Last updated on November 12th, 2021
Forgiveness is considered to be the best kind of virtue one can ever acquire. I also appreciate it very much. All religious texts greatly support it. But it’s only one side of the coin. Several questions arise with it and the most important ones are:
- When should one forgive?
- Who should or should not be forgiven?
- Should a person be forced to forgive?
- Is it great to judge a person who fails to forgive her/his cheater?
- What’s the relation between forgiveness and mental peace?
- Which is more important; forgiving or healing?
I am trying to find the solutions to the above questions in the article.
What Forgiveness Means
According to Wikipedia, it’s to release negative emotions. It’s true, but not always.
Forgiveness is often considered to ignore someone’s mistakes and letting them go. Excuse me!! Do you even understand what it means to forgive someone?
It’s not something to ignore, let go, and revenge, or accept your cheater again. It’s about to hate the sin not the sinner, it’s about punishing the inappropriate but still not hating the offender.
Forgiving is an inner job that only your heart can do. You may forgive a person without asking for an apology. Also, it’s an individual’s choice when, if or how to forgive.
Why Forgiving is More Difficult for Some
1. The nature & upbringing
When you advise a person who has been devoid of love, to forgive others rather than one who got the right upbringing, an abundance of love, it might backfire.
People with composed minds tend to have a more peaceful and forgiving mind. On the other hand, forgiveness isn’t easy for those who have seen their parents fighting, abusing, and bullying in their childhood. It might end up like adding salt to their injuries.
2. Different ideologies
Let’s start with an example.
In a society, where polygamy, bigamy or open relationship is not illegal and where women are taught to bear all this and forgive. They are offended emotionally but still, they have seen it since childhood. So forgiving and condoning the infidelities becomes relatively easy for them.
While in another world, it’s not so easy for a woman to forgive and move on especially when the partner doesn’t come to apologise.
But it doesn’t mean, former is greater than the latter. It’s all about ideologies. Though the sufferings of both are the same the tendency to forgive is different.
The possibility is there that the former ideology could never forgive the things which the latter could do easily.
The effect of particular cheating could be different on two different minds.
The wound of cheating by a friend would not be as much serious on that person’s mind who has other good relations rather than on the person who has only one relation, that is friendship.
What Is More Important, Forgiving or Healing?
No, I am not against forgiveness! But have you ever wondered what is more important forgiveness or healing? Because sometimes (not always), the best kind of forgiveness is the one that comes after healing.
And I dare to say that forgiveness is not always the solution!
Think about a domestic violence victim who is upset and not ready to forgive her husband, at least not so soon. But, women are expected, especially in Asian countries, to ignore and move on.
They go through tremendous unhealthy and cruel societal pressure to forgive their husbands for every inappropriate and most disgusting behaviour. They are asked to stay quiet and not file a divorce. The worst thing is they are forced to pretend as nothing has happened.
Now, I know, I am doing feminism talks here, but it’s not just about women here, it’s about every gender or criminal irrespective of their gender.
What do you think, should forgiving the offender not be an individual’s choice?
Forgiveness and Mental Health
Different people, different nature, different ideologies, different upbringings, different mindsets, different situations, different mistakes, different kinds of pains and yet to find peace, the answer to all of them is considered only forgiveness.
Sometimes, when you ask a person to forgive, you’re stopping them from releasing their anger and agony, asking them to suffer in the silence which could aggravate their condition.
The suppressed anger brings depression and leaves an adverse effect on mental health.
And as I said above, without healing forgiveness doesn’t come. Yes, after forgiving one may heal more and find peace but with suppressed anger, it is never possible.
When a person goes through agony and tries to come out of this, she/he holds the non-forgiving & grudging attitude, revenge, and these emotions help. It doesn’t mean she should always be supported for revenge.
But, is imposing forgiveness upon her a good way to heal her?
Forcing Forgiveness May Delay Forgiveness
It makes a person more bitter, they take the forgiveness as another injustice to them. And eventually, it will provoke them to develop more hatred for forgiveness.
I never understand why the person who fails to forgive is considered to be spiritually weak and judged.
Saying again, I am not against forgiveness. I myself have forgiven many who didn’t even deserve it and who never said even a word of apology to me. But still, this was like unburdening my soul and the way of being super peaceful.
I also approved people to forgive me for my mistakes and they accepted my apology. If they had not forgiven me I would never have freed myself from the guilt.
But if it had occurred before the appropriate time and in an inappropriate manner, it would have exacerbated everything and destroyed every single chance of forgiveness in future too.
I am just trying to say it’s about the right time. Unforgiveness is always not a sign of shallowness.
The Toxic Forgiveness: When It’s Okay to Not Forgive
- Don’t forgive if it stops you from releasing your anger and chokes your heart
- When you are confusing forgiving with accepting someone’s mistake
- If the society is making pressure on you
- You don’t need to forgive just because you’re being judged
- Just focus on finding yourself first
- Also don’t judge the people who couldn’t forgive and never advise them to forgive
Do not be so cruel to yourself and to others to force forgiveness when it is not even right. One more word of advice: do not judge others if they are finding themselves unable to forgive. Rather, you should try to find ways to help them in healing their wounds.
Plus, If you are being forced forgiveness, just refuse it! Just do whatever makes you happy, in what you get mental peace.
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