Forgiveness is hard, there’s no doubt about it. It’s easy to say that you forgive someone, but to actually mean it is a completely different story. What does it mean to forgive someone? Forgiving someone means that you no longer harbor any negative emotions such as anger, resentment, aggression or vengeance towards someone or something. When you forgive, does that necessarily mean that you have to let it go? In a way, yes. You can’t hold on to it like a grudge because that means you never forgave in the first place. Some people hold on to the event as a way to remind them about a lesson they learned.
I’ve had to learn how to forgive many people over the course of my life and it’s never been easy. Having to forgive over big or small things, it doesn’t matter, it’s still never easy. However, there is one person I can’t seem to completely forgive, and one person I can’t seem to forgive at all.
After my parents divorced, I tried so hard to hold on to my relationship with my father. It was not easy. I didn’t want to hate him like my sister because he was my dad and of course I always help on to the hope that one day my parents would get back together. For years, things with him were fine. After a while he started pulling these disappearing acts on us. He stopped answering our phone calls, wouldn’t return any messages…it was as if he just dropped off the face of the earth. However, because I loved him so much as was not about to give up hope that he loved me too, I kept trying for years to reach him. Calling him, texting him, doing whatever I could think of to try to reach him despite knowing deep down that he wasn’t going to answer or respond. Years and years later, I was old enough and we finally reconnected and caught up. Though on the surface I was so happy to have him back in my life again, there was a part of me deep inside that was so angry at him for so many things. He missed so much in my life, things that were very important to me. I blamed him for a lot of things; some things made sense, others not so much looking back at it now, but I wanted to be mad at him so I had to come up with whatever I could. He and I talked on several occasions, coming clean about feelings and such, but each time never felt like it was enough. No matter what explanation he would give me, I just felt like it wasn’t enough to make up for what he did. We must’ve had the conversation 4 or 5 times. To this day, despite us having a good relationship, there is a part of me that still can’t forgive him for leaving us all those years ago. I know with my son coming it’s going to bring up some more issues for me because I don’t want my son to go through what I went through; I want my son to have a family. As an adult, I realized that sometimes things just don’t work out no matter how hard you try or want them to, but the inner kid in me still holds on to that pain and hurt. Hopefully one day I will be able to fully move on from my past so I can fully enjoy having my dad back in my life.
This is my old man. I don’t have any pictures of us together (guess I’ll have to eventually get one). My dad is so cool and smooth, it’s hard to be mad at him for the things he did and said in the past, but unfortunately I can’t get rid of these memories no matter how hard I work on it. I love my dad, always have and always will (though it was hard to admit that at one point in my life).
We are our own worst critic, and that is why the person I can’t seem to forgive is myself. Why can’t I forgive myself? Oh boy, there are so many reasons. I’ve made so many mistakes over the years, too many to count. Though not all of them major, they were all major to me because of this idea I created about myself based on what others said about me. I was supposed to be the perfect, golden child. Kind of tough to live up to, right? Well it was. Of course any normal person would crack under pressure like that, and crack I did…like Humpty Dumpty when he fell off of that wall (but unlike Humpty, I’m working on putting myself back together again). I cracked hard…big time…many times. I cracked so much I eventually broke, but not to the point of being beyond repair (though I came close several times). I blame myself for things that I know for a fact aren’t even my fault. I blame myself for things I literally had no control over. Why? That’s just my personality I guess. Of course I have things that I actually did that I can’t let go of. My subconscious beats me over the head with my past all the time. There are times when I think I have finally gotten over something and BOOM, my subconscious will bring it up in a dream or even while I’m awake. I’ve tried many different therapy techniques to help me forgive and forget, but nothing has truly helped. For a while part of me thought it was because I didn’t want to forgive and forget; that I wanted to hold on to all of this misery and pain because without out, who would I be? I quickly learned that that wasn’t the case. I’m done being miserable and holding on to all of this pain. I truly want to let it go, but no matter what I’ve tried I can’t.
I’m sure you expected me to talk about some other people in this post. Believe it or not, I have forgiven them. It took some time, but I have forgiven everyone who has done anything wrong to me. Some times I can’t forget simply because of the damage it caused me physically or emotionally, but I have forgiven.
Who do you need to forgive in your life? Why haven’t you forgave them yet? Life is too short to hold on to any grudges. To forgive does not mean to forget. You don’t forgive for the other person anyway. You forgive for you…to bring yourself some peace of mind and heart. To forgive is to heal…it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.