Forgive but cant forget

20 Reasons to Forgive but Not Forget in Relationships

In This Article

It can be said with quite a lot of certainty that most people have been told to forgive and forget at least once in their lives. It is such a common saying, after all.

And although there is a lot of truth to the forgive and forget statement, it’s a good idea to think over whether you’d like to follow this saying blindly. There is a lot of positivity and strength associated with forgiveness. But let’s rethink the ‘forget’ aspect of the statement.

Forgive but don’t forget in a relationship is an interesting alternative to the forgive and forget statement, especially in close relationships.

So, if you want to find out more about how you can forgive but not forget in a relationship, the reasons why this tweaked statement works better in intimate relationships, what you can do when forgiveness just isn’t enough, and more, read on.

Forgive but don’t forget: What does this mean?

So, what does it mean to forgive and forget in a relationship? To understand the meaning of this saying, it’s best to break down the statement into two components: forgiveness and forgetting.

To learn why you should forgive but not forget in a relationship, let’s first look at the meaning of forgiveness. It is called forgiveness when one lets go of thoughts of revenge and resentment. It is a decision that empowers an individual.

When you choose to forgive, you decide to remain unaffected by past adverse events. Forgiveness is about not letting unpleasant past events affect your feelings and thoughts about something or someone in the present.

Forgiveness is often seen in a positive light and strength for various reasons. Forgiveness comes with a host of mental health benefits. Strong negative emotions like anger and grief can be decreased by forgiveness.

Through forgiveness, intense positive emotions like happiness can be increased (intensity and frequency of experiencing happiness).

It’s not just that. Forgiveness is also great for one’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Practicing forgiveness can also improve the quality of your intimate relationships.

So, does forgiving mean forgetting?

Here’s the important note: forgiving is not forgetting. Yes, that’s right. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. The act of forgiveness is more about letting go of your anger, sadness, disappointments, and frustration.

Forgetting, on the other hand, is extremely difficult to do. It also isn’t necessarily healthy. It is pretty close to impossible to forget and forgive. Why? Because people’s (hurtful) behaviors and actions are significant episodes that we store as memories.

And not being able to forget these significant episodes or encounters with people is quite advantageous.

So, can you forgive and not forget?

Simply put, yes. It is entirely possible to practice forgiveness but not forget why you’re forgiving someone.

Learning to forgive but not forget in romantic relationships

Now that you understand the differences between forget and forgive in a relationship and forgive but never forget, meaning let’s now understand how you can implement the principle of forgive but don’t forget in a relationship.

As already mentioned, anger and resentment can make it difficult for anyone to be forgiving. Anger and resentment are the fundamental obstacles one must overcome to forgive, not forget, in relationships.

Working on your thoughts of resentment and revenge and feelings of anger is crucial if you desire to prioritize and improve your spiritual well-being and emotional well-being.

Here are some key tips for incorporating forgiveness in close and valued relationships.

Follow the four tips mentioned below to forgive but not forget in a relationship:

1. It is essential to separate an individual from their (hurtful) action/behavior

The first thing you can consider understanding and slowly accepting is that it is rare to find fundamentally “good” or “bad” people. People can engage in bad behaviors or act in ways that can make you feel hurt or angry.

Once an individual can be clearly separated from their incorrect actions, it can become easier to forgive that person.

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2. Understand their intentions

Every individual uses coping and defense mechanisms to function in life and deal with life’s difficulties. The best way to explain one’s behavior is by identifying the reason behind it.

People who say or do hurtful or mean things are usually doing it because they’re attempting to compensate for the pain or insecurities that they feel within.

3. Empathizing with the one you want to forgive is essential

To forgive but not forget, it is important to empathize with the person you want to forgive in a relationship. Empathy is entirely different from sympathy. When you empathize, you attempt to identify the feelings and thoughts of the person you want to forgive.

When you can identify the thoughts and feelings of the person you want to forgive, it’ll be easier for you to separate the action from the individual.

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4. Establishing healthy boundaries for yourself

This is a core aspect of the concept of forgiving but never forgetting. After empathizing, you’ll be in an excellent position to determine what kind of boundaries or rules you want to have in place.

Decide on the rules that’ll play a significant role in governing the relationship between you and the one who has been forgiven.

