Having Trouble Forgiving? Time to Open the Dictionary

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A lot of mental health experts say that forgiving others is critical to your own happiness in life. That it doesn’t say that you agree with what that person did to you, but more so that you accept it and are ready to let it go so you can move forward. If it is supposed to be so freeing, then why can’t I do it?

To me, forgiving someone says, “Hey, it’s okay for how you’ve treated me. Let’s just bury that in the past and start fresh.” Unfortunately, that’s now how I operate.

I may be able to understand why someone does what they do. I may even be able to accept it. But what I can’t do is pretend it never happened. I can’t bury it in the sand because every time I look at that spot, I know what lies beneath the surface. It’s never really gone

This has continued to bother me, more so because how can I be right about my feelings toward forgiveness if everyone else sees it so differently? Am I viewing it all wrong? As it turns out, I am.

I looked up the word forgive in the dictionary and expected to find something along the lines of “to extend grace to someone who has wronged you.” What I found was completely different.

Merriam-Webster defines forgive as “to cease to feel resentment against (an offender).” Wait? What? So forgiveness has absolutely nothing to do with the other person, but is 100% about the giving up of my own anger, hurt, and disappointment? I was speechless.

Now I get it. Now I understand what true forgiveness is. It isn’t saying anything at all about the other person or what they did. Instead, it says, “I’m no longer going to let this bother me. I will no longer continue to give your actions my time or energy.”

Okay. I think I am ready to start forgiving others who I feel have wronged me. Especially now that I understand what true forgiveness is.

I admit. It is pretty freeing. I guess everyone else was right all along.

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