How do you forgive and forget? #Relationships#friendships January 12 | Megan Finley Horowitz meggyfin By: dreamsjung – CC BY 2.0 We've talked a lot about difficult relationships on Offbeat Home — from cutting out family members to staying friends with ex-lovers to how to cope with the ending of a friendship. I've learned a lot from these posts and I'm so glad they're here. But my question comes from the aftermath of not having someone in your life anymore: How do you let go of the animosity or even hatred you feel toward a person who hurt you? What are some suggestions for forgiving people who have hurt you so you can move on with your life and feel more like a responsible adult and less like a petulant teenager with a grudge? -Aurora My favorite sentiment on this issue boils down basically to something Ariel once said about this topic: "When you hold grudges, you’re letting some asshole live rent-free in your brain. Forgiveness = eviction." I like that. It makes sense. But the thing is with me… It works in the opposite manner. Sometimes I think holding grudges like a petulant teenager can actually be helpful. I hold on to grudges just long enough to figure out if I want to have this person in my life and then when I make the decision that I still wanna keep them around, I drop it! I totally let it go. I think that’s one of my many stereotypical dude-like qualities — one day I’m pissed, and the next I’m like, “Whatever, let’s get a beer.” Related Post How can you best relate to friends with imprisoned loved ones? When I found out what had happened I knew my friend would be devastated. Her partner will be in jail for years, not weeks. I... Read more Of course the grudges I do keep? Oh ho! They stick around forever, thereby allowing me to keep the ones who’ve done me wrong completely out of my life. I’m a very weak person in a lot of ways, especially when it means, confrontation and/or saying “no” to people. I often let people who treated me like shit remain in my life because I was afraid of hurting their feelings. So keeping the grudge coals hot inside of me allows me to tell them to “fuck off and keep fucking off.” That’s the long way of explaining that basically, I don’t believe holding grudges is a bad thing — sometimes it’s the best way to keep up boundaries and defenses. However, I too know the pain of the downward shitty thoughts spiral of obsessing over the people who've hurt me. I wish that once I've decided to hold my grudges that I could hold them without letting them take up so much space in my brain parts. Therapy has helped — that's probably my biggest piece of advice. But I ask you, possibly more well-adjusted Homies… Other than professional brain help, what tips do y'all have to let it go, let it goooooooo? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Megan Finley Horowitz When Megan's not writing, traveling, and sleeping, she's eating like the fate of the world depends on it. (You're welcome, world!) You can snoop into her personal life over on her website The Dash and Dine! @meggyfin @thedashanddine @meggyfin PREVIOUS BabyList is the all-encompassing gift registry that even the child-free will love NEXT Impress your friends with easy, gorgeous bruschetta Show/Hide comments [ 42 ] Sometimes, forgiving really isn't the healthiest thing you can do. If it's what you want and need to move on and feel better, then that's great — but don't force it, thinking that forgiveness is the end goal of this difficult process. I'm not saying you need to hold an active grudge and walk around scowling, but accepting that you can't forgive someone (at least maybe not yet?) can be nearly as helpful when it comes to your own peace of mind as forgiving them. Letting go of the animosity and hatred doesn't have to come only with forgiveness. For me, I visualize letting go of any ill-will toward a person, while validating those feelings in myself, and just reaffirming that I don't want to expend the valuable energy hating them, even if I haven't forgiven them. I write their name on a piece of paper and burn it, visualizing my anger toward them burning up and them leaving my thoughts altogether. Then after that's done, if they ever pop into my mind and I react angrily, I remind myself that I've already banished them from my brain and stop the thoughts immediately. So far it's working! 26 agree Reply This is great advice! 2 agree Reply I know this is a few months old but I just wanted to say THANK YOU for putting this into words for me. I've been told by others to 'forgive'. And it all sounds nice but I simply cannot and it's not from a lack of trying. I have gotten to the point where I don't let the bad thoughts about a person fester but I cannot and probably will never forgive. I never saw how this was such a bad thing even though everyone acts like it's the end all be all. I don't WANT to forgive some things. Reply I knew a Grand Master Grudge Holder once. When we were still friends the ferocity of her bitterness was apparent and we all feared it somewhat. Sure enough we had a falling out and her grudge powers turned upon us. It made for a miserable year full of petty fighting and resentment. She was relentless in her