Tough topic, eh? This week we went live on YouTube to discuss the concept of forgiveness – something that even we struggle with from time to time. Check out the video below. if you don’t have time to watch feel free to skim through a few of the key points of our discussion here on this post.
What is Forgiveness?
This is the ultimate question, really. One thing that Nathalie and I quickly noticed in our discussion was that the idea of what forgiveness MEANS was a little different in both of our minds.
What Forgiveness is NOT
Life, society, and the people around us had all told us one or more things about forgiveness – most of which came back to the idea that forgiveness is either: allowing people to hurt you over and over by simply “turning the other cheek” or finding some ability to absolve a person of their transgressions and move forward without ever looking back.
What Forgiveness IS
What really helped me find a middle ground between these two concepts (neither or which ever sat well with me) was to check out the actual definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. In case you weren’t already aware, I am a huge advocate for finding a common ground on the meaning of words so that we all come from the same place as we communicate with others. So, finding an actual dictionary definition of the word “forgiveness” was important to me.
to give up resentment of or claim to requital – Merriam-Webster Dictionary
What If The Other Person Isn’t Sorry?
Here’s something I always struggled with. I’m a very forgiving person. I give people second, third, fourth chances. I always give more chances, even though I may need to put up more boundaries to protect myself from people who repeatedly make mistakes. But I always struggle with the people who aren’t sorry. I don’t even just mean the people who say sorry and make more mistakes. I mean the people who blatantly do NOT care. The people who hurt others over and over and actually seem to enjoy it on some level. THESE are the people I have struggled greatly with forgiving.
But, when I look at it from the Merriam-Webster viewpoint something makes more sense. It’s about giving up resentment, not about giving chances. Giving chances is great and heartfelt and it often goes along with forgiveness but it isn’t equal to it. Now the whole concept of forgiveness being for the self and not for the other makes sense.
To give forgiveness is to allow yourself to move forward, free of the hurt caused by the actions of the other person. It is liberation. It is freedom. It is taking back your power – taking away the power of another to hurt you and giving it to yourself to live a happy life.