I used to think that in order to forgive someone, they would first have to be sorry.
This left me powerless and waiting for people to ask for forgiveness. In the meantime, anger and resentment were eating me up from the inside. I wondered: Can I forgive without someone’s permission, and could I forgive while not wanting them back in my life?
“When we learn to embrace forgiveness, it opens us up to healing, hope, and a new world of possibility.” – Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt
In an interview with Lewis Howes, Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt explained the role forgiveness played in her life and why she collided real life stories in her book. It’s been a consistent theme on my blog, from my recent post admitting all my resentments during 12-step work to an earlier essay about loving our abusers. My struggle has been trying to forgive someone who does not see their obvious wrongs, and has no interest in changing.
It’s obvious what I need to do – but can I forgive myself for putting my needs first?
Kati Morton, Youtube’s go-to psychologist, made a wonderful video explaining the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. We all know the saying forgive and forget, but Kati suggest something more focused on our own journey: Forgive, and set yourself free!
Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person, and all about ourselves. When we don’t give up our hurt feelings, we end up hurting ourselves over and over each day.
Now comes the hard part: moving on.
The opposite of hate is not love, it’s indifference. I found that once I forgave, it felt like a completely new start. Being able to see the other person as if I was meeting them for the first time, but without the expectations I used to have. I had already found out that I couldn’t get what I wanted out of them. Could I deal with a downscaled relationship, or was it time to cut them loose?
When someone shows you who they are, believe them. – Maya Angelou
Was I bluffing this whole time, or am I truly ready to see others as they are? I found that if I repeatedly ended up resenting someone, my expectations for them were simply too high. That’s just unfair on all parties resolved. By letting people be who they are and not hoping for change, I realised that people weren’t doing me wrong. I was letting myself down by feigning outrage instead of walking away.
What do you think? Let me know about your own journey with forgiveness!