“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
I don’t believe in the concept of forgiveness. Or at least, i don’t believe it’s necessary. Not for happiness, not for freedom, and not for personal evolution.
I’ve been raised to believe forgiveness is important, and right, and good, and necessary, if i’m going to be the sort of human i want to be. Everything i’ve read or heard about being the best person possible includes forgiveness as one of the best and most necessary qualities to possess.
I don’t buy it. Not for me.
For one thing, i’m not religious. I’m not bound to a set of beliefs that requires this of me. And for another, forgiveness would be detrimental to my growth as a person. It would compromise the person i’m trying to be.
- stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forgive David for the way he treated her”
synonyms: pardon, excuse, exonerate, absolve;
- stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for (an offense, flaw, or mistake).
“they are not going to pat my head and say all is forgiven”
- cancel (a debt).
“he proposed that their debts should be forgiven”
I grew up as the receptacle for many adults unwanted feelings. I was the punching bag and the living doll. Got something sticking to you that you want off? Stick it on me. I absorbed it all – including the blame. So now, part of my healing is no longer accepting responsibility for other people’s actions. I can’t be a fully functioning and healthy participant in life and living if i’m carrying the weight of other people’s bad acts.
Why should i stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone who harmed me? I mean, i’m not feeling that way all the time, and not even every time i think about the person who harmed me. But sometimes i do think of what they did, and feel angry and resentful. And it’s not damaging to me, rather, it’s empowering. I acknowledge what they did to me and that it was NOT okay. It was bad and it was wrong, and it’s natural and right for me to be pissed off about it.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m actually one of the most forgiving people i know. I don’t hold grudges. I don’t seethe, nor am i vengeful. If you’ve done me wrong, i’m not plotting. I let go of most things. The things that i don’t forgive are not trivial, and they’re not mild; they are heinous. That i even lived through these things is fantastic. And although my brain did get sick and twisty because of it, i’m not a bad person. I’m a good person who has done bad things, and has made amends wherever possible. Where it hasn’t been possible or safe, i live my amends and leave my door open to the possibility of something more tangible. It’s who i am, and if it happens organically, i let it happen.
Even the truly terrible things i might forgive. I don’t know for sure, because i haven’t been asked. If any of those people were to approach me and take full responsibility for what they’d done, and then asked for my forgiveness – i would probably forgive them. But some of them are gone, and some of them are just awful creatures who aren’t going to change. And i don’t forgive them. It would be wrong for me to do so. It would be a betrayal of myself, on the deepest, most personal, basic, and vulnerable level.
Besides, i’ve moved on. I’m not anchored to pain and dysfunction because i won’t let go of the evil done to me. Neither am i moved to commit wicked acts of my own. No. I’m under no faith-based obligation, and no one’s asked, so it is not given. And it will not be fucking offered, either. They don’t deserve it, and it’s appropriate for me to feel profoundly indignant about every monstrous act committed against me.
I don’t think emotions are positive or negative. They just are. My anger over what was done to me, and my resentment towards those who did it, has in fact allowed me to reattach to my own psyche, and to disentangle myself from most of my dissociative behaviors. I’ve connected to myself and become my own champion.
Because of the healing power of anger and hatred, i am my own hero.