a little chapter could be reserved solely for my mistakes --- some of them costing other humans, even animals some hurts. And if you asked me, I consider myself to be quite loving, considerate, compassionate, and tolerant dude. People simply make mistakes in relating to others because they are not perfect --- just like ourselves.

Some Images Are Reducing Us
Some Images Are Reducing Us

Never Met a Saint --- Including in a Mirror

Thus, welcome to the human race, my unknown imperfect friend. While you may, or may not be slowly mobilizing a willingness to mellow down over that old oath taken "never-to-forgive", perhaps you at least started second-guessing the whole sense of it. I am not a psychic, but I have a feeling that you wouldn't stick to your dark oath merely out of stubbornness.

You know and I know how stubbornness is a cheap surrogate for integrity. After all, why would you be attracted to the title of this article if you just planned to play a stubborn, stiff lip game of righteousness. You know what I mean?

Every time we talk about other people's mistakes, we sound like we hold a degree in morality; not to mention those who are speaking from a pedestal of an ordained saint. Our expertise in these matters seems to be exceeded only by the intensity of our hurt.

But, while we are so readily mobilizing our excuses for all our past and future mistakes, why not try to find similar excuses --- mainly those based on imperfection --- for those other sinners? Again, what makes their mistakes bigger than ours? Thus, why not chill out a little over that person in question and that incident which made the two of you drift apart?

"Having" a Person only Makes Sense as much as Umbilical Cord Makes It True
"Having" a Person only Makes Sense as much as Umbilical Cord Makes It True

Some Lessons to Be Learned

If you are even remotely considering to break the silence, how would you go about it? Again, not knowing specifics, I can't be specific either; however, some guidelines may generally come handy. The most important part in this readiness to upgrade the renewed relationship is in having learned a valuable lesson of "how not to be".

First, proceeding with caution and a limited trust is not a part of that lesson. You just have to revise your values and put that matter of trust aside. Namely, we should basically stay clear of situations in which trust could be tested. Like gossiping, or saying things "just-between-us".

In romantic relationships we never have a "life warranty" on our partner, and neither should we treat them as possessions, which we "bought with our best intentions and trust". My wife and I have been happily married for 54 years (and "happily" is not said just symbolically); and not for a moment have I treated her as "something mine". She is her own person, and she is with me only because she wants to, not because she promised so in front of that city hall official, by saying that "yes, I do".

Indeed, we don't "possess" anybody, not a lover, spouse, friend, not even our kids --- although we may call them "ours" for all practical and sometimes legal purposes. It's a sign of insecurity to tie a person by a "solemn promise" to ourselves. They are more likely to stay loyal to us if we are not constantly seeking proofs of their loyalty.

Love Doesn't Need Explanations
Love Doesn't Need Explanations

Genuine Love Eradicates a Need to Forgive

Indeed, at any time, due to their being only fallible humans or a hasty misjudgment they may hurt our emotions, and it doesn't make them necessarily mean, evil, selfish, or whatever from that bunch of words. Thus, if you want your sweetheart or friend back, you might as well revise those "contract" matters, or what your relationship is obligating the two of you to display in the name of this or that ideal so unattainable by humans.

No matter how you choose to go about it, don't forget that you love that person, so you don't want to restart your relationship by first "clearing the guilt". Trust me on that one --- it's a big no-no. Your first words might as well follow a smile with a simple compliment: "Hi, you are looking great."

And if they start with anything along those lines of "clearing the guilt" --- interrupt gently, and change the subject. There is nothing on your part that will forge your future relationship like this "being a bigger man", by not disturbing the crap, and by showing that you are ready to move on in the name of whatever the two of you ever had going.

You don't want to go backward in relationship, by sweeping your footprints that led to where you are now --- but by looking forward into what new chemistry you are capable of creating. Keep loving that person knowing that love doesn't sit well on fundaments of excuses, forgiveness, let alone making the other person walk around us on eggshells "not to hurt us again". That wouldn't be love, but a sick revenge.

So, give a new definition to your love for that person and then just about anything will work for you --- once that love doesn't mean a strategy of interacting but a spontaneous and genuine willingness to make the most of it. Some people are hard to replace in life, and we should cherish those we have, while never forgetting one life truism: that imperfect beings just cannot create a perfect love.

