The Most Courageous Thing You Could Do for Yourself

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi

By: Jean Flores

To forgive is not always easy, especially when those you are trying to forgive doesn’t even deserve the smallest ounce of your mercy. People often believe that if you forgive someone just to move on, then you’re settling, or you couldn’t stand your ground, or above all, you were weak. On the contrary, forgiving someone may just be the most courageous thing you could do for yourself.

What is forgiveness? Better yet, what is forgiveness NOT? Forgiveness is not leniency. Just because you forgive someone for hurting you, does not mean you will continue to tolerate their behavior. You are not obligated to believe that their actions were fair, and you are definitely not obligated to give them another chance after forgiving them for the sake of leniency.

Forgiveness is not retaliation. There’s a saying that goes: an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. Hurting someone because he or she has hurt you does not make things even, nor does it make it anywhere near forgiving. The angrier you stay at someone, the longer it takes to move on. By doing that, you grow more hatred in your heart to the point where your spirit is burdened, unhappy, and worse of all, stuck. It benefits no one.

Forgiveness is not justification for their actions. Their wrong doings to you are not justified, or made right, because you forgave them. The truth is that you are not really forgiving the actions. Because with actions – it’s done. It happened. It’s over. You don’t forgive something for happening. Rather, you accept that it did. What you are forgiving is the fact that they even had the willingness in their hearts to do wrong by you in the first place. “I forgive you for hurting me, but I still believe what you did was wrong and I will know better in the future”, as spiteful as it sounds, is a valid statement.

Forgiveness is not settling. You deciding that you’re through being angry and that you just want to move on with your life isn’t settling with the idea that the opposing side was right and you gave up. Let’s face it, not everyone is going to apologize. Whether it’s pride or stubbornness on their end, apologizes aren’t always going to come your way no matter how badly you deserve it. But…forgive anyways. Accept that it happened. Forgive those who have hurt you, for at least now you know better. Again, the longer you stay bitter over the wrong that has been done for you, the less time you have to make things right for yourself. Stop wasting time that you could be using to uplift yourself by waiting for closure from those reluctant to give it. Remember: sometimes no closure, IS closure.

With all this considered, forgiveness is not weakness. It takes so much strength to be able to put your foot down and say you’ve had enough. You’ve had enough with your dwelling of staying angry because it kept you away from the one thing you need the most: peace. You were hurt. It’s not easy to just let go of something that wounded you so deep to the point where you could no longer trust or no longer grow. You have to go through the rockiest of roads to be able to find it in your heart to forgive someone. Because even if you forgive, the scars stay. You never truly forget what someone has done to you. You accept it, you grow from it, but that’s not to say it’s easy. So to say that forgiveness makes you weak is complete bullshit. Forgiveness makes you strong, because it proves you respect yourself enough to know that you let go of what wears out your spirit. (*Dean, you can change “bullshit” to “nonsense”, if you wish profanity not to be on the blog.)

Forgive people not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.