search for slights and minor ways of revenge. For a while I almost tried to match her, Dragon Ball Z style, with the negative energy. But… Knowing her pre-falling out and post- gave me some personal insight: Grudges taint ALL your relationships and you have to want the pain to maintain them. For her I think a lot of resentment and anger over familial issues motivated her grudges because she couldn't communicate to her family what she needed. So she held onto slights from former friends or classmates because she wanted to make them feel her hurt or to lash out. I sympathized with her and even now about the loss she experienced. But man, life was never going to be enjoyable (at least for more than 30 minutes) because of how intense her hate was. Even when we were friends we were hesitant to fully trust her because of how apparent her bitterness was. Since that unfortunate friendship I see keeping grudges as using emotional energy and resentment to act out on a larger negative energy pool instead of to reinforce lessons you've learned from the experience. Cause that same friend often repeated a pattern of broken friendships and isolation. Maybe she didn't trust that she could move on without hurting someone first. Maybe she thought the anger made her stronger. But I'm always curious- if you rely on the anger to remove a bad influence on your life do you have the insight to apply it to a potential bad situation? Or to keep it from spilling over on a good one? Instead, I think it's entirely possible to learn to create boundaries or identify unhealthy patterns without actively thinking about someone who wronged you. Even if you're speaking to that person. I'm a victim of child abuse and some shitty friends, but I've "moved on" (maybe not forgiven) because I chose what role they play in my life. Being hurt or angry won't make them see the light- people are flawed, have limits, or can be cruel. I can't force or wait for change at the expense of my own happiness. Accepting this has always been my first step to letting go. My former friend just COULD NOT wrap her mind around that. TL;DR – Examine why grudges appeal to you and why you want to let go. It'll give you an idea of how to move on. 11 agree Reply "Being hurt or angry won't make them see the light"-that is the heart of it all! A lot of bitterness seems to arise from expecting others to behave in certain situations the same way you would, and people are all in different places in their spiritual/emotional/mental evolution. A less evolved person does not have the capability to rise to certain difficult occasions and will create discord and drama instead. The hardest thing to remember when this happens is that most of the time when people are inflicting trauma, it is not about you-it is about THEM. However, that doesn't mean that you need to allow boundaries to be violated, so I agree that grudges may be good tools in the short run. It all comes down to who you want to be in the world. Reply Augh, grudges! Who *isn't* susceptible to these babies? Like Megan and Caroline have said, sometimes you just can't or it's not time yet. But when it *is* time to move on, the No. 1 thing that's helped me is surrounding myself with positive people. Not people who brush problems under the rug or dismiss real problems, but people who can bring my focus back to what's awesome about life. It's tempting to hold on to the security blanket of people who are like, "Ugh, I know, RIGHT?" but get rid of the commiserating. Or at least make sure that person is ALSO saying, "Ugh, I know, RIGHT? Let's go take a sunny walk/get some ice cream/invite people over/something-cool-to-feel-better." PS: This can also be a really good time to try to add some new friends. If people don't know about the shit you've been through (or at least, not all of it), it won't be the focus of conversation. 11 agree Reply Yes! Totally. Once I get on those downward thought spirals, I like to do an "awesome friend" chaser — call up one of my besties and focus on people that make me happy. 6 agree Reply "Awesome friend chaser"…pairs well with any shitty experience. 2 agree Reply I totally second the "find some new friends" idea…I know that's not always easy as an adult. But I think Offbeat Home has addressed that! 🙂 Finding some new people who you have something in common with that you enjoy–even an online community–can really help shift your focus to things that make you happy. This can also make you learn new things about yourself, and realize there's more to YOU than what you've been fuming about. 