I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked how I can forgive so easily. Yet the question continues to take me by surprise because of how easy I find it to forgive. And how difficult it is for some people to do the same.
People are not inherently evil. At least not the people I have let into my life. It’s usually not super difficult to separate the superficial, unaltruistic jerkfaces who inevitably come into all our lives, from the trustworthy, good people. We all have at least a faint idea of the ‘hyenas’ out there, and if you are anything like me, you are pretty good at keeping these lovely individuals at a polite distance and not divulging any incriminating information that could be used to ruin lives. The others, we put into our ‘close’ or ‘good’ friend pile, allowing them access to our hearts, and consequently setting ourselves up for heartbreak/betrayal/a metaphorical slap in the face, and so on. I am a pretty strong believer in forgiving these silly beings, no matter how badly they have hurt me.
Why, you ask?
Because if they put you in that same category of friend/lover/spouse/partner/whatever else that you do them, chances are they feel terrible about the whole thing. Chances are it took them an enormous amount of courage to even say anything that they knew would hurt you. Chances are.. they’re just as afraid of losing you as you are them.
Consider this. There’s a couple. They’ve been together for like, 10 years, since high school. They’ve both finished school and are settled in their respective jobs, have cars, maybe their own apartment, whatever. The girl’s friends are all excitedly reminding her that you know, their 10-year anniversary is coming up, and that he’s pretty well positioned in his life to pop the question. A week before the anniversary he tells her he’s leaving her. Maybe it’s for another woman, who he met at work. Maybe it’s for no one. But he’s leaving. She’s furious, hurt, feels betrayed, hollow… Her perfect life has come to a grinding halt. And she hates him. Oh she hates him so much.
Most normal human beings may see just the 10 years she’s given him, the fact that he just up and left for another woman, may chide him for looking for ‘greener pastures’, question his moral compass, and scores of other issues. But do we know the whole story? Rather, do we know his story? Maybe he has been thinking about this for a long time now. Maybe he has been struggling with himself, forcing himself to keep trying for the sake of their love; maybe he can’t even look at himself in the mirror without hating himself for hurting her so much, maybe he doesn’t want to string her along while he is battling his own indecisiveness. Whatever it is, chances are he didn’t just pull a complete 180 and warp into a different person. And chances are he feels like absolute shit about doing this.
I’ve always felt uneasy giving someone too much hell for a mistake or a slipup. Sure, I’ve gotten upset and/or angry, but I haven’t quite mastered the delicate art of holding a gigantic grudge. I just don’t think good people are capable of intentionally hurting me. In fact, I commend their courage to stand up and hurt me in the first place, because I know how difficult it must have been (if it was intentional). J Also, that gross feeling of hating someone that tends to sit at the pit of your stomach 24/7 is just uncomfortable and unnecessary.
It is my humble opinion that forgiveness is an art. You don’t have to go about it the same way as everyone else, it can take any shape or form, and not everyone is a natural at it. But it is possible to master as long as you’re willing to try.