17 12

Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thing...Somewhere between ignoring the past and wallowing in it there is a place where we can learn from what happened to us, including the inevitable mistakes we have made, and integrate this knowledge into our plans for the future. Inevitably, this process requires some exercises in forgiveness--that is, giving up some grievence to which we are entitled. Gordon Livingston's book, Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now. I post this here as I want a promising future. ๐Ÿ™‚

JGal 7 July 6

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


I have found that forgiveness requires me to understand why someone did the deed that harned. Usually it is mental illness. Easy to forgive but no admittance to my life.


I carry an old old Dear Abby from home to home. It's buried at the moment (moved) but it says something like...if someone hurts you that hurt is like a nail in a wall. You can always remove the nail (forgive) but the nail hole will always be there-a scar if you will, remnants of the act needing forgiveness.
I don't have a problem with anything remotely among "forgive" I'm a runner. If something is too harmful I either run away (travel, move) or I compartmentalize. Take the pain, put it in a box in the corner of my mind and I see the person as "boxed" they cannot hurt me 2ce unless grandkids are involved but I have had to compartmentalize that family as well. Daughter is the bitch from hell... actually I'm more in the "what daughter?" category now.

Perhaps hardest of all is the silence from our child/ren meant to hurt us deeply as parent/ least without grandchildren or good relationships with grandchild/ren the family pain can be smoothed over like that nail hole....the song CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME is my pride in two powerful intelligent beautiful Feminist Atheist women who are giving their best to others but protecting those who hurt me in my exes circles

Triangle relationships can always fail from either angle on our side but are strong when each leg respects the others

@GreenAtheist When I first brought the "thing" home she screamed morning to night (colic) which instead of me being closer to help her-red scrunched face all I see looking at her, I withdrew and actually came to not like her much as a child. She never made ONE friend until she declared she was gay for about 4 yrs, married the gay bar owner and has kids. Go figure that one out..
She's always been a thorn in my side. She has fked me over so many times I can't count. Now she won't even let me go to her house, pick up the kids and take them for an ice cream. It's NOT ME....she's overprotective and I never ever had grandparents rights which freed me from living in NH.


There is no need to forgive. I think this is pushed upon us because of Christianity and the idea that if you do not forgive you may not get into heaven. Often I read of people who claim openly that they forgive the one that murdered their loved one. My first thoughts are "like hell you do!"

If it is all about a personal love relationship of 2 people the stories can vary and be different in many ways. The bottom line is always that both of you ended up going in different directions.


Coming from a religious background where forgiveness was used as a tool to aid in dominating relationships, I'm wary of the subject. I would love to be able to set aside my hated and anger toward my ex-husband so that I can move forward with my life without carrying all that around. But I'm always quick to caution proponents of forgiveness to make sure you are safe first before forgiving someone. If someone has hurt you, forgiveness does not ask you to continue to put yourself in a vulnerable position with them. I believe that you can't truly forgive someone if you aren't safe with them. Part of forgiveness is either placing boundaries on yourself so hurtful behavior can't be repeated or seeing genuine change in the other person so that there is no further danger from them. If you haven't done that, my understanding is that whatever feel good emotions you might be feeling, it isn't really forgiveness.


Forgive, forget, fergedabowdit!


Good luck !


Forgiveness is what healthy people do for themselves harmed by others giving up feelings of revenge

There is something inherent in me that I find it terrifically difficult to forgive and if I say 'I forgive you', it's only superficial because I still know how hurt I was by the act done and it will always be compartmentalized so I'm cautious with my feelings towards that person, almost forever after.
I am, for whatever reason the black sheep in my family and for no singular specific reason done by me. I'm not their flavor. Everyone in my family; brother, sister, both parents, uncles, cousins, grand-people-aunts not so much- have all treated me like a POS.
I don't have time for revenge thinking unless it's how to kill my doctor for not prescribing me pain or sleep meds when I need them. And as an animal control officer I know some pretty nasty people who treat their animals like crap so I have a general mistrust of everyone and lean towards killing animal what purpose do they claim for life?
If someone with no experience says 'I'm going to bread my dog.' I cannot remain in the same 450 yards & they better be able to outrun me.

