Val is a life-long student of unexplored human potential and many challenges that self-honesty throws at us on that path.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you,
-- Lewis B. Smedes
So Hard to Say Goodbye
It seems to be one of those givens in life when even a lousy fortune teller can't ever go wrong by predicting that, sooner or later, someone we love will hurt our feelings. If that was not so, many of those musical hits telling sad stories about unanswered or betrayed love would have never made it to the top.
As it usually happens, time takes care of the most of those hurts, letting them heal by themselves, while leaving just a memory about something not to be repeated -- and then life just moves on.
However, there are those hurts which at very onset carry with them the seed of a solemn oath "never to forgive".
Now, does it really have to end that way? For, sometimes we just don't know the way out of that oath -- while there is still, even if a trace of a weak will to discover it.
Forgiving has no chance as long as we insist on the same attitude which is suggesting that it's impossible to find forgiveness in our heart.
Maybe in the name of those good times with happy memories competing with that hurt in our judging heart. Those that just don't fit into that coffin where we buried that love with the oath never to forgive providing all the nails.
Then, maybe there has been all along a nagging little doubt about a possible our own contribution to that outcome. That initial unwillingness to se the whole thing from all angles now more and more gives in to a more objective assessment of what led to the behavior causing that hurt.
How about a tiny doubt about our possible overreacting?
Well, a heart of a good person can never contain enough poison for which it wouldn't have an antidote. So, like so many of those musical hits have repeatedly said it:
"It's so hard to say 'goodbye" -- and even harder to mean it.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attitude of the strong.
-- Mahatma Gandhi
May No One Claim Their Perfection
Now, let's get to the very core of your hurt by thinking of that person in question. As you think about them, try for a moment to strip them of their social image, their "front", and imagine them merely as another imperfect human being -- well, something like yourself, but in their own style of being imperfect.
So, maybe we never betrayed anyone's faith in us; never let anyone down; never went tactless ans inconsiderate towards anyone; never lied about ourselves to make a good, albeit, a false impression.
Well, if you happen to be such a person, congratulations, your humanness is so pristine that your only chance of happiness in relationship is to find yourself a perfect partner, or a friend. Please, don'r accuse me of sarcasm, but -- good luck at that search.
Now, let's test your memory again with another question or two. And please, don't think where I am going with it, because I am totally on your side -- just bear with me.
It may bring us a little closer to forgiving if we are O.K. with with the notion that our mistakes are not any more "forgivable" just because they are ours.
It may also help somewhat to ask yourself if back in the past anybody ever had to forgive you. Besides, thinking about the unforeseeable future, can you be absolutely sure that you'll never hurt anyone's feelings -- even if only unintentionally?
Speaking for myself, if I ever wrote my biography, one little chapter could be filled with my mistakes over the last 77 years. Many of them were the stepping stones in the process of my maturity, but other than those hurting me at the time, there were those that involved hurting others' feelings.
And yes, taking care of the stubborn pride, I had my own share of having to forgive -- upon accepting my own imperfections.
Forgiveness is the final form of love.
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
Never Met an Angel -- Including in the Mirror
Thus, welcome to the human race, my unknown, imperfect friend.
While you may, or may not be slowly mobilizing a willingness to mellow down a bit over that oath "never to forgive", perhaps you are at least starting to second-guess the whole sense -- or nonsense -- of it. I am not a psychic, but, since you have come this far with reading, I feel that you wouldn't stick to that oath just out of stubbornness.
You know and I know how stubbornness is a cheap surrogate for integrity. Every time we talk about other people's mistakes, we sound like we hold a degree in morality; not to mention those who are speaking from a pedestal of an ordained saint.
Indeed, our expertise in these matters is only exceeded by intensity of our hurt, which may be a bad adviser.
However, let me insert this little note here -- there certainly are some broken relationships that are beyond repair, but we are not talking about those; rather about our emotional handling of those categories of hurts which a genuine love can heal, once that the pride steps out of the way.
So why not chill out a bit over that issue which made you and the other person drift apart.
For, what's the alternative, indeed? Those perennial phrases tired from overuse are still worth mentioning now and then -- so yes, "life is too short for grudges". Actually, it's too short for any version of a pissed emoting.
Grudges are certainly among those less smart ways to gamble our precious time and energy away.
Thoughts like that will certainly cross my mind many times, as we old geezers are known for making a lot of those "life inventories", with our long term memory shining in comparison to not remembering what we did last week.
Luckily, in my case, there won't be a single person left connected to a grudge. At least, not one that hasn't been resolved with a wholehearted forgiveness.
But then, again, who knows, maybe it's only that the time did it all, as it has that healing powers in all other forms of lousy feelings. Indeed, sometimes we don't even have to "forgive", because it "becomes forgiven" on its own, at times with that feeling that we somehow evolved it away.
Forgiveness is the economy of the heart...forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.
-- Hannah More
Genuine Love Eradicates the Very "Need" to Forgive
If you want your sweetheart, your family member, or friend back in your life, you might as well revise those "contract" matters, or what your relationship is "obligating" the two of you to honor, in the name of this or that unattainable idol.
No matter how you may choose to go about it, don't forget that you love that person, so you don't want restart your relationship by "first clearing the guilt" issue. Trust me on that one -- it's a big NO-NO. Your first words might as well follow a smile with a simple compliment: "Hi, you are looking great."
And if they start with anything along those lines of "clearing the guilt", gently interrupt and change the subject into something neutral, showing your goodwill to start anew.
There is nothing on your part that may forge the new round of relationship like this "being-a-bigger-man" attitude clearly hinting at your willingness to forgive and to move on, in the name of whatever the two of you ever had going.
You don't want to go backwards in relationship, by sweeping the footprints that led to where you are now. -- but look forward into that new version of a healthy interacting, with a fresh chemistry between the two of you.
Keep loving that person while knowing that love doesn't sit well on foundations of excuses, explanations, moralizing, and the alike crap -- as if giving a subliminal warning to that person that "from now on they had better watch not to make new mistakes".
Every love gets tested from time to time, and we are often facing the question of -- is it going to be easier for us to forgive or to live on with a grudge.
So, why not try to give a brand new, maybe also more mature definition to that love for that person, and then just about everything will be unfolding in that desired direction -- once that love doesn't involve any strategies of interaction, but rather a spontaneous willingness to make it as best as humanly possible.
Someone said something very valuable about true love, which may also be applied to matters of forgiveness. It went something like this:
"A great relationship is not one between two perfect human beings, but one between two imperfect beings who are willing to make it great."
A wise message about forgiveness
© 2022 Val Karas