The Art of Forgiveness

The Weak can never Forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the Strong.

– Mahatma Gandhi

I have never been someone who has been able to easily forgive. I tend to hold onto things until I’m ready to burst. It’s how I grew up as a kid. In my family held onto things–even if it hurt us. However, as I have stepped into my Womanhood, a part of me realizes that this is not healthy. So I have learned to let things go. Or have I? I have always been a great communicator on paper, but when it comes to verbal communication….I tend to struggle. I have never truly mastered the craft of confrontation. And if I’m being honest, I rarely give people second chances. I have lived my life believing that if I tell someone how I feel, they will remember and honor that. That they would do their best not to do the thing that I told them several times has hurt me before. But that’s not real life. People don’t learn that way. We can’t always expect people to act the way that we would–everyone is different.

Because of certain events in my past, I always seem to hold onto how people make me feel. Whether that be good, bad, or otherwise. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but more often than not, it results in me alienating the people close to me. Strength is a lot of things, and sometimes that means admitting your shortcomings. But that also means forgiving yourself for those shortcomings. As humans, I think we struggle with the concept of forgiveness. True Forgiveness. The majority of the time we tell ourselves that we forgive someone but we still hold onto what hurt us. Forgiveness does not have to mean that you forget about what someone did to cause you pain. Forgiveness means that we accept someone for who they are, how they see things, and that we accept what they did or didn’t do that caused us harm.

Forgiveness is for you–not the other person. Forgiveness is to serve the purpose of your own personal growth. It is harder to move forward in your own personal journey when you allow the past to control your present and future actions in a negative way. In other words, Forgiveness is about moving on and letting go of negative energy. Forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation. Sometimes Forgiveness means walking away from relationships with others that no longer foster your personal growth. Sometimes it means staring in the face of your abuser and demanding your power back. Sometimes it means allowing ourselves to be human and accept the fact that we are not perfect. I’m not a superhero–but I pretend to be–and sometimes it gets to be a lot. I forget things often and it makes me angry with myself, but in reality–I can’t do everything and save everyone at the same time.

I’ve spent a lot of time self-reflecting over the last few years and what I have learned is that we are too hard on ourselves and others. Our expectation of how we should carry ourselves may not be someone else’s reality. People can only do what they know and they will treat you based on what you allow. I think I am finally understanding that my definition of loyalty is not the same as someone else’s and that I can’t expect other people to act according to how I would in certain situations.  

I’ve given up on friendships and distanced myself from family members because they did the thing I told them would hurt me. I’ve given up on parts of myself because I didn’t believe in me enough. I didn’t believe that I could conquer whatever demon I faced. Or maybe I let grief or anxiety consume me. Maybe I felt too much at the wrong time. But there has to be a point where I have to be honest with myself and recognize that I may not be perfect, but I am Strong. I also need to recognize that other people aren’t perfect, either. And maybe sometimes it’s okay to give people second chances.