The technical definition of the word forgive is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
In my little mind, I always thought when you forgave someone, you let go of the anger, overlooked the wrong and reverted back to your sentiments prior to the offense. But the last part isn’t necessary. In actuality, you can forgive someone and they don’t even have to know. I literally did not know the true meaning until I looked up the definition just a few days ago.
So my thought process basically went like this:
First, I looked back on several situations where I was wronged, forgave the person and continued forth with our relationship only to get hurt yet again and the cycle basically repeated.
Then I wondered why I would do this over and over and not realize that it was a pattern?!?
That led to research on co-dependency because it seemed like a possible explanation for my actions. This term is pretty self explanatory but I learned that it is a behavior that is passed down usually through generations and basically boils down to putting a relationship or another person before your own well-being. Co-dependents identify love as being needed, they latch onto needy people and develop toxic relationships that create feelings of helplessness. Several different articles I read mentioned the word “maryter” and how a co-dependent person feels as if they are a maryter. Lordy. I could show you probably a thousand journal entries over the course of my life where I have written the phrase “I will die a maryter.”
It just blows my mind when I think about all the therapists I have been to that never helped me put all this together. Now that I have had my “ah-ha” moment, it seems so obvious and simple but it has taken 28 years to realize.
It’s a small step in the right direction.
Philosophers and self help gurus swear that forgiveness is the key to healing and self growth. Any mental health professional will tell you the same. I originally started this post with the intentions of warning everyone struggling with forgiveness not to waste their time because it doesn’t make you feel better but my sentiments have changed. You can forgive someone without them ever apologizing and it doesn’t mean that you have to remain friendly with them after the fact. And that for some reason is extremely liberating to me and I hope if you are struggling to forgive someone, maybe this angle will be to your advantage as well.