Why Forgiveness Does Not Require Reconciliation For Peace Of Mind

by Lauren Nguyen

When people interpret the term “second chances” in a broken relationship, they define it as welcoming the wrongdoer back with open arms, no harm or foul done.

This isn’t necessarily the case.

Although we wish we could be just as quick to forgive as a loyal canine, we humans hold true to the cliché, “Forgive but never forget.” Let’s expand on this.

Forgiving the other person doesn’t translate into giving a get-out-of-jail-free card. It doesn't necessarily mean you are taking someone back and suppressing this event from your memory. Let's be honest with ourselves: No one has an off-switch to completely erase cringe-worthy moments from his or her consciousness. (Although, that'd sure come in handy.)

It's about accepting that the event occurred, absorbing it as a learning experience, then relieving yourself of any residual bitterness. In essence, let it go. Second chances should be about moving forward, not backwards.

How many times have you heard, let’s “get back to how we used to be?" Whether that line came straight from your significant other’s mouth or countless television dramas, it’s not realistic.

The fault in this mentality of taking someone back for a second chance is most people do not take the right steps to truly learn from the situation. Eventually, they just take the person for granted all over again.

If the cycle is going to repeat itself all over again, some may be better off apart.

Rewinding to the euphoric state preceding the fallout of your relationship is nearly impossible. The reality of it is, both you and the opposite party will never be the same following this event. Perceptions are altered toward one another.

Reuniting in that relationship may even result in a higher chance of guilt-tripping and grudge-bearing than if you were to remain separated. Progression leads to growth, which requires change. If you relapse and practice bad habits, you’re setting yourself up for destruction.

Forgiveness requires only you.

We’re normally exposed to the dialogue structured in an A to B, then B to A format, initiated with the word, “Sorry.” This is one form that can take place, but it doesn’t account for many of the complex factors forgiveness entails.

One of the great aspects of forgiving someone is it’s not mandatory for apologies and words to be exchanged.

Forgiveness is a concept developed from within. It does not require more than one party: yourself. It doesn’t even require that long, dissected conversation with the other party.

Granted, it’s all situational. One’s story may carry more weight than another’s. Some may be presented with circumstances where it’s easier to forgive than others.

The forgiven may have proven him or herself and earned forgiveness; he or she could have otherwise remained the jerk who screwed you over in the first place. Regardless, forgiveness is for yourself, not the other person. (Although it may relieve him or her of affliction, too.)

You’ve been mistreated, and the least you deserve is peace of mind. Some people may not deserve it, but remember, it’s not equivalent to condoning their wrongdoing.

You are not being naive when you forgive.

Forgiveness is vital so you are not bitter toward the next person you are involved with. When you take this action, it is not a sign of weakness or naivety.

Many view this as losing the upper hand, but it is actually displaying strength. One of the strongest actions a human can take is swallowing one's pride. This is not to excuse what the offender did, but rather, move on from it to rid of negative emotions.

No matter how much this person has wronged you, you are still your worst enemy. Your mind holds more power over you than any external force.

Do yourself the favor and take the courage to ease yourself off the animosity. Grudges are anchors that stunt your well-being. (Sorry, Taylor Swift, holding onto bad blood isn’t as fun as you make it sound.)

When this peak of forgiveness is reached, satisfaction reigns.

Think about all the restrictions your resentment was limiting you from before. Now imagine the absence of these limitations. Feels freeing, doesn’t it? Building this attitude will direct you toward a smarter, more mindful outlook for all your future endeavors.