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"Forgive and Forget...Really?"
"Forgive and Forget…Really?"
Many of us have been taught by our parents and Sunday school teachers to forgive and forget because it is the "right" thing to do. A friend borrowed your toy, but never returned it or perhaps destroyed it on purpose, a classmate stealing your project idea, a girlfriend/boyfriend cheating on you or perhaps a wife/husband who wants out of a marriage without any "warning" signs. There are many situations which are beyond our understanding and we ask ourselves, "Why me?" As a result, as humans, it is nearly impossible to forgive and forget.
We all have heard from someone, "You are the only one who is hurting by not letting things go" or "Forget about it…it's in the past!" Perhaps there is something to this, but how do we do it? How can we forgive someone who have caused us so much trouble in our lives and had the audacity to leave us hanging just because they have moved on and we have not? Is it really possible to forgive and forget? If so, how can we attain this? In my humble opinion, I believe that we are not "assembled" this way. We are not "divine and holy" that we can just forgive and forget easily. Also, depending on the personality of the individual, some people might have an easier time to forgive and forget than others. However, more often than not, it takes a very long time to forgive and forget. When someone is wronged by a family or a friend and perhaps a misunderstanding occurs, it is not always easy to pick up where it was left off. I believe that we all go through certain steps before we come into acceptance of forgiving and forgetting, which is similar to a couple undergoing a divorce or a person losing a loved one. The process or steps to forgiving and forgetting are indicated below:
1. Anger-It is normal for people to go through this first step because they are unable to understand what they are experiencing at the moment, whether it is a misunderstanding, a divorce or losing a loved one.
2. Denial-"How can this happen to me?" or "Maybe if I have been a better mother/father/brother/sister/friend this would have been prevented" or "Maybe if I did not allow my child to go to the mall without adult supervision, he/she would be alive today." We all come up with excuses blaming ourselves for the situation with ifs, would haves or could haves, which I believe is an essential part of the process in forgiving and forgetting.
3. Bargaining-"If I do this, it might make me feel better," "If you watch the kids every other weekend, we might be able to come up with an agreeable alimony for the children" or "If you give up drinking, I will give up gambling" or the likes of these are crucial to the process of forgiving someone.
4. Acceptance-When a person has finally decided to accept the situation as it is or making adjustments in their relationships and trying to work things out with one another.
But is it possible for us, humans, to really forgive and forget? In my opinion, we can come up to terms of a situation and accepting it the way it is, but we should never forget that it had happened. With that said, I am not encouraging feelings of resentment at all, which I think can still linger for quite some time, but to focus on the lesson learned. How did it happen? What are the things that we might do differently if the situation occurred today? Could we have prevented it? Why or why not? By asking these questions, we can come up with probable solutions when faced with a similar dilemma in the future. Forgive and forget can be a very complex concept to understand, but we should not beat ourselves up for it and realize that we are only humans and are entitled to our own feelings. By doing so, forgiving and forgetting will be easier to handle and ultimately will be more attainable.
By: Caroline G. Vestuto Copyright 2011