September 3rd, 2021
I used to think I understood the phrase “forgive but don’t forget” but now I’m not so sure.
Because how can something be forgiven if it can and will be brought up at any time?
This isn’t a simple topic but I’ve been thinking about it a lot so here I am, etching it in the corner of the internet’s desk.
It’s been on my mind because I’ve had to do a lot of work in order to be able to forgive myself.
For most of my life, before I was even able to consider forgiving myself for anything, someone would have to forgive me first. This is a bad system. I wouldn’t even call this line of thinking flawed; it is absolutely broken.
But when you hate yourself, it makes sense. You need to get permission from who the bad things hurt in order to say it’s okay that the bad things happened.
Except that’s not forgiveness.
Forgiveness happens when you say it was never okay for the bad things to happen, but you acknowledge that they did and that you were wrong for doing them. I believe that regret isn’t all bad; generally, it’s hard to learn from something if you don’t regret it.
But forgiveness means it is finished. Forgiveness means you get back up, you move on, you realize how valuable you are, you reiterate that it not your mistakes, defects, flaws, or bad days that define you.
Someone who says they forgive you and then brings up the things that they have allegedly forgave you for might actually have forgiven you, but they are also trying to prevent you from forgiving yourself.
I know this now. And it’s why I can forgive myself anyway.
It’s not selfish to want to keep growing and changing and to be a better person. It’s not ignoring the past if you’ve adequately dealt with the things that you’ve done and want to embrace your future.
It is not bad to forgive yourself when someone else won’t. Because the act of forgiveness means you admit that you have done something wrong.
There’s so much projection going around today and I don’t have anything to add to the multitude of debates and discussions (and I’ve made myself very clear of where I stand on many occasions). I wanted to write something pointing to our insides.
You can breathe. You can be okay with your missteps and sprained ankles and toes that you’ve stepped on, intentionally or not.
You are worthy of being forgiven. And the most important person who will ever forgive you is you.