3 agree Reply While I find the "find new friends" to be solid advice, I would like to point out that sometimes having a lot in common with someone isn't enough to make a friendship last. Last year, I had a friend who I worked with and was a lot like myself decide that she no longer wanted to stay in touch with me after she quit her job, though she has continued to talk to my other co-workers. My advice? Find friends who have the same interests as you AND are willing to put in the same amount of effort into continuing the friendship as you. 3 agree Reply For me, what's worked in the past has been a combination of time and reminding myself that it wasn't anything that I did to make this person treat me the way they did–I will never understand their motives or lack of common decency, and I'm not going to waste energy trying. I tell myself over and over that whatever they were going through at the time had nothing to do with me, and the fact that I got hurt over their mess was an unfortunate byproduct. In short, I don't take on their issues but seek empathy for them and let go of resentment. This does NOT mean I will let them back into my life. It's one thing to clear the air and move on–it's quite another to open yourself up for undeserved harm again. If it's a situation where you are communicating with the person, let them know you wish them well, you're over whatever happened and you don't harbor any bad feelings over it. And then walk far, far away. If they want to try to win back your trust it will take a lot of work on their part–and even then it's your call whether or not to give them a second chance. But be ready to follow through; don't be offended if they don't try. So far I've not been faced with this dilemma, and have actively ended relationships that were detrimental to me with no more hurt feelings or negativity. It seems people who are prone to selfish hurtful behavior don't want to be in a relationship with someone once the "jig is up" and you make it clear you won't be their punchingbag with no repercussions. 10 agree Reply I hate holding grudges. That being said, sometimes that grudge is there to protect YOU from getting hurt again while you heal. I had a terrible whirlwind relationship which had cost me a lot (my job, my friends and several thousand dollars,) Things literally just ended one day. I was mad, sad, and literally was like wtf?!? I knew that for a few weeks things were going to be touch and go and I knew that it was going to be hard to forgive him, let alone let go of this onus I had on my back. It was then I realized that I could let go all of the hard feelings and still not want anything to do with him. Here we are a year later and I literally feel nothing towards him. I want nothing to do with him and I wish him well but that doesn't mean I didn't learn my lesson. Decide what is important to you during your time of trying to let go and move on. Let yourself have those feelings and acknowledge them but don't let them consume your life. I wrote out everything that I was feeling and stepped away for the night. The next night I was able to look and figure out where the big issues were that was making it hard to move on. Then tackle them one by one. It won't be so overwhelming and you get to take your time. 6 agree Reply I hate, hate, hate how our culture mis-attributed the concept of forgiveness. Traditionally, and religiously, forgiveness is something that a transgressor had to ASK for. This idea that anger is toxic and you have to forgive everyone is something that has been twisted in the metaphysical, neo-Eastern tradition. As you said, anger (and other non-happy emotions) are here to help us. Anger and frustration lets us know that there is a problem, that we may need to take an action. It helps us set boundaries with those we might not set boundaries with. It replaces paralyzing fear with a feeling that incites us to action. There is a point where our anger no longer serves us, and that point usually comes after we are no longer actively being harmed, and that harm has been acknowledged and validated by our community (best case) or, at minimum, by ourselves. It is at that point that we can accept the things we cannot change and have the courage to change the things we can. And it is here, right here, that "forgiveness" was substituted for "acceptance" by our culture. Accept what happened. Accept that this person is who they are and will not likely change. Let go of your expectations for them, for changing them, for the dream of what you believed could have been or should have been. And maybe one day you'll want to forgive them, that is completely up to you and not a requirement for healing. But we need to, as a society, stop insisting that a result of healing (forgiveness) is the cause of healing. Because it isn't. And that it is required for happiness and enlightenment. Because it isn't. And that people who are angry and are not able to forgive are deficient. Because they aren't. Only you know if you are at the point in your healing where holding on to your anger is helpful or hurtful. Only you know if this is toxic for you. But you won't be willing to let go of your anger as long as it meets your emotional needs for control, for safety, for boundary setting-mojo. The next step for you may be exploring how to do these things without being compelled by anger. It sounds like you are ready. Basically, what I am saying is that you don't need to forgive and forget, you need to let go and move on. 67 agree Reply This really hits on the nose why I have weird mixed feelings about forgiveness. There are some people who I have never forgiven, but none of them have apologized and asked for my forgiveness. Most of those people are no longer in my life (and those who are I keep at a distance). I haven't forgotten what happened, but I don't dwell on it, either. 