I had a very distorted view of forgiveness when I was younger. I used to think that forgiving someone was to show a weakness, and that the best way to let that person know you were hurt was to give them disdain, anger, etc. Well. The truth is that such behavior never actually solves anything, and more often than not, it keeps you from actually feeling at peace. I also thought, in my distorted view, that forgiveness allowed that person to stay in your life, that forgiving them would send the message that I want them in my life. Such thoughts about forgiveness are common, but the reality of it is far simpler and nothing could be further than the truth I will reveal to you.
Forgiveness Does Not Equal Reconciliation.
Take that sentence in. See it for what it is worth. It means that while you can forgive someone, you also choose not to have them in your life. Ever again. It means you acknowledge that they hurt you, and you have forgiven their actions, released the anger, the negativity, and have moved on. For me this was at first a very difficult thing to do. How can I forgive them, and not have them think they are in my life? Or.. How can I forgive them and never tell them how angry I am? These are normal emotions, but they will not set you free. They will hold you, bind you. So here’s a simple thing to think about:
You never have to tell them, you never have to face them, and you are not doing this forgiving for them. You are doing it for you.
I found this to be the simplest way to achieve it. Sit down, and write out all your anger towards them. Say everything negative you want to say about them. Do not hold back on anything. Let them really have it! And at the end, simply write:
“I accept this as my hurt, and my pain, and now set this person free. I forgive them for what they have done, and I am leaving this behind me.”
And then burn the paper, crumple it up in the trash, or make a paper boat and launch it in the ocean. Use whatever means you need to symbolically set that anger, pain, and negativity free. And live your life free.
Forgiveness sets you free. And forgiveness does not equal reconciliation.