February 2018
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realization about Anika / forgiveness

I was just thinking about Anika the other day, and I realized something that made me so happy. I'm not bitter! and I'm no longer angry. I've forgiven her (not for her sake, but for my own). As my counselor told me once, forgiveness means giving up your right to be paid back -- it's cancelling the debt owed for the pain caused (whether the pain is intentional or not). It's not for the other person's sake, it's for your own. I can either sit here and wait and wait for something that probably will never happen (and in some cases, like my dad, isn't possible -- he could serve me without fail for the rest of his life and it wouldn't make up for it) or I can cancel the debt myself and be free. In order to let go of the pain and be fully healed, I have to close out the emotional transaction. It bothers me that I haven't forgiven my dad completely, because I know that is holding me back and keeping me trapped in some ways, but I just haven't managed to do it yet. Maybe I need a father figure to fill some of the debt before I can cancel the rest. I don't think I have enough emotional capital to cancel that debt right now.

I can tell that I have forgiven her because I no longer feel pain at being closed out of her life, and I know that if she came to me and said, "let's start over and be friends again," I might be willing to do that. It would depend on how positive of a person she was at that time, but I wouldn't hold any of the past as a reason to say yes or no. I feel relieved to know this. I have no regrets; I am glad we had a friendship, glad I gave to her, and glad it ended. It was just time. Goodbye Anika, thank you for being a part of my life for the time that you were.

I used to think that forgiveness was a simple decision, make it and you're done. Now I think that the simple decision is the seed, and once planted it has to be nourished in order to blossom. If the wound was more than superficial, forgiveness takes time to develop -- and I think that the nourishment necessary is the love of others. Thank you, my amazing loving friends, for helping me get to this point. I would be so much less without you. ♥

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paradigm_shift ══╣╠══
I like your idea/your therapist idea of forgivness as forgiving their emotional debt to you. You are so right about that. It is hard for me to let go of things. My nature is to make sure that justice is served in the world and that bad acts are outed, so naturally this causes problems for me in relationships. I am not even talking to half of my dads side of the family for almost 2 years now, because they did and said hurtful things to me. It's been 2 years and I'm still not ready to forgive. I know one thing- I dont miss having them in my life! So I dont think it's a bad thing.

I too struggle with forgiving my father for things he did to my family and I during my younger/not so younger years. I struggle with this everyday, because it affects my relationships with other men around me. As he has gotten older (he will turn 70 this month) he has started having a lot of health problems. He just got diagnosed with cancer and I was going to post about it today. As his health fails I find it harder and harder to be angry with him, since I might lose him.
lilerthkwake ══╣╠══
I read an excellent book called When Forgiveness Doesn't Make Sense, which you may also find interesting. I learned a lot about forgiveness in my time at Christ Church, and a lot more about it after I left and had to forgive all the folks that had taught me! I really believe that you have to feel your negative emotions fully and not deny them before you can truly move on. At least, that's how it's been for me. That simple act of saying, "I forgive so-and-so" can't really cut the mustard, ESPECIALLY if the injury is HUUUUGE. But the desire is there.
belenen ══╣honesty╠══
That's what I'm saying, the choice is just the beginning, you still have to process and heal from the wounds. And forgiveness and trust are two TOTALLY separate things. I might be friends again with Anika if she wanted, but I would be much more cautious in how much of my heart I shared with her. And even when I get to the point that I forgive my dad, I seriously doubt that I will ever trust him. Forgiveness isn't discounting the pain or denying it -- it's saying, 'yes, you hurt me, but I am not expecting you to pay me back or make it up to me.'
gods_ornament ══╣╠══
meganlynnangela ══╣╠══
I just wanted to thank you for posting this. There's been someone who's hurt me and it still causes me so much anxiety, and I've wanted to forgive him but couldn't figure out what that meant. With your definition, I think I just realized that I *have* forgiven him...it's just that we go to the same school, and it's fairly big but not that big, so I never know when I'll see him around, and yeah, it's someone I will never, never trust again, so...well he's graduating this year and I'm not so I'll never have to see him again, so I can rest knowing that I've forgiven him and soon the anxiety will be over.

sidheblessed ══╣╠══
:) I' glad you could forgive Anka. Letting go feels so much better than holding onto hurt.
misemifein2 ══╣╠══
I'm glad you feel this way, it must make things a lot happier to look back on. I think you may be right about it taking tme to develop, maybe because it is an emotional thing, and emotional things are different than decisions, (I don't mean the word decisions there, I mean another word, the things when you make decisions, I think). Bad at words.

But I was wondering, this emotional debt thing, how does that work for forgiving people for things they have done to others. I mean if someone hurt my brother, it is not a debt theey owe me, but one that they owe my brother. It seems somehow wrong that I could forgive that person before my brother. Though I'm not sure about that. Maybe I should not have anything to forgive. Maybe you are not in a position where you can forgive then. Maybe just have dislike for that person, that makes sense, I suppose, forgiving someone doesn't make you like them.

Forgiveness is a tricky issue for me to get my head around, apparently. Nonetheless, I think it is good to have forgived, good for you, good for any future relationship with Anika. Is a wonderful thing, on reflection, really is. Makes everything so much better. :)
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.