Why It's Important To Forgive But Not Forget

It’s Totally Possible, And OK, To Forgive—But Not Forget

Refusing to forgive and refusing to forget are NOT one and the same.

375
views

"Forgive and forget," a common enough phrase—one which I feel is overused due to its simple flow and catchy phrasing, not to mention people love alliteration. Regardless, it's thrown around too generally and preaches a message which is completely adverse when it comes to one's own sanity.

I agree with the first half of the saying—forgive. There's no point in bearing a grudge, it clogs up your memory with negativity, something that should be dispelled, not held in. Moreover, forgiving is healthy! According to the Mayo Clinic the benefits of forgiveness include:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Improved mental health
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • A stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health
  • Improved self-esteem --- you can read the article here.

With so many positive side effects, its hard to imagine why exactly people have such a hard time forgiving. Yet many find it exceptionally difficult.

Forgiveness is never easy, especially if you effortlessly hold a grudge. Either way, it's important to recognize the futility in holding onto anger, desires of revenge, etc…

By clinging to this hostility, refusing to forgive, the only person you're hurting is yourself.

Yet the second half, I just can't uphold—forget. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results:" a quote famously misattributed to Albert Einstein, but actually originated by Rita Mae Brown. It's origin is beside the point, but what does this all-too-common saying have to do with "forgetting?"

When you forget, you essentially "forget" the person ever wronged you, "forget" she has a tendency to lie or cheat or utter harsh words or stab you in the back. You "forget" he is capable of harming you.

The quote could be: "Insanity is choosing to forget the same thing over and over again and expecting a change of character:" Allowing the same person to treat you the same way over and over again, yet expecting things to be better.

When someone repeatedly makes the same hurtful decisions, you can be pretty sure it's just in their character—a trait that probably won't change anytime soon.

The fact of the matter is, forgetting opens you up to vulnerability. Sure, there are certain circumstances in which it's totally fine to forget—your sister steals your shirt, your best friend says something hurtful, your boyfriend does something mean. When to forget is open to your judgement. If you ask me: base forgiveness on the severity and \ number of occurrences.

If you continually "forget," you leave yourself vulnerable to suffering the same treatment at the hands of the same person. Insanity.

By forgetting the way(s) someone has treated you in the past, the only person you're hurting is yourself.

Refusing to forgive and refusing to forget are NOT one and the same. Refusing to forgive means holding onto a grudge, allowing negativity to permeate your life. Refusing to forget means sparing yourself from the same maltreatment you've suffered in the past.

So next time someone urges you to forgive and forget, remember that it's okay not to forget—you're not vengeful or resentful, you're simply protecting yourself from a toxic person.

Cover Image Credit:

https://unsplash.com/photos/zQQ6Y5_RtHE

Popular Right Now

If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
153562
views

Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Being Ugly

What it means to me

52
views

Due to a series of ongoing events throughout my semester, I've reconsidered what it means for someone to truly be ugly. Though it is often used in terms of appearance, I do not see it as such-- now more than ever. Ugliness runs deeper than appearance-- it runs within one's soul and festers into other areas of one's life, particularly in their treatment of others.

I view ugliness as someone's conscious capacity and implementation of malice. Taking time and energy out of your day to hurt someone else, that's what I view as ugly. Some offenses are more minor than others, however, it is still a conscious effort to hurt or affect someone else negatively-- and that's the source of the problem. I truly wonder what causes that sort of behavior in someone, as I, along with most people, simply do not invest time or energy into hating or plotting against others. It seems like a full-time job.

I can theorize all sorts of reasons as to why someone would act this way: hate, jealousy, vengeance, etc. Yet, all of these reasons don't hit the root reason. It almost seems that some people are just innately ugly in their soul. This alludes to the timeless debate of whether one's personality is due to nature or nurture. Again, although our surroundings and environment do have a large effect in our behavior, that alibi only goes so far when multiple people are placed in the same environment, in the same situation, and only some are willing to cross moral boundaries in order to hurt the others. Just because an environment applies pressure to people, does not mean everyone is going to act out in malice, and it certainly does not give everyone an excuse to do so. Some people are simply conniving and, well, ugly inside.

If you have ever encountered people like this, I know from personal experience that it is such a drag. You have an enemy, essentially, whether you chose to or not, however based on their hatred towards you, they are now considered an enemy, a hater, and any other associated term. Know that they will do anything in their power to bring you down, even if it requires bending the truth and creating elaborate schemes, but you have to keep on doing you. Let them obsess over ways to bring you down. At the end of the day, their time and energy is being invested into bringing you down, while yours is being used to build yourself up. They will fall by default. So, keep your head high, act in grace, and make your money. They can sip on their Haterade and watch from below.

Related Content

Facebook Comments