@K9Kohle789 one at a time when you are ready to let go of all the assholes in life SAY TO YOURSELF WITH EYES CLOSED IN BED READY FOR SLEEP: " I forgive that bastard, not worth another thought 2nite".....make your list of offenders one shorter for your private peace of mind

@GreenAtheist I need to bleach my eyes to erase the poor quality treatment of animals that goes on on a daily basis. Most people never reported neglect to the point of death until long after the event leaving me NO BASIS for arrest or removal of the animal, what animal? The dead & buried one? One breeder complained to her vet a dog had the runs most of his life (he was only 2) and JUST ON HER WORD the vet put down the dog. Pumpkin in food stops this as does Tylan no scrip required.
I happen to know she has Munchkins by proxy & lost custody of her children now deposits her death wish on dogs she breeds. I and a neighbor saved as many as possible which didn't stop her from tying a clients dog in front of her house to a dog house and starving it to death. Owner (never present) was told this and THEN calls me...all I see is a dog house and 4 ft chain. Dog is already gone-no witness. Lots of sleepless nights....need meds to sleep. I can't erase what I've seen/heard, etc. Most of the time I wish I could see what's behind most people's homes and I'm sure I'd have to kill someone. lol.


There are degrees of forgiveness. The utmost form of forgiveness is to not hold grudges -- not even against people who have hurt you or betrayed your trust -- and to continue the relati9onship without anger or permanent damage to the relationship. The second form is conditional forgiveness -- forgiving the person if they state their regret over hurting or betraying you, and act in such a manner as to show that they mean it. The utmost form is foolishness.

The next level down is continuing the relationship down without attempting to punish the offender, but constantly acting with caution and watchfulness, but not attempting the punish. it is difficult to main such a relationship.

The third downward step is not forgiving, but simply trying to expunge the offending person from ones life and mind, without attempting punishment or revenge. Achieving this avoids obsession with the person and the offense(s), and building new relationships to replace the expunged one.

The worst level is absolute obsession with the offense and offender and seeking to exact revenge in any and every way possible. This destroys a person.

I forgive most offenses and offenders easily. Some, however, leave me with such mistrust that I interact with caution and watchfulness. A few, however, leave me with so many deep wounds deliberately inflicted and never acknowledged , that I simply want nothing to with him or her. My first wife is my primary example. I have simply removed her totally from my life and have gone on to build a new life. I will never forgive her, but I do not wish to punish or hurt her.

well expressed.
i never held a grudge against my 1st wife, the miserable, phony bitch.๐Ÿ˜Š

@callmedubious You still hold that grudge .

@Cast1es I don't consider it a grudge. I shut her out because I could not trust her not to deliberately inflict pain when I had any contact with her. I cannot forgive her for willfully and consistently inflicting pain day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. She knew what she was doing and what effect it was having.

@Cast1es ,
well, i was being cynical &, i thought, satirical.
my 1st wife is a nice person despite her sociopathic tendencies.


Yes I forgive myself for trusting and giving another change to people that caused me emotional wounds. Distance and time helped me to recover my willpower. If I let myself feel hate for the people who did me wrong, it's like giving them control over my feelings.

have you tried witchcraft? get a little ugly doll & imagine it's them that you're sticking needles into.

@callmedubious . Thanks for the idea but since I stopped believing in religions and their Gods or whatever is related I don't need to waste my time.

Exactly! I've learned to walk away from toxic people. I give 2nd chances to many. But after that, were done.


I think positivity is at the core of your post. I remember not being ready for so many years so stolidly keepin' on truckin' was the order of the day, just to exist. I wish positivity came for everyone eventually but I'm not sure about that. I'm lucky and I guess you are too. Forgiveness, I think, comes from a good place.

@brentan Thank you for stating the sentiment better than the author. Not all wrongs are forgivable. Of the ones that are ("some grievance" ), give yourself a break and get on with life.


