The importance of these things called boundaries.
You may have heard me say this before, and if you’re unlucky, you may have experienced this on yourself: I’m not a person known to be forgiving. In fact, one of my go-to sayings is that I don’t forgive as a habit, and forget exactly nothing.
Here’s the thing: every religion espouses forgiveness as a virtue. Every philosopher I know of has preached at least one course on forgiveness as a necessity.
No, no, no, and no. They are wrong. They are all 100% wrong, and I will explain to you why.
Forgiveness is not a virtue. Forgiveness actually is allowing a person who has wronged you to think that they can do it again. If not to you, then certainly to somebody else. Forgiveness means allowing people to see that they can do whatever they want to you and know that they will get away with it. Why? Because they know you to be forgiving. This is an easy way to take advantage of someone’s nature.
I have no idea why people equate not forgiving someone with holding a grudge. That’s not correct. When you refuse to forgive someone, it does not at all equate to holding a grudge. There’s a huge, massive difference between a lack of forgiveness and a grudge. Oh, everyone holds grudges to one degree or another. That’s just what human nature is. But forgiveness is something that’s a human invention, and it’s greatly foolish to equate an absence of forgiveness with a grudge. It’s entirely possible to never forgive someone and never think of them again.
What not forgiving actually does is set a boundary for yourself and sets a standard for the treatment you do and/or don’t accept.
I bet y’all didn’t think about that, did you?
You didn’t consider that refusing to forgive someone is part and parcel of drawing boundaries, and is an essential part of boundaries overall?
You didn’t think that refusing to forgive someone who wronged you actually sends a message that you’re not to be wronged, or messed with?
You didn’t possibly consider that people who do badly by others are very likely to do it again, and there’s nothing at all wrong with cutting them out of your life and holding to it?
Then I suggest you begin to re-evaluate exactly what you were taught about boundaries, respect, consideration, and quality of people.
Never assume that just because someone is refusing to be “forgiving” that they’re selfish, bitter, grudgey, vengeful, etc. You don’t know what their reasons are for not forgiving someone. You don’t know what led them to the point where they said no and stuck by that no. You simply do not know what their situation is, but please don’t get sanctimonious on them. Your faith is yours – and their circumstances are such that they do not agree with you. It isn’t your place to question why someone’s forgiveness tether had snapped, but you do need to know that those tethers do not grow back.
I, for one, don’t forgive because I know, through repeated experience, that if I do forgive someone, they generally go right back to the same behavior that had them needing forgiveness in the first place. I’ve had one experience too many with giving people second chances for them to blow up in my face later to go down the same path again.
As I always say: when you step on a rake, the handle will always fly up and smack you in the head. So why would you ever step on the same rake twice?
My boundaries are more important than someone’s need for forgiveness, or their feelings, or their sense of validation. Sorry but not at all sorry. I don’t give a damn whom I offend or piss off by cutting them or someone they’re affiliated with out of my life. Why? Because in my life, my boundaries are hugely damned important, and there’s no person on the face of the earth who’s immune from that. You can be the Queen of England, and I would still cut you off without a backwards glance if I find that you bring chaos to the table.
Leave the “forgive and forget” at the door. I don’t forgive. I never forget. And I am a staunch believer that karma always comes full circle.