Every once in a while somebody will come along and betray your trust in one way or another. This isn’t always as severe as it sounds but it will happen and as we grow up we’ve likely been told to ‘forgive and forget’. In fact it happens so often that it almost becomes an instinct deciding which one you’ll choose fitting the situation; will you forgive, forget or both? As a toddler you don’t get exactly what you asked for for Christmas, forget. A best friend cancels on you last minute leaving you in an empty restaurant, forgive. Barista doesn’t get your coffee right, both. But what about the times when it’s neither?
What about the times you simply refuse and never allow that person back? There are always times when someone may betray you or hurt you so much that you decide to do neither. Instead what you do is decide to cut them out, and you never forgive and you never forget. Personally, looking back, I have never experienced such a scenario where I wasn’t able to forgive someone and I hope I never do. For someone to be that hurt by another person that they can’t look passed it and realise that whatever they did was for a specific reason or that it perhaps was right for them at the time must be tough. This choice is universally acknowledged as unhealthy and I agree. Let me preface this by saying that I completely understand that certain circumstances may make you want to run for the hills and never turn back to this one person or situation. For example, your mother led you to believe that the man raising you was your father, when in fact it was someone she knew in high school. Your partner of multiple years cheated on you multiple times. The love of your life may not have stuck by you and left. These are all very valid reasons to wash your hands of someone and never give them a second thought. However, it’s not reasonable to allow yourself to be miserable or to hold on to anger for someone that you once loved. People make mistakes, you don’t have to agree with them but you do have to eventually understand that people are always just doing what felt right to them at the time, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to do it.
I wonder; what if the person we need to truly learn to ‘forgive and forget’ is ourselves? I’ve found that the majority of the time the hardest person to forgive is yourself. I mentioned before that every once in a while someone comes along and betrays your trust but that’s a two sided coin that flips all too often. What about every person you have ever hurt intentionally or not? I know I’ve done things previously, to people I truly love that bare down on my conscience day after day and I’m fairly confident in saying that every body, even if it’s a small example, has experienced the same.
Maybe you didn’t hold the door for a woman holding a child, maybe you’re the one that kept a secret from a loved one, continually letting them down or maybe you’re the one that left in a hurry without an explanation. Sometimes there is nothing harder to deal with than an overpowering guilt knowing you’ve hurt someone you love, but holding on to that pain and directing it towards yourself only makes it worse. Sometimes there’s an emptiness to your circumstances so you fill it with regret but that can’t go on forever.
You will never be anything to anyone until you are something to yourself. Be confident in yourself to admit that you made a mistake, apologise for it and allow yourself to move on. Be mature enough to realise that changing yourself isn’t weak, it’s necessary.