How to Forgive AND Forget
We have heard the saying many times that, “It’s easier to forgive than to forget,” but the truth is that unless you are capable of forgetting you never really forgive. Forgiveness is the act of excusing someone for their offense but unless you are also willing to forget their transgression you aren’t truly forgiving them. Refusing to forget a wrong action against you results in a lingering grudge between you and the other person. Although you may have told them that you have forgiven them, the memory of their actions remains with you and creates a prejudice towards them that results in a lack of trust in the future. True forgiveness involves both forgiving and forgetting and this can be achieved by understanding your own feelings as well as those of the person who wronged you, expressing your feelings in a rational matter, realizing that your relationship is more important than being right and finally accepting your partner’s apology.
You may have been wronged in a situation and your feelings of anger may be completely justified but it’s important to truly understand your feelings in order to forgive and forget. It is imperative that you realize that the actions of the other person may have hurt you or made you angry but that reacting in a hostile manner as a result of these feelings is not beneficial to your relationship. While your feelings of hurt of anger may be justified, taking the time to work through these emotions before offering forgiveness will help you to forget your partner’s words or actions. If you rush to offer forgiveness before you have had the opportunity to vent your own frustrations it will be difficult for you to forget your partner’s wrongdoing. You also need to understand the feelings of the person who offended you. It is also important to speak to your partner about why they committed the offense against you. It is not fair to them to make assumptions about why they acted the way they did. Giving them the chance to express their side of the situation will give you a better understand of why they acted the way they did. You may learn that everything was a misunderstanding or that you were not hurt intentionally. Allowing the other person a chance to offer their take on the situation will enable you to see their motives. Understanding your own emotions as well as your partner’s will help you to really forgive and forget.
Dealing with your own emotions in a calm and rational manner is also crucial to forgiving and forgetting. Your partner may be wrong and you may be completely justified in your feelings of anger but it’s important that you not act strictly on emotion in this situation. Acting and speaking out of anger can elevate the tension in the situation and deter the forgiveness process. Give yourself a little time to manage your own feelings and collect your thoughts so that when you approach your partner you are able to speak about your feelings in a rational manner. It’s best to wait until both you and your partner are ready to speak about the conflict in a calm and rational manner. If you are truly interested in forgiving and forgetting when you have been wronged, wait until both parties have calmed down to ensure that neither one speaks out of anger and destroys the chance for true forgiveness.
A crucial aspect of forgiving and forgetting is valuing your relationship more than you value being right in an argument. While you may be completely right in a situation, being right is not worth destroying the relationship over. If you are able to put your love for your partner ahead of the vindication of being right you will be more willing to forgive and forget. Also, forgiving and forgetting will allow your relationship to continue to flourish because working through conflicts makes a relationship stronger.
Finally you can never really forgive and forget unless you are truly willing to accept your partner’s apology. Harboring feelings that the apology isn’t genuine will damage the relationship because you will never forget their offending action. Listen sincerely to your partner’s apology and have faith in them that there apology is heartfelt and genuine. Then let them know that you accept their apology and are willing to not let this situation interfere with your future interactions.
True forgiveness involves not only excusing the transgression but also effectively forgetting it as well. You can not truly forgive someone if you don’t also agree to forget the offense. Refusing to forget indicates a lack of trust in your partner to not repeat the offense. While deciding to forgive and forget is a personal matter a few suggestions for doing so are to understand your feelings as well as the feelings of your partner, taking the time to rationalize your emotions before you act on them, valuing your relationship enough to truly forgive and accepting your partner’s apology with an open heart.