5 agree Reply This is also excellent advice. I had never thought of that before – it's a great way to look at forgiveness versus moving on. 3 agree Reply Here here! Well said. 1 agrees Reply There have been two abusers in my life. One I have forgiven and welcomed back in (he got help, really changed, and we have a warm relationship today); the other I will never have anything to do with ever again (he still doesn't think he ever did anything wrong). In neither case do I feel like I'm holding a grudge. On a daily basis, I approximately never (without it being brought to mind, like reading this post) think of the hurts each gave me. You kind of joked about asking more "well-adjusted" Homies for advice, but that may just be the essence of my advice to you about forgiveness. I'm well-adjusted (for the most part — I have a couple of 'quirks'). I have a strong sense of my own self-worth. I feel loved, and secure, and as if I am a worthwhile, ethical, generally decent human being. I wasn't able to forgive until I felt this way about myself. Before I got to that well-adjusted place, forgiveness felt too risky. There was a time when one of my most comfortable identities was as a victim of abuse. Forgiveness felt like giving up a core identity, and I had nothing else to identify with instead. Even scarier, forgiving felt like acknowledging that my abusers had gotten something right about me. Forgiving felt like playing into their worldview. Before I had absolute trust in my status as a worthwhile human being, forgiveness was terrifying. Forgiveness step one: love yourself. Forgiveness step two: actually want to forgive. This sounds obvious, but really? I think we pay a lot of lip service to forgiveness without being actually interested in it. Even after I got to the loving-myself stage, I didn't forgive, because why should I? Not forgiving, quite frankly, gave me a sense of superiority. I wasn't interested. I didn't become interested until after I had examined my own actions in life (NOT in regards to my abusers — I had done nothing wrong in regards to them — just my actions in life, in general). I realized that, like us all, I had done some shitty things, and I felt rotten about them. One of my abusers (both of them, really, but one much more so than the other) had used every mistake I ever made against me. It was one of the more horrible aspects of his emotional abuse. Forget to turn off a light? I was a wasteful environment-ruining selfish brat. Etc. I realized, in my new loving-myself mindset, that I didn't deserve to be defined by the worst things I did. None of us do. We all deserve to be seen as whole people. And then I realized that by refusing to forgive, that is exactly what I was doing to my abusers. And I was playing into the same all-or-nothing, judgmental mindset that perpetuates abuse. I decided I didn't want to do that any more. So then I forgave them. It's been pretty great. Freeing. Relaxing. It lifted a lot of misery from my shoulders. tl;dr: Step one: Love yourself. Find new ways of self-definition. Make your own head a safe space to be. Step two: Want to forgive. Realize that none of us deserve to be defined by the worst things we do. Step three: Forgive. Let it go. 15 agree Reply I have a sort of nomadic lifestyle, so it's easy for me to cut out the toxic people without hating them foreverandever. If the internet is the only way to contact me, then, *click* poof gone and then relax, yay! But I also feel that with that sort of person, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By watching how people treat others, you can get a really good sense of whether you want to be treated that way or not, and either seek them out or avoid them as needed to surround yourself with only the best people! 1 agrees Reply I have definitely found that blocking people on Facebook so I'm not tempted to check their profiles constantly really helps. Reply I just wanted to share a spell that I created in high school when I had my heart broken. It's called the Watermelon Break-up Spell. You'll need a watermelon (or a pumpkin if you ever need to do it in the fall), a black Sharpie, and a silver Sharpie. Write your ex's (or other object of your grudge) name, all of his annoying habits and character flaws, negative emotions you're feeling, and anything else you want to banish about the relationship in black on the watermelon. Write all the things you want reflected back into your life, such as peace of mind, safety, self-confidence, happiness, trust, etc. in silver on the watermelon. Throw it off a bridge into a flowing body of water at sunset on Monday, Friday, or Saturday. I hope this is as cathartic for you as it was for me. I actually struggle the most with forgiving myself. Somehow, destroying an effigy of myself just doesn't make sense. 