Forgive but don’t forget in romantic relationships: 20 reasons

Let’s now take a look at the top 20 reasons you should always forgive never forget, especially in close relationships:

1. Forgiveness is essential for one’s emotional well-being

The inability to forgive someone leads to many pent-up negative emotions like bitterness and anger. Holding onto these negative emotions can have dire consequences like irritability, physical illnesses, poor mental health, etc.

When you forgive but don’t forget, your emotional well-being is impacted positively since you move past those negative feelings.

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2. Forgiveness is great for strengthening close relationships

Relationships are complex. The thing is, past experiences (pleasant and unpleasant) are essential for enabling relationships to deepen and grow. Forgiving loved ones for unpleasant experiences helps strengthen the commitment in these relationships.

3. Forgiving but not forgetting enables individuals to learn from their past experiences

When you forgive but don’t forget in a relationship, you get the chance to learn from your past experiences about where things went wrong, how they can be avoided next time, and the solution.

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4. It is instrumental in maintaining and improving accountability in relationship

Friends, partners, and relatives are held accountable for their acceptance and unacceptable behaviors and actions when you practice forgiveness without forgetting.

This is because your loved ones understand the reality of the situation that although you can be generous enough to forgive, you will not forget why and what they did to upset you.

5. Forgiving without forgetting is crucial for your self-respect

When you engage in forgiving someone for their wrongdoings but also make it abundantly clear that the incident will not be forgotten, you’re standing up for yourself. It shows that you respect yourself.

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6. Forgiving without forgetting shows the importance of building trust

Practicing forgiveness without forgetting shows people that you value trust in relationships. The fact that you have not forgotten the incident shows that the one who has been forgiven has to work to earn back your trust.

7. Forgiving without forgetting also shows that you are not naive

When you show others that you haven’t forgotten significant betrayals or wrongdoings, it shows them you are not a gullible or naive person.

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8. Moving towards the future

Forgiveness is a strength. It is healing. You are healing yourself when you can forgive an individual who has harmed or betrayed you. You’re not holding onto bitterness or anger, or frustration.  You’re moving towards your future.

Here’s how you can forgive without forgetting:

9. It’s not healthy to deny the occurrence of the rude or hurtful behavior

Being in denial or repressing unpleasant experiences where people close to you have betrayed you or hurt you in some way is not at all healthy for your being.

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10. It shows that you’re aware of the fact that deserve to be treated well

Forgiveness without forgetting requires you to establish healthy boundaries. When you establish healthy boundaries, you are particular about how you like to be treated by others.

11. It is great self-growth and improvement

Moving past thoughts of resentment and feelings of anger and frustration along with the ability to empathize with the one who has hurt you are all signs of self-growth and improvement.

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12. Forgiving without forgetting is an effective way to warn those who have hurt you

Setting particular standards for acceptable behavior along with consequences for overstepping the boundaries shows those around you about the kind of consequences they have to face if they betray you.

13. You will be able to avoid feeling regretful

Having regrets about how you could’ve reacted when someone betrayed you in the past can cause significant distress. It’s very distressing to be in the ‘never forgive me, never forget me’ mindset. That’s why it’s important to forgive but not forget in a relationship.

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14. It’ll improve your abilities to identify the right type of people

Remembering how you’ve been wronged or hurt (only significant experiences) can be instrumental in identifying people who can be potentially harmful to you as well as finding people who are good for you.

15. It’s good for humility

When you have successfully moved past the negative feelings and thoughts that you held for the person who hurt you in some way, without forgetting why and what happened, it can be a humbling experience.

Understanding why that person intended to hurt you is a reminder of how all human beings come with their fair share of flaws.

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16. It is instrumental in understanding and implementing some degree of detachment

Establishing healthy boundaries and learning to separate an individual from their hurtful actions are important in the process of detaching yourself a little bit.

The degree of detachment in question is just enough so that you don’t get easily affected by people’s harsh criticisms and hurtful behaviors.

17. It enhances your assertiveness

The act of forgiving someone who has hurt you without forgetting how and in what way they hurt you shows that you’re capable of being assertive without being aggressive.

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18. It’s instrumental in controlling one’s anger

Forgiveness is not forgetting. As mentioned already, to practice forgiveness effectively, resentment and anger have to be overcome. So, when you try to be more forgiving in your relationships, you learn to control and regulate negative emotions like anger and resentment.

19. Forgiving not forgetting also protects you from getting exploited in the future

When you go through tough life experiences where you’ve been betrayed or hurt or angered by someone close to you, you’ll learn a lot. When you practice forgiveness without forgetting, you have the opportunity to learn.

