How many times have you heard the phrase “you must forgive?” It continues on; stating that if you don’t forgive someone of their continuous and horrible misdeeds, you somehow give that person all of your power. You MUST FORGIVE to be relieved of such heavy and tenacious burdens! “Be the better person and forgive! forgive forgive!”
I too once believed in this extremely ridiculous moral proposition.
If you have this same view, believing that forgiveness is always the proper thing to do, please read on with an open heart and an open mind. I understand the deep religious and cultural adhesiveness this topic emits but there must come a point in time where rationality must overturn certain nonreciprocal forgiveness situations.
Forgiveness is a lot like love and trust in the way that it cannot be willed. Forgiveness, love and trust have to be earned for them to be truly validated. Because you cannot just will forgiveness, the person who has done the wrongs, must prove they are truly sorry for what they did. Forgiving someone who has not shown any empathy, change of behavior, or a genuine apology is only lowering the standards of your relationships and the standards for yourself. It also allows abuse in your relationships to continue. When we start to hold people accountable for their abuses against us, we will start to see some real change.
As a heroin addict, I have done and said some egregious and appalling things to others. Would I ever expect those people to just forgive me without a single change of behavior or a massive gift basket full of apologies?
Subsidizing the anti-empathy of others- or “giving them the benefit of the doubt” just means that the relationship is toxic and now that you have allowed it to continue. It will only get worse. We all know that when people get free shit, they become dependent on that free shit and they will continue to accept the hand-outs. Stop giving free hand-outs! Have more respect for yourself and for your relationships!
Relationships can make or break someone like me. I am a heroin addict and I now have a small family of my own that needs me to stay sober. My wife moved here from 8,000 miles away. She left everything she knew to come to America and start a family with me. If I relapsed, she would be completely devastated. This means I better pay real close attention to what kind of people I allow into my life. My personal relationships must be with people who have self knowledge, trust, and empathy for others. These are not qualities I used to look for in friends or even my own family.
If someone in my life does something intentionally horrible that can in any way cause major issues in my life, I will simply “unfriend” that person. Not just through Facebook either. They will no longer be in my life. Life is too short to allow toxicity to overpower my life’s greatness and beauty. I want people in my life who love, protect, accept truth, honesty and virtue.
I do forgive others but it must be earned. Ignorance is no excuse because if you have empathy, you cannot use ignorance as an excuse. If you don’t have empathy then well, you will not be in my life. Everyone deserves a shot a proving they are truly sorry for whatever it is that they did but pay close attention to what that person does from that point forward. If they don’t show any empathy during the process or if they continue hurting you, don’t forgive them and move on with your life. They do not hold power over you. That is a ridiculous belief that allows evil to continue. There are many others out there who will.be willing to raise the bar for a much healthier and meaningful relationship.
This is a shorter than normal blog post but this topic has been on my mind for over a week and it was starting to tear through my prefrontal cortex and leak out of my ear holes. Please feel free to comment some of your own thoughts on this topic. I am quite interested in what you guys think about forgiveness.
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I tried uploading a picture many times but my computer says no way! I will try it again tomorrow. 🙂