The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget. – Thomas Szasz
None of us is perfect – we all make mistakes and bad judgement calls that may hurt people around us.
So it makes sense to wonder why we don’t forgive more often – we all make these mistakes – then again, what does forgiveness actually mean assuming one is even aware that they had made a mistake?
I will use observation from my mom’s life to elaborate on what I saw forgiveness to be in “action”.
Some hurt others in silence through body language, some hurt through words, and some hurt through action.
I must admit that my mom did not give much time or thought to those who hurt her in silence. She literally seldom even noticed and if she did, she ignored it and came up with excuses why people behaved the way they did.
Forming the minority of cases, and while action never involved anything violent, those who hurt her in action – for example, be it cutting her off or refusing her generosity or misjudged her – was embarrassing to her. Yet, I can honestly say that she stood tall and strong towards such people and literally did not react back, retaliate or confront.
Was she hurt? Absolutely especially when done in front of others.
Majority of cases involved hurt through words as people get angry and lose control of what they say – like we all do at times. As hurtful as they were at times, she never followed up and usually acted as if these words were never said, in other words, she did not linger on and focus on what was said. Again, she moved on.
So was she not hurt? Of course she was – but she was not going to demand an apology – the apology had to come from the person.
So what is forgiveness when it comes to those who hurt us? It is what is common in all three cases.
- She rarely complained to others;
- Never closed the door for their return or apology;
- Greeted them when she met them;
- Always said truth when asked; but
- The key in all is that she kept her guard up to maneuver repeated hurtful actions and found ways to avoid being in similar situations, in other words, she learned from her experiences.
So while forgiveness is not easy, what I saw from my mom is that forgiveness is quite simple, and while others may hurt us – we also may hurt others – even if unintentional.
My mom taught me that …
Forgiveness is leaving the door open, not complaining, learning from hurtful experiences and … moving on.
Image courtesy of njaj / freedigitalphotos.net