You will identify the causes, reasons, signs, etc., of people’s unacceptable behaviors. You can then use this information to protect yourself from exploitation.

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20. Helpful in accepting that others can’t be changed

The ability to effectively empathize with others and understand their motives to forgive but don’t forget in a relationship can help you understand how it isn’t possible to change the people around you. You’ll realize how others’ actions are beyond your control.

What you can do when forgiveness is not enough

Forgiveness is pivotal in healing intimate relationships that have been broken. However, there may be situations where the relationship is past healing or repairing through forgiveness.

It’s in these situations where forgiveness isn’t enough. Forgiveness isn’t enough for abusive relationships (verbally, emotionally, financially, physically).

If you realize that despite putting in the effort required to forgive but not forget in a relationship, the feelings (negative emotions) remain unchanged, then forgiveness isn’t enough.

The Bible’s take on forgiving but not forgetting

There are several verses in the Bible elucidating its take on the phrase forgive and forget. Most verses in the Bible primarily speak about the importance of forgiveness in relationships.

There is very little focus on whether the forgiver should forget or remember the wrongdoings done to them.


Romantic relationships are not only about forgiving and forgetting. When it comes to dealing with close relationships, remember the aforementioned reasons why it is important to forgive without forgetting.

Can You Forgive and Forget? I Psych Central

Forgiveness is a crucial skill, but can you also forget what you’re forgiving — and should you?

We’ve all heard the adage “forgive and forget” when someone has wronged us. The idea is that this will keep the peace, preserve relationships, and maintain a calm mind.

Sounds good, but can you really do that — forgive an offense and then forget about it? And is that the best action to take?

Because this advice has been handed out for ages, you might think it’s rooted in deep wisdom, and it must be easy to do.

Wisdom? Yes, in part. Easy? No, definitely not.

This adage that we’re all so familiar with might be more properly phrased as, “forgive, but don’t forget.”

Knowing how to forgive someone can be an essential life skill. It can save friendships, restore faith in our kids, and keep romantic relationships intact.

A 2015 study suggests that there are two types of forgiveness:

  • decisional forgiveness: making a conscious decision to let go of hurt feelings, such as anger and resentment, putting them in the past, and moving forward free of the effects those feelings can bring
  • emotional forgiveness: replacing negative emotions toward the person who has wronged you with positive ones such as sympathy, compassion, or empathy

Experts in this study suggest that emotional forgiveness can lead to higher levels of forgetting than decisional forgiveness or no forgiveness.

A 2021 study also suggests that forgetting is easier with emotional forgiveness than decisional forgiveness or no forgiveness.

But does forgiving someone require that you forget what they’ve done? Not necessarily.

“Forgiving and forgetting” implies that you’ve moved on and no longer think about the offensive act. But forgiving an offense can be hard to do.

A 2011 study suggests that forgiveness may give the person permission to continue the offense. In some cases, people who hurt others can manipulate the forgiveness process.

When “forgetting” what has been forgiven is challenging, learning from the experience may help some people cope if they encounter that behavior in the future.

Still, “forgiving and forgetting” isn’t always possible in every situation. While some can learn from the experience, others may forgive to release the past and accept that what happened wasn’t their fault and that no behavior could have changed it.

A word of caution

The concept of “forgive and forget” can be a complex and delicate topic to discuss, particularly for survivors of abuse or trauma.

Misconceptions about this topic can lead to:

  • prolonged or continuation of abuse
  • guilt and shame
  • feelings of helplessness
  • revictimization
  • isolation and social distancing

If you’re a survivor of abuse or trauma and want to discuss how this concept fits with your situation, consider reaching out to a mental health professional.

They can help guide you on the next steps as they relate to you and your unique circumstances.

If you don’t forget, can you really forgive? It can be difficult to truly forgive someone when you know how they’ve hurt you.

But no one said that forgiveness was easy. It may be extremely hard. Forgiveness may be as much for you as it is for the person to whom you’re granting it.

Forgiveness may help release emotional baggage, such as anxiety, anger, and pain. A 2019 study notes that several studies have linked forgiveness to lower levels of depression and anxiety.

It also notes that forgiveness may even improve physical health and pain, while unforgiveness may increase heart rate and blood pressure.

