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I don’t believe in astrological star signs or daily horoscopes.
Sure, I’ll read my daily horoscope if I see it somewhere, but I’m smart enough not to take it seriously. But despite my robust skepticism, I have to admit I epitomize my star sign. I’m a true-blue, hot-headed, take-no-prisoners, zero-f*cks-given, sting-you-to-death Scorpio.
I’m also a never-forgive-or-forget Scorpio.
You see, I’m good with moving on. I give infinite chances to people until I reach that stage of no return, which is when I cut my losses and move on. And I never look back. Not ever.
But man…I don’t forget. And while I used to publicly admit to forgiving, deep inside, I never truly did.
Part of the reason I’m so willful about the never-forgive-or-forget policy is that when I make a mistake or hurt someone, I say sorry immediately. Sometimes, I apologize even if it’s not my mistake because I can tell that the other person feels genuinely aggrieved. So, I’ve never felt any less of a person for saying sorry. I have no ego with apologies.
That’s why when someone hurts me and either refuses to apologize or pretends they did nothing wrong, the rage inside me increases exponentially.
Until December 2020 happened, and I got royally screwed over by even the ones closest to me. The ones who should have been there for me but weren’t. The ones who promised to be there but turned around and gaslit me. I realized then that most of us are equipped to deal with sh*tty behavior from people in general but cannot handle it when the betrayal comes from those closest to us. And when that happens, something fundamentally shifts and changes inside of you.
And it changed me as well.
But unlike what most of my friends expected to happen—that I would get even more cynical—my change was different. I went in the opposite direction. Dealing with the loss that comes with death combined with sucky behavior from those still living, I spent the initial six or seven months wallowing in my misery. And then something changed. Once I learned that grief and loss will never leave me and that the only way for me to get out of that quagmire is to learn to live with grief, I started to get better and gained my old strength back.
That’s also when I realized something: I was carrying the weight of other people and their transgressions. In the past, I’d try and leave the bitterness and anger behind and move on, but deep inside, I still held on to their betrayal. And that meant I carried a lot of heavy baggage that was bringing me down. I knew I needed to change.
I’m still nowhere close to being Zen enough to forget. But, yes. I’m slowly but surely learning to let go by trying to forgive those who wounded me. Let me be clear though: I’m learning to forgive but, for the most part, that also means I cut off any relations with these people as well.
But none of this came easily to me. So, I took refuge in advice from people more learned and wiser than me, and gave myself a crash course on forgiveness.
These quotes are helping me learn to let go; they’re helping me learn to forgive. I hope they help you also.
1. “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” ~ Unknown
This quote, often mistakenly attributed to Oscar Wilde, is beyond true. Nothing irritates those who’ve hurt you more than you forgiving them 100 percent and moving on without looking back.
See, you hurt only if you allow yourself to be hurt. And you hurt more when you choose not to forgive. The day I forgave the ones who hurt me after my loss, I moved on. But I can tell that they haven’t. It nags them. It bothers them. And that, to me, is the best revenge.
2. “Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this. Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.” ~ Robert Jordan
I’m not playing the gender card, but maybe there’s some truth to this? Speaking personally, I’m exactly where Jordan says women are: I’m forgiving. But no, I ain’t forgetting.
3. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
I’m not sure if I necessarily believe this. I think forgiveness requires a certain character trait. I’m just not sure it’s strength. I was plenty strong when I did not forgive and I’m plenty strong now that I am forgiving. What I do know is that I feel lighter than I did before.
Again, I’m not claiming I’m completely okay or that I forgive everyone all the time. But I’m taking small steps toward forgiving and it’s making me feel better. That I will admit.
4. “You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.'” ~ Maya Angelou
Yes, this! This speaks to how I feel when I forgive. What forgiving someone has done to me is allowed me to end the story. That doesn’t mean that the relationship is over with all of them though. Some of these people are close family and breaking it off completely is not practical or doable.
But it has allowed me to say, “This is it. I’m done. I forgive you for your sh*tty behavior. But I will also no longer feel for you the way I did before.” In that sense, I am finished with them.
5. “Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying ‘You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.’ It’s saying, ‘You don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.'” ~ Jodi Picoult
I agree so much with this. Forgiving those who hurt me these past few months has allowed me to let go of the past. Like I said, moving on hasn’t been an issue for me. I’m able to compartmentalize and move on from pain and agony and live my life. But forgiving someone from the bottom of your heart means that they no longer have any hold over you.
Like Picoult says, they’re no longer important enough to have a stranglehold on you. So, I can still be in their lives and have them in mine, they just don’t mean as much anymore. That’s a wondrous place to be.
6. “Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love.” ~ Fred Rogers
This is exactly what I’ve been dealing with since December 2020. When those closest to us betray us and then the world expects us to forgive them? Like, WTF?! I raged against this unfair expectation for such a long time, until I realized that those who hurt me were never going to apologize. And constantly moaning and moping about their heinous behavior just hurt me more.
So, by forgiving them, I’m able to close the door on that bitter story. It doesn’t mean the hurt goes away completely or that you stop wondering and asking questions. The pain just gradually reduces with the hope that one day it will leave your body, heart, and soul.
7. “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” ~ Nelson Mandela
I feel so disgusted with myself every time I read this quote. Mandela went through an ordeal that most of us can’t even imagine. When I think about the little betrayals I’ve experienced, I’m ashamed. Because if he went through 40 years of imprisonment purely because of the color of his skin, why the f*ck am I whining when I’ve led a life of privilege compared to billions in this world?
Yes, everyone’s experiences are important to them and affect them. But we also need to read and know about the lives of others who’ve had it a million times worse and are still able to forgive—truly forgive—and move on. If they can do it, so can we. This was a big lesson for me.
8. “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” ~ Thomas Szasz
Well, I’ve been stupid for the longest time in my life. No one who knows me would ever accuse me of being naïve. But, I’m finally becoming wise, and I’m okay with that.
9. “Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” ~ Marianne Williamson
I think this is the biggest realization I’ve made since December 2020. Even now, I struggle with forgiving the ones who broke my heart. That struggle is real. It’s palpable. It’s physical. It hurts my inner being and my soul is still ravaged.
But in the face of not getting any acknowledgment of their behavior, much less an apology, I realized that forgiving them and letting them go is the only way I will ever get peace. Like I said, the rage and anger aren’t completely gone. But they lessen with time and the peace is increasing as well.
10. “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” ~ Catherine Ponder
I’m getting there, Catherine. I’m getting there. I’m trying to dissolve the link and become truly free.
11. “True forgiveness is when you can say ‘Thank you for that experience.'” ~ Oprah
This is my goal. To get to this point. Right now, I can be honest and admit I’m nowhere close to this point and I’m not sure I ever will be. But I have a goal to work toward—and I’m grateful for that.
How about you? Are you able to forgive and forget? Comment and let me know what you think!