Lately I’ve been thinking about forgiveness and trying to define it for myself. It occurs to me that maybe I’ve never really forgiven anyone else OR myself for transgressions, failures, bad things they/I did. The more I tried to come up with a definition of forgiveness, the slipperier it became.
Does it mean restoring the situation back to the way things were before the misdeed? But that can’t really happen, can it? Like the song says, something has been “broken and cannot be mended.” And you don’t really forget, nor should you. Does it only mean “getting past it,” and/or “moving on” leaving the wreckage behind? Not holding a grudge?
I think of stuff I’ve done that didn’t even involve anyone else… stuff from decades ago… and I just cringe and don’t know how to look at these events in any way except with deep regret. I’m not saying I’m a particularly bad person, nor do I obsess over this stuff, but when I do think of it, I dunno, I can’t forgive myself. I’m not talking about evil deeds where malice was intended-- that would be VERY hard to forgive. Just maybe carelessness, or “I should have known better.”
A made-up example (**not **an actual event, but similar to the kind of thing I’m getting at): Let’s say I was taking in your mail while you were out of town and I accidentally set the alarm wrong when I left (due to the fact that I thought I understood your instructions but it turns out I didnt) and you were robbed. Or I was walking your dog and accidentally let go of the leash (due to not having a tight grip on it as I should have had) and the dog ran out in traffic and was killed.
I know someone who wasn’t paying attention in the car (many years ago, long before cell phones) and accidentally hit a person and killed him. HOW would you ever forgive yourself for that?
Then it occurred to me that maybe no one ever really forgives him/herself for stuff, but they just say they do? Do you forgive? Have you forgiven? if so, how, and what was it like?
I do understand that holding a grudge imprisons YOU long after the OP has prolly forgotten the incident, so I get the need for and practicality of doing it. I just don’t understand the HOW of it.