The study of nearly 1,000 women ages 18 to 40 found that those who emotionally forgave an offense held the person less responsible for the offense than those who decided to forgive.

Practicing forgiveness may improve your emotional health and overall happiness, according to a 2016 review.

If you’re still having trouble forgiving, especially when you can’t forget, there may be some good reasons to continue trying.

  • Forgiving is critical for our emotional well-being. By refusing to forgive someone, you may be holding on to all the anger and pain that their actions might have created. This can take an emotional and physical toll. According to a 2016 study, practicing forgiveness might help reduce stress, anxiety, and the likelihood of depression.
  • We don’t forget — we learn. Each experience teaches us something, even the painful ones. Forgetting means you’re forgoing the lesson and growth that can come from it. Instead, consider using it to better equip you for the future.
  • Forgiving strengthens relationships. All relationships have the potential to deepen and thrive because of what occurred. A 2011 study suggests that forgiving your partner may be crucial to maintaining a healthy romantic relationship. Forgiving may encourage you to become more committed to not allowing divisive and hurtful conflicts to occur in the future.
  • Forgiveness has a positive effect on your physical health. Have you heard the phrase, “Being eaten up inside”? Holding on to resentment and anger can indeed create problems within your body. Those festering feelings can increase blood pressure and inflammation leading to potential heart problems.

Convinced but unsure of how to start? You’re not alone.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to begin the process, consider the following tips:

  • Identify and articulate the things you’d like to forgive. Too often, hurts and offenses get intertwined and knotted up. They may not even come from the same source. To start the process, try to be specific about what you’d like to forgive.
  • Understand forgiveness. Forgiveness is a process and requires effort and patience.
  • Acknowledge forgiveness. Try to think about what forgiveness will do for you, not for them.
  • Forget about forgetting. It’s not really possible to forget, nor is it necessary.
  • Find perspective. This may require putting some distance between you and someone else, talking with a friend or family member, or even seeking counseling.
  • Be ready to repeat the process. It can take more than one try to reach the point of being able to forgive.

Forgiveness is an important skill, and it can be positive. It may improve both your mental and physical health and lead to resolution and personal growth in some cases.

And even though you’ve forgiven someone, it doesn’t mean you have to forget their offense.

Forgiveness is a process that can take time and may require some effort.

If you want help, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for guidance. They can help you with the next steps and provide you with tools to cope with your circumstances.

“Forgiving and forgetting” is a choice, and if you choose not to do either, that’s OK.

To forgive does not mean to forget

Is it possible to take and forgive? — Psychologist and psychotherapist Marina Filonik about the mechanism of forgiveness

“Forgiveness does not mean forgetting; to forgive this means with compassion, with pain in the soul, to say: when the Last Judgment comes, I will stand up and say: do not condemn him, Lord ”(Metropolitan Anthony of Surozh).

Someone screams in despair: “I will never forgive this!”, someone almost cries: “I really want to forgive, but I can’t do it,” and someone is sincerely convinced that he has forgiven everyone, especially , for example, because today is forgiveness Sunday, and he walks and radiates resentment, torments others with this and firmly believes in his forgiveness. It is impossible to find a person who has never been offended and offended in his life. We carry a lot of wounds and pain within ourselves, and their number usually does not decrease with age.

You are a Christian!

At confession, a person hears: “First forgive, and then come back”, “You are a Christian, how can you go to God if you have not forgiven your brother” and finds himself in an extremely unenviable position. Because it is impossible to forgive by an act of will . Forgiveness can be very difficult - and this is an important truth. For years and decades, sometimes it doesn’t work out, and this is on condition that a person really wants to forgive, he himself suffers from his resentment, does not want it in himself, but she still does not leave.

If you are honest with yourself and realize what is happening to you, then you know for sure that when it hurts, no matter how much you say “forgive” to yourself, it does not get easier. Or maybe it gets even harder! The internal conflict between the demand to forgive and the real impossibility to do this intensifies - I must, and since I cannot, then who am I after that!

Feelings of guilt are added to resentment, in the worst cases leading a person to despair, feelings of impossibility to turn to God – “first forgive, and then come”.

Forgiveness is not an act, but a process , and often a lengthy process. And it is important whether we are in this process or are we stagnant? Are we stewing in our experiences, in the desire to take revenge, punish, restore justice, or are we still on the path to forgiveness, do we still want to be freed?

I can't forgive - what should I do?

