I think a lot of times people get confused between two words: forgive & forget.
Forgiving means you stop blaming and being angry at someone that has wronged you. Most people view forgiving as an act that is done to free oneself of anger, bitterness, sadness, etc. for something that was done to them. Nowhere in the dictionary or the bible or any poetry books does the word forgive mean to forget the wrong doing.
I don’t believe any of us ever forget, especially when something has been so painful and deeply hurt us, like a betrayal of love, a lie that leads to considerable damage, etc. Small things, like calling someone a bad name, that can most likely be forgotten, but in the largest matters of the heart (love), we never forget.
Over time the memory may get easier to live with. We may find that it doesn’t knock the breath out of us anymore when we remember, that it doesn’t stop us from eating, or functioning in reality when we remember. But nevertheless, the memory is still there.
Sometimes even the best meaning people that want to love us with all their heart, simply can’t because they can’t forget how we wronged them. They can forgive, but the memories are just too painful and continue to haunt them every time they look at us.
Some loves go so wrong that even after years of attempting to fix them, years of trying desperately to make things work, they just can’t. But at what point do you put a stop to it? 10 years, 20, 35? I’m not sure the answer for anyone, because I know everyones threshold of tolerance and pain are different. But if you are truly trying and you’ve asked forgiveness, that’s all you can do. The other parties involved, either choose to stay around you, or they don’t. But if they do choose to stay, even after something very painful has been done to them, then the “throwing it in your face” has to stop. Every little argument cannot erupt with bringing up what was done in the past to use to destroy the other person that has already asked forgiveness.
To continue to allow someone to break you down over and over again after they’ve repeatedly told you they love you and have forgiven you is just allowing damage to yourself that you’re not going to be able to repair unless you walk away.
You don’t want to walk away because you blame yourself. You understand to some degree the other persons hurt, after all, you’re the one that caused it. You live with guilt every day, even without the other person reminding you of it. But once you’ve done all you can, there’s just no more you can do, and as painful as it may be, both parties need to put an end to the pain and do their best to move on.
I am of course, as most of you guessed, writing this from a personal level. I caused a great deal of pain to someone that I love, something that I’ve known from the beginning would never be able to forget, let alone forgive. I did my best, read all the self help books to try and be the best person I could be. Tried to love him so hard that he would hopefully be able to love me in return, while forgetting slowly the pain I inflicted, but it’s all to no avail. I’m terrible at letting go, I’ll fight my way through a tiger cage most times, but I have found that I can only be broken so many times. He’s reminded me time and again what a terrible person I am, how I’ve ruined my family, how I’ve totally killed him, and in the end, he’s won. I live with guilt every single day, things I can never fix, things I can’t take back, feelings I can’t undo for anyone involved.
I’ve thrown all the self love books away, because I’ve read so many, and still don’t love myself. How can I when I’ve hurt everyone around me. But I’ve also come to realize that he doesn’t deserve anymore pain, and the least amount of pain is going to come when I let go of a dream to reconcile my family and just let him go, wishing him to find peace in his life without me.
The poem I wrote on this subject several years ago:
“She lives with sins that she thinks are unforgivable, she’s been trying for years to forget that love that remains unforgettable. She judges herself too hard, her struggle is real. Some days she is strong, her soul tries not to feel, but some nights she loses the battle, for the heart has its own will…” -Amy-
I hope you all find peace, whether it is in forgiving someone else or asking forgiveness from someone. Just don’t forget, if you are the one forgiving, and you choose to stay, regardless of what’s been done, then you must let it go. You cannot continue to bring up the past and attack and break down the person that’s begging your forgiveness. If you can’t do that, then leave…
Cause I’m not there yet, but perhaps Soon Enuff…