It is impossible to go through life without experiencing our fair share of hurts and betrayals. You just never know who might turn their back against you when you need them the most, be it a partner/spouse, family member, colleagues or even someone you consider your closest friend.
There is no certainty at all that people will not hurt you. But it also doesn’t mean that we withdraw from society and relationships altogether. We live and we learn and soon enough we all get used to life the way it is- extremely unfair.
But the question is, what to do once you have been betrayed?
What do you say to the person who broke your trust and caused you to hurt?
Is there anything that can be said or done that will undo the damage?
Well, if there is, that is great for you and your relationship with the other person. But most of the time, we are not ready to process and move past the hurt that has been caused to us. That attitude is wrong. And sometimes, we are so attached to the wrongdoer that no matter what they do, we keep giving them numerous chances. That approach is wrong as well.
You see we need to forgive other people because that is the only way we can make peace with whatever it is that happened and move on with our life. At the same time, we need to draw the line when it comes to people who have hurt us (that too willfully) in the past.
You don’t owe anyone second chances. Your first and foremost priority should be you yourself and your mental and physical well being.
Forgiveness is not Second Chances
When you do decide to forgive someone, don’t do it because you two are close relatives or work together and thus it would be awkward if you don’t. Do it because you want to rid yourself if that bad experience. Do it because you want to liberate yourself from the bad memories which will no doubt bring you down if you let them. Do it because you don’t want to remain bitter, and by doing so you will free yourself from the last hold that this particular person had on you.
Forgiveness is for self-healing
But forgiving can be tough. It is not the easiest thing to do, but no matter how much it hurts, it will feel better once you are done with it. That is how healing can actually begin. Remember the band-aid metaphor in such situations. But forgiving someone is not be confused with forgetting whatever they did to you and giving them a second chance to repeat history.
Forgiveness is not Forgetting
When you let go of the hurt, you need to also learn to let go of the person. Do not let them have a say in your life. Sometimes in doing so, we fear that we will be labeled as spiteful. Keeping yourself first is not spiteful. The most obnoxious and at the same time hilarious complaint that I hear from cheating husbands is when they say “If she’d truly forgiven me, she’d let me back in her life”. That is bullshit. Why is she supposed to uphold your marriage and your bond together when you didn’t give two hoots about it before putting it at stake?
Why is it that the person who has been hurt, is also supposed to be the one to keep everything together?
Why should he/she have to sacrifice his/her emotions and mental health when the other person clearly didn’t care about any?
So don’t let yourself be guilt-tripped into having those people in your life you have caused your heartbreak and tears. Forgiveness means that you don’t hold a grudge against that particular person. It says nothing about having to love them as before.
When you choose to forgive someone, you are choosing self-healing. And thus, if maintaining your distance from that person is a part of your self-healing, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You don’t owe it to anyone to explain your ways when nobody bothered to pay the same courtesy to you.