Consider five important conditions for forgiveness , a kind of clues along the way, sometimes they can be considered as stages. There are other aspects of forgiveness as well, and this article discusses just a few of them.

FIRST: honesty and awareness. The truth is that I am offended

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh wrote that

“Forgiveness does not mean forgetting”, to forgive means to look at a person as he is, in his sin, in his intolerance, and say: “I will carry you like a cross, I will carry you to the Kingdom of God, whether you like it or not, whether you are good or evil, I will take you on my shoulders and bring you to the Lord and say: Lord, I have carried this man all my life, because I was sorry if he died. Now You forgive him, for the sake of my forgiveness.

The important thought here is: to forgive does not mean to forget .

"Forgetting" can be a kind of deception, because sometimes the truth is that the other has actually done evil.

Sometimes it is important not to try to forget about it, but on the contrary, to remember what a person’s weakness, sin, in whom is something wrong, and not to tempt him with this, but to protect him, not to subject him to temptation, giving reasons to do something bad, knowing his weak point.

It may be a high bar, but there is a message in these words that is very powerful for the topic of forgiveness: we do not have to force ourselves to think that the offender is a wonderful person. Our forgiveness does not depend on his goodness or badness at all. Whether we forgive or not is up to us.

In the prayer “Our Father” we say: “And forgive us our debts, just as we forgive our debtors.” The key word for our topic now - "debtors" - means that I admit that evil has been done to me, that it hurts me a lot, that I may have a lot of anger at the offender and pity for myself. I do not close my eyes, I do not say that everything is fine, and you have not done anything, you are generally a saint. It won't be true.

So, it is important to see the truth about another, but even more important is an honest and conscious look at oneself . First you need to realize that I am offended, to be able to admit it to myself. If we do not see our offense, it blocks the movement on the path of forgiveness.

I remember one woman who once said an amazing thing: “I was recently told that it turns out to be offended is a sin - well, I don’t get offended now either.” This is said by a person with whom it is insanely hard to be near, because she literally radiates resentment with her skin, but does not admit this at all. Doesn't sincerely admit.

Unawareness of one's feelings, especially resentment, leads to a wide range of psychosomatic illnesses, because when the soul does not experience, the body begins to experience instead. There is no problem in the consciousness - stagnation sets in for the soul, a dead end, because nothing can be done. The repressed feelings go into the body and into the unconscious, and from there they continue to make themselves felt.

How to learn to be aware of your offense? If the offense is fresh, then you can stop, take a “freeze frame”: “So, what is happening to me now? I take offense. I am angry. On whom? For what reason? What exactly annoys me? What exactly offends me? This does not mean that you must immediately run to the offender for proceedings, but it is important to honestly talk everything to yourself.

A believer can express his feelings or his lack of understanding of feelings in the face of God. Just do not hypocritically read the fine prayers from the prayer book for forgiveness and non-judgment, if the heart is full at this moment just with anger and condemnation.

It is better to try to be as honest as possible before God as you are now: “Lord, You see how now I am filled with anger and anger, resentment and indignation. You see that sometimes I would even be ready to kill this person. But I don't want that for myself. And I can't do anything. You yourself come and do something, because I simply can’t do anything anymore. ”

The more honest the better. The Lord loves sincere (in Russian translation) heart (Ps. 50, 6), do not think that it is shameful and indecent to go to God with such things. What else to go with? Always only with gratitude and peace in the soul? But without Him we can do nothing - this is very important to recognize. It is in weakness that we especially need the One who can transform us.

There was such a case in the life of Vladyka Anthony: in his childhood he was offended by someone, came to the priest and said: “I can't forgive him – how can I pray? what to do?". The priest replied: “Do not yet read these words: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” A good example of the honesty in prayer we're talking about now.

A separate difficult question is whether it is necessary to talk about your feelings to the offender. There are different circumstances. The offender may be touchy himself, may not hear or understand anything. “Do not rebuke the blasphemer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you" (Prov. 9, eight). If you decide, speak only when you come to your senses, that is, in a calm, peaceful state, without blaming, about yourself, about your feelings. If you are in a passion, in hatred, fists are clenched, etc., then it is better to remain silent for now.

SECOND: the desire to forgive. I am NOT a dumpster. Garbage I have, and I do not want it in myself

In the above version of the appeal to God there were the words " I do not want this in myself ", and this is a very important aspect of any repentance, incl. on the road to forgiveness.