Not sure you can just turn on/off forgiveness, similar to love. Seems more like a process than a decision in my experience.


There is quite a large bit of difference in the forgiveness I give my decades dead parents who I really must now feel had no intention to harm me, but did the best their own wounds allowed.

I will not allow myself to keep digging out those old scars. Forgiveness is for my own sake.

It is quite anther thing to forgive a person whom you fully believe to be telling a full frontal lie to our face and lie down with that fanged thing again.

That's how I see it, too.


I'm not so convinced about that forgiveness thing.
I always felt that a tiger doesn't change it's stripes


There has to be a better word...why should an aggrieved person forgive a perpetrator? They sure didn't give much thought into any words or acts that hurt you or those you love. What are you forgiving them for?

Instead, you should focus on not letting yourself getting eaten up or becoming bitter and angry. I do think this is the letting it go is done, learn, move on.

I see no value to forgiveness. I think it is a construct to permit the same action yet again....let the other person not beg for your forgiveness but instead, promise not to do it again. Put that on them, not on yourself. Giving someone another chance to prove themselves is not forgiveness, it is compassion. You can have that without the other.

I agree with you. I am focused on the part of letting go which is "giving up some grievence to which we are entitled".

I agree

@avron I do believe that you have to do something to not let anyone have a long claim over you when something happens...I would probably use the word "reconciliation" rather than forgiveness...I have seen victims in court forgiving criminals for hurting them and their families and the criminals not really giving a crap...the families almost always feel worse and wish they never said the words "forgiveness" a victim advocate, we want them to express their feelings but tell the criminals that they will not have power over them is difficult to find the right words...they never really "forgive" or forget...they...?????


Nah, I have no intention to "forgive" some things in my life that were done to me intentionally. What I will do is to forgive myself for having stayed in that situation for far too long. I was not strong enough, was bamboozled with lies, did not know where to turn to, did not have anywhere to go, etc, etc. That is why I was unable to leave sooner.


Forgive yes but don't forget.


Whatever works for you.

Personally, I do not believe in forgiveness, at all.
I either get over something, or I don't.
I "forgive" nothing.

Some things that people do are simply unforgivable and no one should ever forgive them.

@Redheadedgammy The thing I've noticed about "forgiveness" is that most of the people who are on the receiving end of that forgiveness, continue the same behavior.
I'd just as soon excise them from my life, get over whatever they did, and move on.
They don't change, as a general rule.

It also puts me in mind of an old saying, "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission."
So basically, instead of asking, "do you mind if I treat you like shit?", they just go right ahead and treat you like shit and hope you're fool enough to forgive them. Fuck that noise.

@KKGator THIS.
Iโ€™ll forget a motherfucker to the end of time, rather than forgive purposeful, repetitive hurtful behavior. I donโ€™t need to forgive to feel โ€˜peaceโ€™. Remorse is demonstrated in actions, which takes time. If I see that, Iโ€™ll look more kindly on that person, but it canโ€™t erase what they did, and that seems to be what too many expect from โ€˜forgivenessโ€™.

@CarolinaGirl60 Exactly.
In my experience, most people have no concept of remorse.
Life is too short for me to wait around to see if they're going to get
their act together. I've wasted enough time doing that to realize it
hardly ever happens.

I can truthfully tell you that I do not miss anyone I've cut out of my life.

@KKGator This is very true. This is another weird thing about religion. Someone stabs you in the back, and you forgive them. Then they stab you in the chest, and you forgive them. Then they stab you in the belly, in the side, and in the face! lol

"Forgive and forget" may work to keep society going if those in the society only occasionally make mistakes. But when "forgiveness" becomes something everyone is supposed to do, the scum of the earth take advantage in the guise of piety.

@greyeyed123 Which is obviously what 45 supporters must be doing.

It's a lesson !

@avron I disagree completely.
Forgiveness and resentment is absolutely NOT an either/or proposition. There is no need to forgive, and that doesn't necessitate carrying resentment.
I don't understand why people don't realize that, and feel they have to opt for the bullshit concept of needing to forgive. It isn't necessary.

