Forgiveness: Is It For Us Or Others?

Woman with closed eyes practicing forgiveness

Forgiveness

Is It For Us Or Others?

Written by Randi Fine

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine
“To err is human, to forgive divine.” ~ Alexander Pope

Living in an imperfect world we are all, at some point in our lives, faced with the dilemma of forgiveness.

When someone who matters to us is hurtful, painful emotions such as anger and sadness are roused in us. In the aftermath we may find ourselves dwelling on the injustice of the situation. By clinging to the pain of the past, allowing the wrongdoing to define us, the resulting bitterness may taint all future experiences and relationships.

Forgiveness is a hard concept for many to grasp. It may seem as if by forgiving someone we are handing the person a “Get Out of Jail Free Card”;  giving him or her permission to have crossed the line with us. But that is not so.

The act of forgiveness does not justify a wrongdoing. It releases us from the grip that hinders our well-being. It gives us back our personal power, the power we have freely given the person who hurt us. In forgiving we commit to healing our wounds, letting the past go, and allowing positive changes to occur in our lives.

The decision to forgive is not an easy one.  It may be challenging, especially when the wrongdoer does not sincerely apologize or demonstrate remorse for his or her actions.

When weighing a wrongdoing we should first take the person’s circumstance into consideration. Imagining ourselves “in his or her shoes” may give us a valuable perspective that we may have overlooked.

We should also consider how much emotional energy we have expended on the betrayal. Is it proportionate to the offense? Have we over-reacted or carried things too far?

We can sincerely forgive someone without excusing the person’s actions, and it is up to us whether or not to verbalize that forgiveness. It does not matter which way we go. Forgiveness is for us, not others.

Bear in mind that there may come a time when you will want to be forgiven. You should never ask for something you are unwilling to give. In forgiveness, as in every other aspect of living, we should always demonstrate the mercy, faith, and love we expect to receive from others.

Randi Fine is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.

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