9 agree Reply Well, I am not sure if this qualifies as emotionally healthy, but I have done this in the past: distance and pity. Gain some distance if you can- don't see them in person, take up a new hobby that they don't do, block or unsubscribe from their social media accounts. The less you think about them, the more time you have to work on your own feelings and build something positive in your life. This helps avoid the "Look at this bitch eating those crackers" phenomenon where everything they do agitates you and causes you to hold onto your negative feelings. (http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/MjAxMS05YjFkMzUwNDEwNjE1ZjQ4) I agree with Caroline that you don't have to forgive them to free yourself from the animosity you feel towards them. It depends on the circumstances, but I've often been able to replace my anger with a bit of understanding/compassion, pity, and a shade of self-righteousness if we're being honest here. Those feelings are more comfortable for me and much less consuming than hatred and animosity. It is kind of similar to what Rinnie said above with "their mess" affecting their actions towards you. 6 agree Reply One of the things that has really helped me not hold grudges in my life is that I really try to see the positive that came out of that relationship. I was in an extremely unhealthy relationship my freshman year of college. When it turned physically abusive, I was out immediately, but I never held a grudge on this person because from that relationship I learned a great deal about many things: how I wanted to be treated in a relationship, how I wanted to treat others, how to deal with difficult situations, etc. A lot of people simply hate their abuser(s), and while that is perfectly legitimate, I wanted to make sure I never ended up in such a situation again, so I decided to learn what got me there and use it to prevent myself from ever being there again. For me it wasn't about "forgiving" this person, it was about me forgiving myself for being in the situation, and so I had to realize the life lessons I came out of the experience with. Whatever you have learned from your relationship with this person is valuable information. 5 agree Reply I've found that if I'm still angry at a person for some transgression that took place several years ago it's because I'm really angry at myself. I tend to reserve my harshest criticism and my most severe judgment for myself. I've found time and again that the anger I've held onto is usually misattributed fury at myself for being too naïve, too stupid, too young to see that I was being manipulated or to see the situation for what it was. The only way I end up resolving my anger and being able to move on is when I'm able to accept the fact that the decisions I made in the past were made with all the information I had at the time and that I can't look back and question those decisions because I'm more informed now. I did my best. 8 agree Reply "How I wanted to be treated in a relationship and how I wanted to treat others" really rings true with me. My first relationship wasn't actively abusive, but by the end it really wasn't pleasant (he got very passive aggressive, which I responded to in kind) and friends were worried for both of us. We had an awkward friendship after we broke up, because we were still attracted to each other but actually didn't have much in common to base a friendship on. It took me several years to really get my head around it, and why it wasn't my fault that it didn't work out, and what I've taken away is precisely what you said. My current relationship is pretty much perfect, and it's because of that early, bad one. Reply This and what DarlesCharwin said really ring true. I think part of the reason I'm still struggling with certain ended relationships is because I blame myself for what went on. 2 agree Reply What does forgiveness mean to you? I think that's an important distinction. Do you want to be friends with them again? Be able to run into them and be polite? Not think about them or retain anger but also not have contact? I have a tendency to let people walk all over me, so grudges have been a way to protect myself in the past. But then I started getting better at setting boundaries and walking away from damaging situations and it let me assess people who had hurt me and decide "I don't hate you anymore, but I'm not going to let you hurt me again." Now I put these people in a category of "You are not my friend, and I will make minimal effort to avoid you, but I don't devote brain space to you and can be pleasant and polite if we happen to see each other." That's been very healthy for me. 10 agree Reply I love this. Forgiveness doesn't have to mean "hooray, everything's fine and we're best friends again!" which I think is where I get stuck sometimes. But you can accept or get past the transgression while just quietly reminding yourself to maintain some distance from that person. 