Then it becomes so much easier to junk that word "forgiveness", let alone "unforgivable".


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    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      24 months ago from Canada

      Gilbert - You probably like keeping in touch with everybody - otherwise you wouldn't be doing it. You know the old saying: "We are only as alive as we are alive in hearts of others", so I guess, it must feel quite rewarding to maintain multiple contacts with people.

      I love people in general, but I am not active at any social media. I tend to go a little picky, so I just keep a few friends with whom I have a spontaneous good chemistry. However, they are slowly growing in number since I started writing at Hub Pages.

      You know how it goes - although we are merely "cyber-friends", I intuitively feel that we could make good friends if we happened to live in the same building, and after a chat in the laundry room or at the parking lot.

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      24 months ago from Canada

      MsDora - Always my pleasure to find something of interest for a fine lady like yourself.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      24 months ago from The Caribbean

      "Stubbornness is a cheap surrogate for integrity." Interesting. Thanks for sharing your wise perspectives on this topic.

    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 

      24 months ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      The only thing I feel I need to ask forgiveness for is keeping in touch with everybody. In this busy world with so much social media and running around it's a very difficult thing to do. But I don't feel at odds with people I'm able to communicate with. Like you, Val, I seem to get along with most people. But like you say, our situations, and our behavior isn't perfect.

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      24 months ago from Canada

      Lela - Any persisting negative emotion seems hard to get rid of ---but only for as long as we are identifying with what we feel. You are not your feelings, you are the one that produces them. When that sits well in your mind, everything about emoting becomes a different ball game, and you are on your way of self-liberation.

      So, it's all a matter of detaching ourselves from some emotional material which is really a product of nerves and endocrine glands. It's also a matter of emotional maturity, because kids "are" what they feel, and to them feelings mean themselves. That's why you may hear a lot from emotionally immature grownups something like: "I like", I "hate", "I prefer", "I can't stand", "I want", "I don't want".

      Also -- pertaining to the hub --- you hear a lot "I will always", and "I will never", because they are locked in their subconscious programs which operate on "always" and "never", not allowing any improvising in life, any flexibility. Such folks usually talk about their "principles".

      Well, all in all, getting rid of self-blame is not as hard as it first seems to be, but it is attached to the general model of our seeing ourselves in relation to what we feel.

    • Austinstar profile image


      24 months ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      The bigger problem is forgiving yourself first. If you cannot forgive youself, there is little point in trying to forgive others. When you are wronged, you will feel victimized, you will hate yourself sometimes more than you hate the person who wronged you.

      You must learn to forgive yourself for feelings you cannot control. It is a very hard thing to do.

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      24 months ago from Canada

      hjohn 1024 - You got it right.

    • hjohn1024 profile image


      24 months ago

      My first reaction to this question would be "there is no unforgivable." We should always be mindful of the fact that forgiveness is of greater benefit to the offended than to the offender.

      When we deem something as unforgivable we are actually trapping ourselves into a state of constant mental anguish. Instead we can assess the situation and reassure ourselves that the present hurt or emotional trauma will not last forever. Seek emotional help if needed.

      Forgiving is not simply an act of overlooking or even trying to forget about the offense. It calls for genuine self love and the understanding that an act carried out by another person should not be great enough to cause us to sacrifice our own happiness by adorning ourselves in the garb of unforgiveness.

      Forgiving is never an easy thing to do. This is as a result of our own ego standing in the way. However, once the ego is bypassed and the forgiving occurs the results are always more rewarding.

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      24 months ago from Canada

      Lela - I may see the movie you are suggesting; however, beating on ourselves is totally irrational and a sort of a psychological suicide in installments.

      Of course, there are many ways we can switch into a pathological mode of functioning, and I hope the movie you mention may serve as a mirror to those who are forgetting, or may not even know, that we are not our emotions -- we make them, and whatever mind does, mind can undo.

      It's tragic when people hold onto a grudge not realizing that they are allowing something of their own make to ruin their chance of a (relative) happiness. And, as you said it in your ending words - "Life goes on".

    • Austinstar profile image


      24 months ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      I would love to see your reaction to the new movie, Manchester by the Sea with Casey Affleck. It represents some things we can never forgive ourselves for doing or being.

      Life goes on....


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