I have a confession to make — I’m terrible at forgiving. Actually, I’m the Queen of Unforgiveness. The likelihood of me forgiving someone who has wronged me is very close to none, and II regularly hold grudges for years. It’s not that I purposely try not to forgive (or forget) wrongdoings, it’s just that I can’t. It seems that I’m simply not capable of forgiveness, in any real sense.
Now before you start wondering if you’ve ever done something wrong to me, I’ll add that it takes a bit of work for me to reach the point of not forgiving. Some say three strikes and you’re out, but I probably give many more chances than that. A person would have to make a concerted effort to bother me enough to reach the point of being “out”. In fact that’s probably part of the reason I rarely forgive people — if someone has reached that point, the way I see it, they don’t deserve forgiveness.
Another reason I don’t and won’t forgive is that I simply don’t see how it would benefit anyone. I’ve observed that few of the people I’ve not forgiven have any wish to be forgiven by me– they don’t care. They don’t apologize, and usually believe they were somehow justified in what they did. This makes it even harder to feel the need to forgive them. And I wonder: can you actually forgive someone who is not sorry?
I know it’s commonly believed that holding a grudge only hurts you. Maybe it does — if you constantly think about how you were wronged. But if you don’t think about it often it simply is. When or if you must face the person or situation again, the resentment might arise, but if in your daily life you don’t dwell on it, why let go? Grudges are rarely in the forefront of my mind, so they don’t hurt me.
Yet however my many reasons not to forgive, I still believe that forgiveness is theoretically a good thing. So I try to forgive, on a regular basis. But I can’t. Each time I think of forgiving, I remember what happened, and something in me says, “No, never.” Having a long memory works against forgiveness — I can’t forget a thing, so I can’t forgive. But maybe a person can only keep so much resentment in the back of their mind before space runs out and it becomes an issue for them. So I try to understand forgiveness and learn to forgive.
Does anyone else have trouble forgiving? Or have tips on how to forgive?