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Sometimes it’s amazing how effective forgiving someone can be when it comes to personal healing and release, and (ironically) being forgiven by someone usually results in feelings of redemption or peacefulness as well. However, this does not mean that everyone deserves to be forgiven, or that everyone should be forgiven. It’s too bad that knowing when and when not to forgive isn’t more black and white, but most things in life aren’t; it can be just as difficult to know when to accept an apology from someone we despise than it is to forgive someone we dislike—especially when it seems as though the other person couldn’t care less.
Regardless, if forgiving will help you free yourself from stress, anxiety, or any other negative emotions, then there’s no shame in putting forth the time and effort to try to heal yourself. Treating others with kindness normally does have positive and productive effects, and this notion is even more true when the other person or people don’t necessarily deserve your kindness. Yet, it’s just as important to set, maintain, and enforce boundaries in terms of how far your kindness or forgiveness extends.
It’s usually never a good idea to give someone a free pass back into your heart soon after they have significantly wounded it. Rather, simply giving someone a clean slate moving forward and allowing them the opportunity to slowly gain back your trust over time—or not—is prudent advice to follow. With all of this being said, it’s entirely possible to forgive someone without allowing them back into your life at all, and oftentimes this is the most sensible and helpful route to opt for. Again, a lot of it will likely come down to trust; if you know you’ll never be able to trust someone again, having them in your life will probably only have negative effects on your life—and you.
When contemplating forgiveness, it’s beneficial to think of it as accepting the wrongs that have been done to you, releasing those wrongs, and calming your heart. Forgiving someone and then moving on from them entirely does not make you spiteful, hateful, or bad; forgiveness is not a free pass, and forgiveness should never leave you feeling trapped or pressured. As mentioned, there are many situations, circumstances, and scenarios in which it will only hurt you to keep someone in your life whether you’ve forgiven them completely or not. Keep in mind that forgiveness should provide you with strength as opposed to making you weaker; the healing or strengthening may be slow, but it should be continual.
And once you possess the strength to fully accept, heal, and release—never hesitate to use it if feels like you should.
Main image source: Bianca des Jardins
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.