Archive for June, 2020
I don’t need to forgive. I have put the person out of my life. I have moved on. That person can have a miserable life now as far as I am concerned. In fact, this person would deserve misery. I don’t really have a question, just this statement that one simply can move on without forgiving.
Thank you for your note. While “moving on” certainly is possible when the injustice is not serious, I have found that people have a very hard time “just moving on” when deeply hurt by others. In your case, may I challenge you a bit? I do not think that you are “moving on” without resentment in your heart toward the person. I say this because of your statement, “In fact, this person would deserve misery.” This suggests to me that you still are angry. This kind of anger can stay with a person for a very long time. “Moving on” is not a cure for such anger. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is a cure for it. If and when you are ready to consider forgiveness in this case, your forgiving the person may help you reduce this feeling of resentment.
For additional information, see The Personal, Global, and Cosmic Perspectives.
With all of this talk about forgiveness, I think that forgiveness occurs mostly because of peer or family pressure. It is not actually a choice, as you say. How can I avoid this pressure?
The first step is to realize that others may be creating this expectation for you, as you are obviously aware. A second step is to realize that most people do not necessarily mean to put pressure on you to forgive. As a third step, if people do put pressure on you to forgive, please realize that they have your best interest at heart but may not be going about it in a way that is helpful for you. When pressured, please realize that to forgive can take time and you cannot always respond positively and quickly to those who have hurt you.
For additional information, see 8 Reasons to Forgive.
The answer depends on: a) how deeply the person was hurt; b) how much prior practice in forgiving the person has had; and c) how clearly the person understands what forgiveness is. From my experience, children for the most part (certainly not always) have lesser injustices against them than adults have. In this case, children find it easier to forgive. Yet, some adults have contemplated what forgiveness is, have willingly practiced it, and now are ready to offer forgiveness again when hurt. In this case, the adults may find it easier to forgive.
For additional information, see Your Kids Are Smarter Than You Think.
Don’t you think that forgiveness can be dangerous? After all, it asks so much of the victims, who already are hurt by the unfairness experienced. Why should victims now have to do all the work?
If someone breaks your leg, is it inappropriate for you, the victim, to go to the emergency room, endure surgery, and struggle with the physical rehab? It is the same with forgiving. If someone breaks your heart it is reasonable to do the emotional heart surgery that is forgiving.
For additional information, see Forgiveness Defined.
You certainly can forgive two or more people if both were involved in the one incident in which there was injustice toward you. If the two people hurt you in two entirely different situations, then you could forgive each one separately, one at a time. You also can forgive a group of people if this group was unjust to you. Groups as a whole can engage in unjust actions and so your forgiving the entire group, even though more abstract than forgiving one person at a time, is reasonable to do, if you so choose.
For additional information, see Learning to Forgive Others.