Is It Possible To Forgive And Forget?

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Forgive and Forget Scales of JusticeHolding a grudge is one of the most unhealthy things a person can do to his or herself.  Letting a grudge fester will slowly eat away at you until it increase the amount of stress in your life.  It also severely limits, or totally eliminates the amount of joy in your life. If that is the case, how are we supposed to stop holding grudges?  Its amazing how many times the answer to that question is to forgive, and forget.

Forgive and Forget

There is a sort of an ironic humor in sayings like, “let’s forgive and forget.”  because its just not that easy for most people.  Think about most situations where forgiveness is required.  Are those situations the easy ones to forget in life, or are they the situations that burn themselves into your brain?  If they effect you in such a deep way, how can you be expected to just forget about it?

I am quite sure there are some people who can truly forgive and forget, but for the average person, forgiving and forgetting isn’t just unrealistic, its next to impossible. Most of the time the issue(s) has to be dealt with to truly move past it. If it isn’t dealt with, it will eventually turn in to a grudge due to the length of time it has continued to fester. You might even think you are past whatever the issue(s) was, or that you have “forgiven and forgotten”, when your partner makes a flippant comment that brings it all rushing back, taking you right back to square one emotionally.

Can Forgiveness Be Learned?

Learning to forgive is a skill that can be improved on with practice.  As you improve your ability to forgive you will reap all kinds of personal benefits.  The amount of happiness in your life will begin to increase. Your stress levels will begin to fall, which will help lower your blood pressure and strengthen the functions of your immune system.

Human beings are social creatures by nature. Holding a grudge has a natural anti-social side effect to it. Its hard to go through life in an open state of being when you are obsessing over a wrong someone did to you. When you learn to forgive, those bonds begin to repair themselves.

To begin forgiving and moving on, you do not have to stop being angry right away, or ever excuse the behavior. In reality, unconditional forgiveness is a pipe dream. Would you unconditionally forgive your spouse for cheating on you repeatedly? Its doubtful. You are more likely to decide to work on forgiving him while you are waiting for your divorce to become final. The forgiveness comes when you decide to not carry the baggage caused by his actions into your next relationship.

Forgiveness is not just a concept, its a life skill that can be improved upon with work. Don’t let people fool you with concepts like unconditional forgiveness, and forgive and forget. They are both great in theory, but human beings just don’t work that way. There are very few of us capable of detaching from our emotions like that. Forgiveness is possible with work.  Forgetting, on the other hand, depends on the person, and on the situation.  Some people who were wronged may be able to forget their spouses actions sometime in the future, while others may be able to forgive, but never able to forget.

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