Frequently claimed by religion, the realm of forgiveness is open to everyone, but is difficult for even the most saintly. Whether this involves forgiving yourself or someone who has wronged you. Even some who claim to have forgiven all wrongs against them, and believe it themselves, still hold a core of bitterness towards the individual they have supposedly “forgiven,” meaning they haven’t truly moved past it. Trust me, I’m not judging.
Personally, I have “forgiven” my ex-husband, but I still feel enough bitterness towards him to know it hasn’t happened in full. The problem with this core of bitterness is it produces anger and other negative emotions whenever you think about this individual. This does no harm to the individual it is directed towards (unless you happen to be speaking to them at the time, but it will produce more bitterness on both sides), however it reduces your own quality of life.
Even knowing this, it is remarkably difficult to truly forgive someone. In spite of all the progress I’ve made towards forgiving members of my family, my ex, and members of his family, it isn’t enough. I haven’t completely forgiven any of them. Unfortunately, I still have to deal with most of them. Some I can choose to ignore, cut out of my life, but only for the most part. The most difficult divorces are those involving children, and they force most couples to remain in civil contact for their sake. This is true with my ex and his family.
In general, I dislike talking on the phone, preferring long-form written communication or in person conversations. However, life intercedes and forces us out of our comfort zone. What I have noticed is the more bitterness I hold towards someone, the less likely I am to communicate with them at all, even in my preferred communication methods. Even when I need to communicate with these individuals, it is done only when there is no other option.
Even with all the bitterness I feel, some individuals have been forgiven completely, and I tend just to ignore them. What’s interesting, is most of the individuals who I’ve completely forgiven I have no further need to communicate with. They are also the individuals who I never trusted, or those instances where I understand the circumstances they were in enough to know why they did it. However, I still choose to remove them from my life.
Forgiveness does not mean allowing an individual control over you again, nor does it mean forgetting their crimes against you. It simply means you have truly moved on from the events. I have many individuals I have completely moved on, but a core of individuals who betrayed the trust I had in them whom I haven’t fully forgiven. The more egregious the betrayal, the harder it is to forgive.
Someday I hope to move past the bitterness and fully forgive everyone who abused and betrayed me, but I’m still working on it. It isn’t easy to forgive.