Forgive and forget or forgive, but don’t forget…..

This is inspired by an article I read earlier. It was about the art of paying attention. I decided to write about something that we use in our everyday lives. I thought about how we use it, why we use it, what does it mean when we use it, and how our tone shapes the way we use it.

In my opinion, a majority of us think about forgiving and forgetting in this way:

When you forgive, you free yourself…..

Some also believe that forgetting will free you too…..

……does it?

Forgive and forget has their fair share of meanings and they pretty much mean the same thing. Both words express “letting go”. If you look deep enough, you’ll find “forgive” in “forget” and vice versa.

When we say “forgive and forget” or “forgive, but don’t forget”, what are we telling one another? Let go and let go? Or are we saying to “stop the blame and don’t remember”? Is that the same thing or does one have a stronger meaning than the other. There are so many combinations that can run us in circles.

I always thought when you truly forgive someone, it frees you. It removes the animosity you have towards the individual that caused the negative impact. It prevents you from bringing that anger to your new relationships and situations.

I always took forgetting as leaving behind the past and never looking back.

Let’s talk about relationships…

If you walk into another relationship (personal or professional) and you are overcome by anger when approaching a situation similar to the one that ended negatively, you haven’t forgiven the other person/people and/or yourself. There is more to leaving a bad thing in the past than just walking away. You have to face it, not let it hold you back, or scare you.

There are a few things you should walk yourself through in order to let go:

Get a better understanding of why it happened. Ask the right questions.
Be ready take responsibility for your role in this situation. How did your involvement impact decisions made by others?
Be sure you’re upset for the right reasons and with the right people.
Listen to those involved and get their point of view. Put yourself in their shoes.
Put it together and come to a conclusion. It was either something that could or could not be controlled. If it was preventable, take note of it and prepare for it in the future. If it couldn’t be controlled, chalk it up to, “the things that could happen,” and take note of it. Don’t let it discourage you.
Forgive yourself first, forgive those involved, but never forget what happened.

…and of course, there’s this one…

“If anyone asks, we never had this conversation.”

That means, “Remember this conversation when you need to, but forget it when you have to.”

Apply that same concept. Don’t let it work against you, make it work for you. When you learn to forgive and not forget, you’ll be better prepared for the future.

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