How Far Does Forgiveness Go?

Everyone, at some point in their life, will be hurt by another person. No matter the depth of this pain and hurt, forgiveness should always be sought. Forgiveness is key, not to the one who has done wrong, but the one who has been done wrong. But, exactly how far should forgiveness go?

No matter the situation, the forgiveness that one gives another can only go so far. Once someone does something that breaks your trust, no matter how hard you try, that trust will never fully be repaired and the relationship will never be the same. For that reason, there will always be a small barrier of caution between the two of you. But it must be considered whether or not the relationship is worth living with that barrier of caution. Of course, that goes back into what was done. Did the person cheat on you? If so, with whom? Was it somebody that you knew? Someone that you disliked? Or maybe even someone close to you? Or maybe this person bullied and belittled you in high school. They made your life a living hell. They drove you to therapy, tears, and rounds of medication to cope with the pain that you felt. This person could have defiled your body and abused you. Taken advantage of you, even though you showed them nothing but love and kindness. There are endless amounts of situations, but always remember that no struggle is less important or severe than the rest. No matter if you went through a cheating partner, an abusive partner, a casual break-up, or a brutal bully…your suffering matters and your suffering is valid. And you are the one that has the power to decide how you re-form yourself after someone distorted and bent (not broke) your soul.

When you start to mend yourself, you get to choose how far your forgiveness will go. One thing that should always be true is that a grudge should not be held. Releasing the grudge and the constant charge of negative energy for a person is important because as long as that charge lies within you, bliss can never be found. Do not give the person that hurt you that power. The releasing of a grudge is perhaps the one step that everyone follows when forgiveness is reached. What comes next is up to the individual. One could allow that person in their life again, but keep them at a distance. Or one could give them a second chance. But if that second chance is given, it must be known that even though you forgive someone, you will never forget what they have done no matter how much time passes. Trauma, whether it be physical or psychological, is never forgotten by the body or the self. If something is said to be forgotten, it is merely being ignored. What is important to note, is that you are never obligated to allow someone into your life again. There is no wrong or right choice when it comes to who has a right to be in your life and who doesn’t. It will not make you a bad person to forgive someone, but not allow them to be in your life. That just makes you a person who wants to make the best life for yourself. When we first let people into our lives, we give them the benefit of the doubt. We believe that someone is good in every way, shape, or form, and we trust them with little pieces of ourselves. But when that chance is abused and someone hurts us, it would almost seem silly to give them that benefit of the doubt again…or at least to the same degree. You have the right to act in a way that you think would put you in the best position to be happy, and as long as that does not cause anyone any intentional pain, then you have done nothing wrong. A person may be hurt if you decide that they do not deserve a place in your life, but never apologize for how you choose to repair what someone else broke. Make decisions for yourself and not the other person.

Ultimately you decide how far your forgiveness will go; however, do try and reach forgiveness because that is the only way that you can heal. Reaching forgiveness does not mean that you won’t still hurt. It doesn’t mean that the physical and emotionally memory of what was done will not linger with you for the rest of your life. It means that you will no longer have a a cloud of negative energy orbiting your soul. You will learn how to live your life with the pain that was caused…and you will learn how to do so with the strength that we all have. You are matter. No one can destroy you. Someone may be able to transform you, but you have just enough power–if not more–to transform yourself into something better.

Always forgive. Never forget. And aspire to transform.

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