Do we really need to forgive to move on?
What if we can’t or don’t want to forgive?
Forgiveness isn’t easy but a very tricky thing. Society has taught us that forgiveness is critical to have a happy and stress-free life. But what about when it’s impossible to forgive?
There are many myths about forgiveness — including the impression that you are somehow “required” to forgive someone for moving on.
Forgiveness is Multilayered
You don’t just forgive someone, and that’s all. Forgiveness can take years. Imagine it as a concurring cycle until you feel entirely healed. You go through many stages during this forgiveness cycle.
You may feel yourself letting go of hurt or pain bit by bit until you feel a weight lifted off you one day. You feel healed from the inside. You think that you have forgiven that person who hurt you like no other. Then the next day, it feels like it never happened. All of this is normal. This is called the Cycle of forgiveness or multilayer forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a personal choice
Anyone who tells you that you “need to” forgive someone or that you need to do it within a specific time frame is entirely wrong. You don’t have to forgive someone if you don’t want to. Period.
If you do choose to forgive that person, the time frame is entirely up to you. And your personal time frame isn’t anyone’s business but yours. Keep that in mind!
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you ignore the hurtful behavior
When you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean that you are saying what they did was okay. It is a common misconception that forgiveness means condoning. No!
Forgiveness is more about giving up the hope that the past could have been any different. You can’t change the past and you definitely don’t want to affect your present because of that one hurtful event. That’s why we choose to forgive, not because we are allowing and agreeing on the malicious behavior.
You don’t have to forgive
Sometimes people or society put pressure on you to forgive. Your religion may tell you that you need to forgive. And forgiveness is divine and it’s necessary to forgive.
If you don’t feel like you can or want to, then don’t. It’s as simple as that. And no one has the right to judge you for not wanting to forgive. Some violations and abuses are too atrocious that it is impossible to forgive a person who damaged your soul.
If forgiveness feels wrong, stop!
If you are being forced into forgiving someone and it doesn’t feel good to you, just stop. Be curt and clear to the person pushing you that you have the right to decide if you will forgive and when will you forgive.
What will you do if you are being shamed into forgiving someone or made to feel guilty? In that case, it’s even more important to tell the person that their behavior is inappropriate and damaging.
Talk to a professional.
Do you want to forgive someone but don’t know where to start? Or you aren’t ready to forgive but are being forced to?
Then, consider talking to a mental health professional. Speaking to a neutral 3rd party can show you a different perspective. It will also help normalize your experience and alleviate any feelings of being “stuck.”
I hope this blog helped you understand and value your own feelings.
Have anybody caused you so much damage that you still feel the same pain, and forgiving them feels impossible?
Have you experienced that one day you feel that you have forgiven that person, but the next day it seems it never happened?
Let me know in the comments below so we can have a healthy conversation.