To Forgive or Not to Forgive

Note: There may be some content in this blog post that may be triggering to others, such as abuse and child sexual abuse. I don't go into grave details into the topics, but it is mentioned.

Hello everyone. Hope everyone had a good mini break from school or work or reality by either enjoying some yummy food, spending time with loved ones, or just getting that extremely needed relaxation. Of course, if any of my readers are not from the United States, then I hope you had a good week in general and enjoyed some part of it.

Now I thought about this topic for a while because of something I did a few days ago. Maybe I'll make a separate blog post about it, but in a nutshell, I confronted my abuser/ex boyfriend, who I haven't spoken to in almost four years, about the pain he's caused me through a private message, to then afterwards block. I highly don't recommend anyone doing what I did, especially if they were in an abusive relationship with the person, but it's something I needed to personally do for myself.

Now you may be asking how forgiveness is tied with that. Well, sit back, relax, and lets talk about forgiveness. So when we think about forgiveness, we think, "that's something you say or do when someone apologizes". Well, yes and no. I went to the Merriam-Webster website to look up the proper definition of forgiveness, and it states that it is a verb which means "to cease to feel resentment against (an offender)". 

Just a moment ago, I stated that forgiveness doesn't have to be given when someone apologizes; forgiveness can be given to someone who has never apologized for their actions as well. Now hear me out. When we forgive someone, as the proper definition states, we're eliminating the feeling of resentment towards the person that hurt us. In a way, forgiveness is not to let what the offender did off the hook, but to allow us to heal from the pain. Now I'm not stating for you, the reader, to forgive just anyone or telling you to do it; there are still some people in my life that I have a challenge to forgive when it comes to childhood trauma or really bad grudges.

I am saying, though, that forgiving people who aren't aware of the pain or never gave the apology needed can be a way of healing yourself. When I first started getting back into church around 2014, I attended this seminar that the church was doing. They do it two or three times a year, and it's a two day event where people learn about stories, pain, and struggles other Christians go through, and what we can do to hear God and live better. Now I'm not making the act of forgiveness a Christian or religious thing, I'm just stating where I first heard of the true act of forgiving.

In this seminar, one of the pages was about forgiveness. An older woman stood in front of us and told us her story about the sexual abuse she experienced from her father when she was little. It was a horrible and traumatic story to hear, but it related very well to the topic of forgiveness. She stated that although her father never apologized to her, she forgave him not because he deserves it, but because she wanted to finally heal.

As I mentioned before, I don't expect you to forgive anyone that has hurt you physically or mentally. Forgiveness is something that many, including myself, struggle to do. The act of forgiveness is to close the book on that pain and be free from it. Some people can forgive a toxic former friend easily, some people maybe have problems forgiving someone, or some people may choose to never forgive someone that has hurt them, and that's ok. Forgiveness shouldn't be forced, but it should be known as an option to heal.

Although I confronted my ex through a private message, during that seminar years ago, I truly did forgive him for what he did to me. Did he deserve my forgiveness? No, but I forgave to release the pain he put on me. By allowing myself to forgive him, without the apology I wanted or needed, I was able to not dwell on the trauma, I was able to live and breathe easily. Also, forgiveness shouldn't be forgiving an abusive or toxic person, but it should allow you to heal by your own hurt. If we were ever toxic to someone or if we made mistake that we dwell on, the power of forgiveness can be amazing for you.

We mustn't be hard on ourselves and allow to forgive ourselves. I know in my last blog post, I spoke about how we can be our own worst enemy, and it's true, but when we hurt ourselves, we should be able to forgive ourselves as well. When we forgive ourselves, we're making amends for the hurt we cause onto ourselves or other, and allowing us to grow as better people. If there's one thing I want you, the reader, to take away from is, it's that forgiveness is more than just "letting go of something when someone apologizes", it's the act of releasing the chain of pain you have towards the person or act, and they may not deserve it, but it's a way to heal and take care of yourself.

*Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash