That topic is a lot more complex than a lot of people make it out to be. There are a lot of different emotions that go into forgiveness, and they can be confusing and overwhelming.
One of my personal favorite coping mechanisms is to avoid the idea of forgiveness. When someone wrongs me, I move on and pretend that everything is fine. That gives me an excuse to push aside the way that I’m feeling and not deal with any of the emotions that their action or words caused.
Disclaimer: Don’t do this. It’s not fun.
But, that’s the way that I have typically lived my life. I’ve been trying to force myself to get better, but I am non-confrontational, and the idea of telling someone how they made me feel causes me extreme duress. This is ironic because I have a good handful of people in my life that I need to forgive. They’re people that have wronged me so deeply, and yet my natural inclination is to pretend everything is fine and dandy.
I’ve come a long way when it comes to forgiveness, but there are still some that I am still working on forgiving.
My dad, who was absent throughout my entire life and constantly chose drugs and alcohol over me. His sickness killed him, and he left me before we even had a chance to rebuild our relationship. This left me resentful and bitter but also sad — which, as you can imagine, is a confusing mixture of emotions for a teenage girl to have to process.
My abuser, who destroyed my perception of love and relationships and sent me into an unhealthy spiral with men. I am finally at a good place in my healing process, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to forgive a man that took away my innocence and my idea of pure love.
Myself. I can’t forgive myself for allowing those people to hurt me. Their actions are their fault, but my response to their reactions is something that I feel like I should be able to control. No matter what someone does to me, I feel like I should just move on and get over it.
I have been working on finding a balance between giving grace and holding people accountable. I also need to find the balance between giving myself grace and holding myself accountable. My tendency is to constantly give everyone else grace while beating myself up mentally over every little failure.
I would assume not a lot of people have perfected that. If you have, then congratulations. If you haven’t, then just know that you’re not alone. This is something I consciously struggle with every day. I have been moving forward in increments, but there have been setbacks, just as there are with almost anything in life.
I know I’m probably in no position to be giving advice, but there are a couple of tidbits I’ve learned in therapy that I can pass along.
1. Surround yourself with good people. My best friends and my boyfriend are always there for me, encouraging me when I need it and telling me to take a break when I need it.
2. Do something for yourself every once in a while. The world won’t stop turning if you take a night to prioritize your mental health. Take yourself out to a nice dinner or watch your favorite movie.
3. Let yourself feel how you feel. Don’t try to cover up your emotions and push them down; let yourself feel them, and don’t feel guilty about feeling them.
You are worthy. You are loved. Keep telling yourself those facts, and one day, you might eventually believe it and see it for yourself.