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It constantly amazes me how some people can remember the smallest details of everything that happened around a particular event while others don’t remember clearly what happened yesterday let alone last week, last month or last year.
Actually these attributes clearly describe the difference between my life partner and me. My partner can recall events from his past as clearly as if they were happening right this minute while for me it’s more like out-of-sight-out-of-mind.
There is an upside and a downside though for each of these positions. For my partner the upside is his brilliant recall allows him to remember the wonderful people we’ve met and the places we’ve been to on our many journeys around the world. The downside for him is that he finds it hard to let go of past hurts often holding grudges which should have been let go of long ago as they prevent him from fully enjoying the company of friends and acquaintances.
For me though, as I forget about old wrongdoings so easily I sometimes also forget the lessons I should have learned and have to learn them again. On the good side I don’t tend to hold grudges as I move on quickly putting old hurts behind me. The appearance to others of me is that I harbor no bad thoughts of people and I truly can forgive and forget.
So all of this got me thinking about “forgiving and forgetting” and the benefits and disadvantages of doing this when someone has crossed you.
Forgiveness is the act of excusing someone for a wrongdoing but unless you are also willing to forget their transgression you aren’t truly forgiving them. I qualify this by adding that ‘forgetting the transgression’ is really quite different from forgetting that it ever happened. It’s about not harboring the bad feelings associated with an event but instead becoming neutral to it.
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 may 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 understanding 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.
This kind of forgiveness can only be achieved by understanding your own feelings as well as those of the person who wronged you. It requires you to express your feelings in a rational way, realizing that your relationship is more important than being right. It might also include accepting the other’s apology whether this is your partner’s, your friend’s or a collective of people.
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 than to rush in and come to regret something said or done.
A crucial aspect of forgiving and forgetting is valuing your relationship more than you value being right in a disagreement. 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 need for being right you will be more willing to forgive and forget. Also, forgiving and forgetting will allow your relationship to continue to flourish simply 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 their 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 cannot truly forgive someone if you don’t also agree to forget the offence. Refusing to forget indicates a lack of trust in your partner to not repeat the offence.
So until next time – Relate with Love