First, some evil is discovered in oneself (I am offended, I want to take revenge, etc.). Then it is important to separate him from himself, disidentify a person and an act, a person and his feelings ( i is not equal to sin, my essence is not reduced to this offense, offense is I have ). And then the desire to get rid of it (I don’t want this in myself). Without these three components it is difficult to move on.

If you find that you do NOT want to forgive, do not be afraid, it is better to calmly separate yourself from your experience, to realize that I am not equal to my offense, not equal to my sin. My unforgiveness is not my essence. If I have unforgiveness, this not means that I am an unforgiving person, I am such a walking insult. I have all sorts of dumps, but I am not a dump, I am the most precious child of God (identity is essential for resentment and forgiveness).

This is a very important distinction. Because only then can one honestly say to God: “here is my garbage dump, here I am dragging it to you now. Look. But this is not me. Because the truth is, I don't want to. My whole being resists. I don’t want to be offended, but this dump of mine is tormenting me, and I carry it around and I can’t leave it. Do something with her!”

This important attitude, when we understand that resentment is not my essence, helps to take a step towards liberation. Both psychologically and spiritually, too, because it is not my offense that goes to meet God, but I, as a person, carry this basket of mine, an urn, to prayer, to confession.

It saves from despair when a person gives up: “I am a garbage dump, there is no forgiveness for me! I am so-and-so!” But this is not true. Garbage does not go to pray. You, as a person, will go and carry your trash, praying for deliverance.

We all know: "Judge not, lest you be judged." But no one thinks that do not judge yourself as well! After all, as I judge myself, so I will judge my neighbor. If I am a dump, and he is even worse than mine ... A vicious circle. Therefore, a respectful, valuable attitude towards oneself is especially important. And how I relate to myself, the same way to others and to God - but this is a topic for a separate conversation.

THIRD: an attempt to understand the other. See beyond your nose

Third step: trying to understand the other, decentering. To get out of the circle of resentment to forgiveness, it is necessary, at least for a short time, to break away from your experiences and think about why the other did this. In resentment, we are very fixated on ourselves: I am poor and unhappy, everyone is against me, what a sufferer I am, how unfair the world is, etc.

A feeling of resentment strongly concentrates a person on himself. And it is very difficult to go beyond your offended state and look at another, especially at the one who does such nasty things to me.

An important proposition developed by one of the psychotherapeutic schools that deal with resentment quite successfully is as follows: Behind every resentment is the belief that the other can and should behave differently .

But if we try to seriously think about why a person acted this way and not otherwise, think about what happened to him at that particular moment, and be honest, we will most likely come to doubt whether the person really could do otherwise? To act as we expected from him, based on our own ideas about him, and not on the basis of his real capabilities?

How did he feel at that particular moment when he offended us? Maybe something preceded this? Maybe he was seized with passion, he was seized with anger, and therefore he began to scream? What drove them? What was the motivation? A conscious desire to harm me or…

If, for example, he spoke in anger, then anyone who has spoken in anger at least once knows how difficult it is to stop. No wonder there is such an expression: person carries . Even linguistically, it turns out that there is no subject left here (passive voice). We ourselves in this state do things for which we later become ashamed. And it is important to turn to our own experience, because if we remember similar moments about ourselves, we can better understand our offenders.

If you manage to realize that in fact the other could not behave differently (although it usually seems to us that, of course, he could), then almost 90 percent of the insults go away. But it is very difficult to take into account the motives and circumstances of another person, when we ourselves feel bad, and even through his fault.

It seems obvious that if a person cannot, then he should not. But often we are not even interested in whether he can or not. We immediately demand: you owe , you don’t do it - I’m offended by you. Or vice versa, you do something bad, but you should have done something good - I take offense at you. It is useful to remember that we, too, often fail to achieve what others expect of us.

It is possible to carry out serious psychological work with yourself, not necessarily with a psychologist, when you can take some of your resentment and try to look at the other, at the one you are offended by, figure out how much he really is could have done differently, or should have done differently. At first, it can be very difficult to move away from the belief that another could have done otherwise.

It is important to be painstakingly honest and to turn to our own experience when we think we could do otherwise. Most often, we greatly exaggerate our capabilities, which causes us to fall into a false sense of guilt, but neurotic guilt is not the topic of this article.

FOURTH: forgiveness in the context of eternity. "Don't judge him, Lord!"

