It's the age old quest: Should I forgive *Insert name here* for what he/she did to me? There is no simple answer to that question because the only one who can forgive this individual for his/her transgressions against you, is you. I can offer advice as to what forgiveness entails and whether you should forgive, but at the end of the day, forgiveness is a choice that you have to make.
I can name off the top of my head six individuals who have hurt me deeply at some point in my life. When I say deeply, I mean that this hurt cut the very essence of who I am as a human being. These individuals made me question who I am, what I am. These individuals hurt me in ways that no one else ever has. I tell this story not to call them out or even hint at who they are. I tell this story so that you can see why I value forgiveness.
I am immeasurably grateful to those who have hurt me. It sounds unthinkable. Why would I be grateful to be hurt? While you are in pain, and when you ponder the possibility of someone who you value hurting you, you fear it. You dread it. You cannot imagine ever healing from that pain. It's hard to heal. Harder than I think words can explain. But you do heal eventually. When you do, you realize just how strong of a person you are. You realize just how strong you became through that circumstance. That's why I grateful to those who hurt me. They taught me strength and dignity.
I chose to forgive these individuals for reasons that people often don't understand. I didn't forgive them because I felt I had to in order to give myself peace. I forgave them to move on. Without forgiveness, we carry around the weight of boulders on our chests. Without forgiveness, we are constantly pulling bandages off our wounds before they have time enough to heal. I choose to forgive people who do me wrong because carrying a grudge does nothing to change the evil that controls their hearts. Some people are religious, some are not. Me? I am. I learned by the Grace of God that forgiveness is often the answer to finding inner peace. Maybe you don't share that belief. That is your choice. I won't stop forgiving though. Maybe I forgive too easily and too much. In fact, I do. But I also don't forget.
It's up to you whether you forgive other people, but it's equally, if not more, important to remember to forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Forgiveness, doesn't always bring peace. Sometimes, forgiveness gives you the ability to move forward from whatever past event/person haunts you the most. Forgive and cut that tie. Forgive, and float away into a refreshed perspective and outlook on life.
I can't tell you how to forgive, or even that you should. But I can tell you that forgiveness made me a better person because it helped me move on. Since forgiving these six individuals, I no longer relive the pain that they caused. It took me years and years to choose to forgive those who hurt me the most. For a while, the thought of leaving the memories behind scared me. I didn't want to move on. But I realized that I was only holding myself back, and taking away possibilities of my future. Forgiveness is what set me free. Maybe you're like me, maybe you're not. Just remember that forgiveness is always an option.