Forgiveness (noun)Well, that was truly bloody useless! The verb form’s a tad more illuminating.
1. act of forgiving; state of being forgiven.
2. disposition or willingness to forgive.
Forgive (verb)From the Mayo Clinic’s page on forgiveness:
1. to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
2. to grant pardon to (a person).
3. to cease to feel resentment against
Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.You can forgive a person without wanting to associate with them any longer. You can forgive a person AND not want them in your life any longer. And that’s OK. Wanting/needing an end to a connection and the act of forgiveness can coexist.
Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act.
This is/was a revelation to me—that forgiveness isn’t just an element in a relationship repair kit. It’s something I do for myself so that I’m not toting around a mega ton of anger, sad and pain every day.
That I despised my brother, hurt my mother terribly. She wanted us to be a happy family. Of course. She’d occasionally prompt him to apologize which he’d do, without any understanding of WHY this odious task was required of him. Afterward, it was expected that everything would be ALL better. Now we could be a picture perfect famiglia with big sis, me, taking good care of the bright shining son. Honestly, my mother never understood why I didn’t want to hang with my brother—why I didn’t love him as she did.
It’s relatively easy to say “I’m sorry” and a whole ‘nother bag ‘o” cats to recognize one’s own heinous behavior, walk a new path, change. Really change—none of this superficial “I go to church every week and say ‘Praise Jesus/God’ every third sentence so I MUST be a fabulously good person now,” horseshit.
Sure, I forgave my brother—I don’t carry my anger. I’ve even, over the long years since childhood, come to understand, maybe, a little of how he came to be the person he is/was.
That doesn’t mean that I want to be around him. My mother’s definition of forgiveness required that I remain in close contact with my brother—take him under my wing even—act as though nothing untoward had happened. I couldn't do that.
I now know that forgiveness doesn’t preclude self preservation. It doesn't obviate my own happiness and fulfillment.
Huh. Waddya know.
“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy."
~C. JoyBell C.