7 agree Reply I am dealing with this very thing with my family of origin. I have dealt with it many times with friends, partners, co-workers and a variety of people who were simply making my life worse. I have done a lot of reading on the subject, yet the one thing that always gets me through is two simple statements from some of the Eastern Philosphy I have read over the years: 1) Harboring anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other to die. and 2) Holding on to anger is like grasping on to a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else-YOU are the one who gets burned. In my experience, "holding grudges" as they say, is not helpful to your state of mind or your well-being. It burns, it grows, it clouds your thoughts and makes moving forward in a productive way nearly impossible. Making a strong decision to no longer allow someone in your life with the freedom of letting your anger leave with them is much easier on you long-term. This truly takes practice, but I promise you, it feels so much better than allowing the feelings of resentment and anger to keep tearing chunks out of you. When you do that, the person who hurt you still has power over you. When you let go, and allow yourself to be neutral, but distant to that person you will feel absolutely reborn. Hope that helps <3 1 agrees Reply I don't actively try to forgive or forget. The more effort I put into trying to forgive/forget, the more I brood over the original incident and the more it grows into a string of other issues. Brooding over one thing tends to see me bringing up other minor transgressions that I never previously had a (conscious) issue with. I forget by forgetting to forget. Out of sight out of mind I suppose. I was going to write a submission about how I've somewhat reconciled things with my dad after 14 years of no contact. While there could well be a big grudge held there, and for other members of my immediate family there still is one, I came to a point where I realised my whole opinion on the matter amounted to "meh". Its not forgiven in the sense that I haven't said "I forgive you" nor has he asked for my forgiveness. It's not forgotten in that I can think about it from time to time when prompted. But its sort of an aside, a little speck of dust that I occasionally spot and go "oh" before brushing it away. Looking at it now, I don't think I've ever truly had to forgive someone. So maybe there are others including yourself that are in this situation. Look at whether you've truly forgiven someone or if in fact, you've given it enough time so its no longer a sore issue or coped in some other way. If you've set the precedent of ignoring things until it dies down and it works, do that. If you've coped by keeping the cause at arms length indefinitely and its worked, do that. I wouldn't push yourself to find some all encompassing forgiveness cure because there likely isn't one. Recognise that what has worked for you and stay healthy about it. 4 agree Reply Personally…the pain is just a little less every year, and one day it just doesn't hurt as bad. I love this quote, and it has seemed to apply to my grudges, past and present. "I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night." – The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini 4 agree Reply For me, one of the most important elements to the grudge equation is recognizing my own involvement in how the relationship spiraled out of control. Every relationship between two human beings is a set of complex dynamics, and it's much easier to not formulate the grudge in the first place, if it can be helped, of course. That being said, once a grudge is there, I tend to treat it like an open wound that is going to take time to heal. If you are active in the healing process it will likely leave a much smaller scar than if it festers and becomes infected. Some wounds are much bigger and need more attention than others. I feel like grudges also depend on the context of the relationship. For example, I'm currently harboring a lot of resentment toward a former supervisor who was a bully that caused a lot of emotional turmoil in my life. In the professional/workplace context, there are often rules to prevent sour relationships, or tools to help others peacefully co-exist in a workplace environment. I think talking about your grudge, with someone supportive that you trust, can help put it out in the universe to foster healing. Reply This is exactly what I'm working on right now. Dealing with anger and resentment! I always find myself going back to Morrie (Tuesdays with Morrie) and how he dealt with negative emotions. I allow myself to feel the emotion when it comes. For instance, if it's anger, I may yell as loud as I possibly can while driving in the car (this is incredibly satisfying to me, and stray negative thoughts seem to hit me in a quiet car) and then I tell myself, "Okay your angry. You have a right to be angry. But now let's stop being angry. Being angry sucks." Over time those feelings stop happening so often, and eventually with this practice, I'll find out that I've actually let that negative emotion go. And what a beautiful and freeing moment it is! 2 agree Reply This is good advice too! I'll keep this in mind. Reply I think, for me, I came to peace with the idea that if I want to live a full life, people will hurt me and I will hurt people. Also, the people I started out with, my first friends, are not necessarily as good a fit for me as an adult as they were when we were younger. I have found myself grateful for the experiences I had, even when the end was Technicolor anger and sadness. Sometimes friends just do not understand each other even when they have been so close for such a long time and the relationship has to come to an end. I found this quote (off Kait Payne's blog with the quote's origins-http://kaitmpayne.tumblr.com/post/61962778855/not-all-toxic-people-are-cruel-and-uncaring-some ) to be very helpful when I was toward the end of my angry feelings, ready to move on: "Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have good intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because their needs and way of existing in the world force us to compromise ourselves and our happiness. They aren’t inherently bad people, but they aren’t the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go. Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make your wellbeing a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about, loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend, or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful — you have every right to leave and create a safer space for yourself." 8 agree Reply I feel like I have the opposite problem. I don't know how to let go of the people I've loved. Life happens and sometimes people you thought were going to be in your life forever suddenly aren't. I don't know how to let them go, I hold on to this hope that one day we'll be in each other's lives again once we've both grown from our mistakes. This is true for times that I'm at fault or times that I've been betrayed. If the good outweighs the bad how could you not see past mistakes that people make. I also haven't had any experiences with abuse so I'm not sure how I would forgive under those circumstances. But lies and infidelity are mistakes and those I could look past which many times has left me stuck waiting and hoping for that reconciliation that never comes. And all of these but one have been platonic. 1 agrees Reply I'm a huge grudge holder. The thing that got me to finally get over my "ex" (Will and Grace style BFF who stabbed me in the back without warning HARD) after 7 years was discovering that he hosted a bunch of sites (tumblr, Xtube, etc) of himself being, um, inappropriate… under his common email address that everyone knows. Super classy. I lost all respect for him and now I don't have to hold a grudge for him anymore. …Your mileage may vary 😛 2 agree Reply That reminds me of the time when my really good friend told me that my last ex-boyfriend knocked up a girl – around the time he started dating me. Except that this bit of news made me even more livid, especially since during the whole time we dated he keep claiming that he was a virgin and saving himself for marriage. The thing that ultimately made me move on was seeing how much of a better man my husband is for me. Reply I don't forget anything. I have a mind that dwells! For a long time, I was pretty miserable about the fact that I couldn't make myself let go of some stuff the way other people seemed to. I've got a dirtbag brain that loves to bring up stuff I don't want to think about at 3 o'clock in the morning. For me, it helps to treat hating people like meditation (haha)–acknowledge the errant thoughts when they come, then shift my focus to something productive. 3 agree Reply This is great advice too. When I'm trying to fall asleep I find that's when the negative thoughts hit the most – so I totally feel you on that! 1 agrees Reply Remember, Hatred and unforgiveness is like swallowing poison hoping the other person will die. But in essence, we are killing ourselves. Our thoughts will either break us or make us. Make them good. 1 agrees Reply Something I just heard… When someone betrays, abandons, rejects you, it so easily can go into feelings and actions that are destructive. So what was said is that we need to let it go so it doesn't destroy us. Just let it go. And when you start thinking about your disappointment, nip it in the bud before it goes into discouragement. Refocus on something or someone else very quickly, to pull yourself out of it. Treat yourself well, get a hobby and get good at it. Begin to love yourself and treat yourself well. Everytime you pass a mirror, smile at yourself and say something nice. Start reading your bible, if you aren't already, because it will keep your thoughts on something other than the problems. Reply A lot of people think not forgiving is somehow bad for you (mentally, spirituality, and even psychically). I often tell people I don't believe in forgiveness and I don't. That doesn't mean I let them take up space in my heart and head. IMO, if someone has done something to me that warrants their asking for forgiveness I probably don't want them in my life. I'm not saying I expect anyone to be perfect, I'm certainly not… for me forgiveness does not equal the same as admitting you were wrong or apologizing for hastily said words or actions. Forgiveness is you've wronged me on a level that you and I both know could end our relationship (romantic or platonic). Have I given it before? Yes. Do I believe in blanket forgiveness to make myself or my trespasser feel better? No. I will be as civil and polite as I can be, but I won't forgive. Life is too short to let people back in who will hurt you again. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. 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