At one of the parish retreats, one of the catechists said in her report: “Forgiveness is natural when you think about death. ” Of course, there is the truth of our pain, there is sometimes some kind of intolerance, the inability to withstand another person, he has caused so much evil.

But if you manage to think more deeply, place your view in the context of eternity - not in the context of our relationship with him now, but in the context of eternity, when both he and I come to God, then ... what then? Can I really say to God on the threshold of eternity: “You know, he did all this to me - You take it into account, please”? What will happen to my heart when we reach this milestone?

These are matters that, of course, are not easy to talk about, but at the same time, they are seriously important in our topic. Here a special existential truth is revealed, if we can look at those people who offend us in this way.

Remembrance can also help here: did I have something good connected with this person? After all, we most often take offense at the people closest to us, those who are especially dear to us, and there are reasons why this happens. We resent those we love very much, and sometimes it can be helpful to simply shift our attention from obsessing over the nasty things to remembering something good that is associated with this person.

This logic of expanding the field of view is very important. Because in a state of resentment, a strong narrowing of the gaze occurs. In resentment there is such a narrow-mindedness, a person sees, in fact, only himself and his pain, and the other as evil. And it is important to open your eyes, expand your gaze and remember that yes, there is bad, but in general there is good.

From this extended logic, it is easier to understand why a person behaved this way, that he is not an unambiguous walking evil, just like me, I am not a walking garbage can. And perhaps such a view, still here in this world, will help us someday, following Vl. Anthony, to say: “Judge him not, Lord!”

FIFTH: an attempt to look at a person through the eyes of God. Meeting with Love

Continuing the logic of reflections on the spiritual plane, we can suggest trying to look both at the offender and at oneself through the eyes of God. In practice, this is not easy to do, because our image of God is often seriously distorted, often parental traits are attributed to him: authoritativeness, strictness, detachment, indifference. Often in therapy, for example, you can hear from a client: if my mother didn’t care about me, and she was never interested in me, then God, all the more, doesn’t care about me.

Here we touch on an important and difficult topic: the distortion of the image of God in ourselves. It often happens like this: how my parents treated me, so, I think, God treats me. Therefore, it is still a big question, through whose eyes I will look. Therefore, in a sense, we can say that this “method” is not suitable for everyone. After all, if I have a strong distortion of ideas about God, then I will not look with anyone's eyes.

Obviously, none of us can say that we have the true knowledge of God, His true image. But we are called to approach Him, to recognize Him. You can try: in the practice of prayerful reflection, in particular, before the cross, remembering Christ, Who spoke from the cross about forgiveness, you can try to look at those who offended us . ..

Good Friday. He is crucified. He hangs on a cross. Living Man. Nails in the hands and feet, but the breath in the chest is still alive. They mock him, mock him, share his clothes. They say: if you are God, come down from the cross. If I'm standing next to me, what's wrong with me? What about my resentment? Entering into a prayerful standing before Him, one can think: how does the Lord look at me now, when I am tormented by my resentment, with my inability to forgive, and I come to His cross? How does He view my offender? How does He look at us together? What does He want for us, for me, for him?

These are very intimate reflections that can take place deep in the heart, at the place of a mysterious meeting with the gaze of Love. Such a view helps to transfer our grievances to a completely different dimension.


Summing up this little reflection, we can say: forgiveness is a process. The main thing is to start with the smallest steps, without expecting big results from yourself right away. Do not think that if we have a five-condition chart, we have found a recipe for forgiveness. If our grievances last for years and decades, it will not be possible to get rid of them in a month or two.

It is worth setting yourself up for serious and long-term work, honesty with yourself and with God. And, who knows, maybe this process itself will bring results that we do not expect, as it often happens when God gives us even more than we sometimes dared to want.

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Forgive but not forget an offense: how to learn to forgive without offense

How often in life we ​​have to forgive, but not understand. Is it true that if you have been offended, then you must certainly squeeze forgiveness out of yourself?

You can forgive, but not forget the offense. We forgive because we have to, as we were taught as children. But how to forgive in order to experience true relief? If forgiveness doesn't work, maybe it wasn't worth forgiving?

Real and imaginary forgiveness

From childhood we are told that forgiveness of other people's sins is a good thing. It relieves the poison of resentment that corrodes from within.

However, not everyone succeeds in achieving genuine spiritual purification and making life easier after forgiveness. Most people manage to forgive, but not understand the offender. How much this “forgiveness” will correspond to real feelings is a big question.

