There’s a notion floating around—worryingly in some therapy and well-being circles—that forgiveness is necessary for growth.
This idea is often applied to people who have been abused or harmed and who suffer because of the actions of another person.
When looked at this way, this idea of forgiveness is harmful because it places the burden of responsibility on people who live with the legacy of abuse. It reflects a culture where the abused are essentially blamed for the difficult experiences and emotions they live with as a consequence of abuse—a toxic culture where victims aren’t taken seriously and are told they are being “too sensitive,” “dramatic,” or should “just move on” and “get over it.”
Forgiveness is a personal choice and not something someone else can decide for us. It is up to us to decide whether we want to forgive.
Let’s focus on creating space for personal autonomy—understanding others’ unique lived experiences and really listening and hearing them instead of expecting others to conform to toxic ideas.