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Forgiving - Forgetting, the Same Thing?

Updated on November 28, 2012
When others let you down, the butterfly shows us the way!
When others let you down, the butterfly shows us the way!

Many have heard the phrase "Forgive and Forget." Good solution? Hard solution?

What we really want to know, is how to move forward. Forgetting something that hurts on a consistent and daily basis is NOT EASY folks. Nope! Not easy!

First of all why in the world would you want to forgive someone who has dedicated their life to making you miserable and painful? Do they need your forgiveness? Is it easy to just forgive and forget? No it is not.

My beloved did not let go of things easily. He would say he had forgiven someone and then turn around and bring up what that person has done to his family or friends. To me, this is not forgiveness. He says, "Sure it is. I forgive them, I simply cannot forget."

We have disagreed on this matter for years. I always believed that once you forgive someone you automatically started forgetting about the "offense." I, for the most part found it easy to forget, as I thought that there was nothing that could not be forgiven."

Automatically I forget.

I have found out that it is not a virtue, but a flaw, that I forget so much. (you may smile at that - I did). I taught myself many years ago (in my youth) that to forget what you see and hear that makes you sad, it is better to forget. It had nothing to do with forgiveness. I was too young in the beginning to know about forgiving.

So I went on my merry way for decades having to be reminded of how so & so had treated me. I just did not want the stress of remembering. Actually I still don't. However living in a deluded world can be dangerous to the supposedly adult human.

I never really believed that until...

Well it happened...someone broke my heart; completely and excruciatingly painfully. I thought that it would never heal. Never, never, ever!

Until that moment I had not a clue as to what a broken heart might be like. Let me assure you is the most physically painful thing I have ever endured. Yes, I mean that... even more painful than the most painful childbirth you can imagine.

A broken heart sneaks up on you before you even realize it. When you do recognize it has happened to you, finding a cure is really outside yourself; even though you go through all of the ways you must have contributed to this horrid condition.

You spend an enormous amount of time beating yourself up and blaming yourself for the situation you have NO control over.

Once I realized that I had spent all of the time I possibly could to make things right, to no avail, I had to accept that I must let it go. "Let it go." Whew, that was not about to happen.

On further examination I realized I had to forgive not only the person who was being so unkind to me, but I had to forgive myself as well. It did not matter that I did not know what I had done (still don't), nor what the other person was thinking. It simply no longer mattered. My life was being destroyed. THAT was in my power to change. So I set about learning how to forgive myself.

I now had a positive road to tread. How in the world do you forgive someone who has caused you so much pain? Well, you just do! Yet, until you forgive yourself, even if you don't know what you did to cause them so much pain.

I needed a strong ally - I turned to prayer. I asked God (you may call this "the universe" - I call it God). I begged, I pleaded for help; It did not happen overnight. I prayed daily, hourly sometimes, more often - continually.

I don't actually know how long it took, I only know that one day I woke up with the peace that passes understanding and it felt great! From that moment on I began living again, really living.

One day, not so long ago, I was in a position to see that person that had me causing myself so much pain. At first I was nervous, then I reminded myself that what ever had happened was in the past and I was only living for today and forward. With that attitude I was able to face him without fear or nervousness. He hugged me and in short "It was Over."

I can not tell you how it feels to have a broken heart mended. I can only tell you that it was complete mental and physical relief.

So, can we always forgive and forget? No... but we can always forgive and the person we need to forgive first is ourselves; even if we do not know what we have done. It is the start of a beautiful path.

A new life. From a caterpillar to a butterfly!


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