Let's take a simple example.

Once upon a time there was Ivan and Marya. He cheated on her - the usual story. She, as usual, grieved a little and forgave him. In words, everything turned out beautifully and touchingly. But the worm of resentment continued to live in Marya's soul. When meeting with Ivan, he began to stir in the girl's soul. Not a single date was without reproaches and quarrels. As a result, the couple still broke up.

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Why didn't the everyday rule work in this story: to forgive means to forget? Yes, because forgiveness was forced - the very “imaginary forgiveness”. Instead of a major "repair" of the wounded soul, a cosmetic one was made. Mental dirt - resentment, humiliation, a sense of injustice - was simply removed from sight.

Driven into the corner of the mental labyrinth, energy debris has not gone anywhere. He constantly reminded himself of his fear of a possible repetition of that murderous situation. Marya managed only in words to forgive, but not to forget the offense inflicted by Ivan.

Such false forgiveness is more harmful than the offense itself. This is an enemy that can stab in the back at any moment. It can not only aggravate mental anguish, but also harm bodily health.

How to learn to forgive insults?

Experts of the human soul say that real forgiveness needs compensation. If you have been offended, you will calm down only when you receive worthy compensation for the damage caused to you.

Otherwise, the feeling of resentment - this indefatigable seething dark passion - will not go anywhere. She will stir up an unhealed wound in the depths of her soul and periodically float to the surface under a variety of disguises.

Here are just some of the manifestations of artificial forgiveness:

  1. Revenge.

    Unredeemed resentment often turns into its own sister - revenge. Such a transformation is not always realized by a person. It is often subdued. So, Marya, who seems to have forgiven the treacherous Ivan - suppose they again began to live and live together - will annoy him in every possible way. Either he refuses intimacy, then he arranges a scene of jealousy, then he tortures him with interrogations. Such "forgiveness" can be a loved one and from the light of lime.

  2. Anger.

    Inescapable resentment can periodically appear under the guise of anger. Outbursts of rage, fueled by constantly accumulating irritation, will suddenly overshadow the mind of the sufferer, hitting him like a bolt from the blue.

  3. Fear.

    An offended person who has managed to forgive, but not understand the culprit of his troubles, is subject to panic attacks. He will be constantly haunted by the fear of repeating the shame once experienced. This chilling feeling will not allow you to kindle a fire of new relationships, trust someone, open your soul.

  4. Body ailments.

    Many serious ailments of the body are the result of negative emotions driven inside. This dark energy cannot stay locked up for long. Like a jack-in-the-box, it constantly bursts out, gradually destroying the body.

What kind of compensation should I claim?

It is not enough to know that there is genuine and imaginary forgiveness. Don't be afraid to ask for a refund.

It must be proportional to the offense. These can be words of apology or other signs of attention. It does not matter in what form you will be compensated for the damage - the main thing is that this is enough to forgive you personally.

In other cases, you can also take money for moral damage. After all, if jewelry is stolen from you, it is unlikely that the robber’s words will calm you down: “Sorry, I won’t do it again.” At the very least, you will require him to fully compensate for the material loss.

In case of offense, you must regain not God knows what, but the lost trust and peace of mind. Otherwise, you can search in vain all your life for an answer to the question of how to learn to forgive insults. Unlike revenge, this way of solving a problem will not harm anyone.

Compensation is a good deed on the part of someone who has done badly.

She puts an end to the showdown. The offender has a chance to make amends. And the offended party does not need to take on an overwhelming burden - to decide to forgive, but failing to forget the offense.

Of course, it is impossible to completely erase what happened from memory. But on the other hand, there will be no reason to constantly reproach the guilty person for the deed, mentally chewing on long-standing grief. Compensation will allow the participants in the incident to finally get even.

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What if it is not possible to make amends?

If it turns out that your abuser is out of reach - he left, disappeared, ran away - do not rush to forgive.

Try to recover first. Fortunately, you don’t always have to “lick your wounds” alone. Sometimes fate sends assistants in this matter.

For example, if Marya does not receive compensation from Ivan and they part, then the new betrothed will help to ease the torment of the beautiful girl. His appearance will warm her soul, numb from disappointment, and Marya will again believe in love. And then he can finally forgive the traitor.

If the girl does not get such a gift of fate, she will have to go through her sadness on her own.

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