Many religions teach forgiveness and our media is full of themes that encourage forgiveness yet forgiving another person is one of the hardest things that a person can do. Most blogs and real-life friends will tell you to forgive someone as a way to get over the demons of your past and move on to a brighter future without that person holding you down. But, not all people can be forgiven, not all people should be forgiven, and not all people have the power to forgive.
There’s a point to be made that telling someone to forgive a person they obviously do not want to forgive, can be construed as almost being offensive. Suggestions will be made that paint the person who is unable to forgive as being a person who chooses to focus on negative emotions, grudge-holding, overly self-protecting, and consumed with the idea of some type of future payoff. This way of thinking can end up dismissing the pain that people suffer after a wrongdoing. Some wounds take time to heal and all wounds are not created equal. It is entirely possible that by making it known that you think it is wrong that another person is being forgiving, it can end up shaming them into thinking that something is wrong with them. But, make no mistake, going through the grieving process after a failed relationship is a natural process. There are many things to consider before completely giving up on the feelings of a past relationship and if you have been hurt a few times before it can complicate the situation even further.
At the end of the day, people will forgive people when it is the right time for them to do so and not a moment sooner. All people should aim for forgiveness but should not be discouraged if it is not a feasible path. It may be years before you are emotionally or mentally able to revisit the topic with a clear head and truly make the right decision regarding it so do not rush if you do not have to.
Anger is something that ends up being a common side effect of an ended relationship. Contrary to what many would say, anger is not something that needs to be cast aside and banished to the darkness. It can be used as a valuable tool to protect themselves from falling into the same pitfalls in the future. Anger can help build up a level of self-confidence and stand up for themselves. If you end up pretending to forgive someone due to societal pressure, you may end up forgiving too soon. Forgiving too soon and giving up your anger can actually end up diminishing your self-respect and may have you dating partners that are not very compatible with your personality. If anger is not allowed to be harnessed and expressed in a focused manner, it can get internalized. Internalized anger is very powerful and painful and can lead to a low self-esteem after too much exposure. Initially internalized anger only affects you but after a while, it can start to affect the people around you as you become an irritable person and possibly lash out at them. Internalized anger can also affect your physical health as it has been linked to high blood pressure, heart problems, digestive problems and much more.
One reason why it may be beneficial to hold off on forgiving someone is to make sure that you are protected from the same type of hurt happening again. Forgiving someone too quickly and giving them another chance could result in them continuing to do it without much remorse in the future, as they know that they can get away with it again. If they ask you to forgive, you do not have to. Abusers are known for shifting the blame away from themselves and making the victim feel as if they had some role in causing the harm they received. It is important to remember that you as a victim do not have to play by the rules of the abuser. The same principle applies to those who have an emotional connection the abuser but want you to forgive them for their sake. They do not have your best interests at heart and are again protecting the abuser instead of you.Related: 13 Things You’re Doing that Make People Dislike You
So to reiterate, you should definitely aim to forgive people at some point in your life, but it should come on your own terms. Rushing it can have negative effects on your well being as well as the people around you. Some people may not have the luxury of being forgiven for the pain they caused was too much, but that is okay as the decision is entirely up to you to forgive them, not anyone else.