@avron I understand what people say it is supposed to be, but I've lived long enough to learn that doesn't have to be the case. Moreover, forgiving someone is more than simply saying so. It's a behavior. And very often that does make one vulnerable again (if you forgive, you trust again)--especially within religious frameworks where "forgiveness" is central, and defined largely by "freeing oneself from resentment/anger".

The mind game is when the framework puts the onus on the victim to fix the problem by forgiving the perpetrator. That is not where the problem lies. Even worse, they will claim Jesus forgives all sins, so the Master and Creator of the Universe has wiped away the wrongdoing against you, so your forgiveness is moot to everyone and everything but you. So, they say, you might as well forgive.

That is all psychologically unsound and philosophically absurd. It is very possible to work through anger and resentment so you come to peace with it and move on in a healthy way, but forgiveness (or forgetting) isn't necessary for that. That part is just a religious mind game.

@avron Again, not an either/or proposition.
Not holding onto anger has nothing to do with whether one is able to let go of a situation of being hurt by anyone else. You can let it go without maintaining anger, or forgiving the offending party.
It's also not about how "tough" one may or may not be.

I'm not trying to influence whatever you do, or don't do.
I am, however, trying to express that "forgiveness", as a concept,
is not necessary for one's own peace of mind.
Changing how we look at letting ourselves off the hook for things OTHER
people do definitely serves ourselves.
"Forgiveness" doesn't even have to be part of the equation.

@avron I think KKGator and I have both explained it pretty well. You can realize there is no point to dwelling on anger and resentment. You can understand why you are angry and resentful until such a time as you are able to put your emotional energy into something else, put your anger and resentment into a functional framework (fighting the "good fight" to prevent similar wrongdoings), etc. None of that requires forgiveness. It's still not ok that someone wronged you. It's still not ok for them to do it again. It's still not ok for you to trust them, treat them as if what they did never happened, etc., or even interact or talk with them ever again. (And it is still not ok for anyone else to do such things in the future.)

"Forgiveness" as it is usually used is to acknowledge that someone wronged you and to declare that it is ok in some way, that the "air is cleared", that the relationship is reset, and normal relations can continue.

If you are using "forgiveness" to mean only letting go of anger and resentment, it is not a definition I would recognize without the elements I outline above. It's the equivocation (between letting go of anger/resentment and "forgiveness" ) that causes the psychologically unsound and philosophically absurd elements.

@avron It's difficult to understand how it is actually forgiveness if you never trust them again. It's like saying, "I forgive you, but I will never trust you again in the same or similar contexts." It's not really forgiveness. You are just saying it is.

Another related point to this discussion is the fact that you could forgive someone (trust them again, let go of your anger, the whole nine yards), and later take that forgiveness back. This has happened to me before where I have forgiven someone, and they do something similar, something in the same vein, even to someone else, and my forgiveness is revoked, along with trust, etc.

I wonder why religious folks never consider that god might revoke their forgiveness, lol.

@Redheadedgammy just don't give a second chance to people who make your life difficult to live.

@avron Indeed. I am referring to the sense of ALL of the synonyms you list. It makes no sense to say
"I pardon you for X, but I will never trust you again."
"I excuse you, but I will never trust you again."
"I exonerate you, but I will never trust you again."
"I absolve you, but I will never trust you again."
"I acquit you, but I will never trust you again."

Do you see the pattern? If you are never trusting them again, you are not really doing any of those things, including forgive them.

Moreover, even in the sense of the definition you cite, if you give up anger and resentment toward someone for doing X...what is the motivation for NOT trusting them again? Wouldn't trusting them again show you really HAD given up anger and resentment? And inversely, wouldn't NOT trusting them again tell them you really HADN'T given up anger and resentment? Actions speak louder than words on forgiveness. (Even Judge Judy tells on-again off-again boyfriends and girlfriends who sue over "loaned" money that if they sleep together again after the "loan", obviously the loan was forgiven. The action demonstrates the forgiveness more conclusively than anything else can.)



Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:370449
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.