The Freedom of Forgiveness

Forgiveness allows us to move past our grievances and negativity despite the need for closure that may not be possible in some circumstances. When someone hurts us, we may feel an innate need to reconcile our differences or to at least find a way to express to this person just how deeply we are wounded. What happens when this is not possible? What happens when all communication has come to a halt and there is no way to find the closure we are craving so desperately? What then?

Over the last six months, I have been struggling with this myself. Once I was no longer a prisoner of false hope, I began to see the situation in a much clearer light. I was at first ashamed that I had been so blind to his misdoings and manipulative nature. Then, I became very angry and after this faded, I was left feeling truly heartbroken. For many years, he was my closest friend, my confidant, someone I trusted with every ounce of my being. Then one day he was gone. Our four-year friendship was tossed a side as if it meant nothing. How does someone recover from that? How is it possible to fully trust someone like that again? Six months ago, my answer would have been, “You don’t”.

In the first few months after it happened, there were many moments when I wanted to reach out to him. I was searching for the closure I was craving so desperately. Sadly, I knew it would make no difference. He had made the decision to write me off and regardless of whether the reason for doing this was at all rational or rooted in truth (it was not), his pride would never allow him to admit any wrong doing. I was the easiest person for him to blame. Knowing me much better than I knew him, I am sure he was aware of just how much our friendship meant to me and how much his actions would cut me to the core. Despite his accusations of my supposed misconduct, he has to know in his heart that there was no way I would be able to do anything to hurt him and I didn’t (not intentionally). I am sure he also knows that in time, I will forgive him, so he can just brush everything under the rug like he always does and life will go on as usual. Well that is great for him, but what about me? I don’t deserve any of this, but it is also not his responsibility to give me the closure I am seeking either. So what do I do?

I reached out to my friends. Those who knew him, know me and know the situation. One of my friends pointed out that I am giving him too much credit. I rather enjoyed this revelation! She told me boldly, “Despite how horrible he  has treated you, you seem to still hold him on this pedestal and it pisses me off. The pedestal is much shorter now, but you still talk about him as if he were above you looking down. Have you ever thought that maybe he treated you the way he did because he realized that he was not good enough for you? That you were the one above him and he felt he didn’t deserve you?”

That possibility never occurred to me. I have spent some much time thinking things were the way they were because he didn’t think I was good enough for him; I wasn’t skinny enough, pretty enough, wealthy enough, etc. These are very self-defeating thoughts and I had been letting them take over my mind for years. Not just with the man in question, but with other men in my past. When she told me this, I thought back to a very similar situation I had been in when I was very young with someone who I also thought was one of my best friends. He too was aware of just how much our friendship meant to me and used this to his advantage whenever it suited him. I overheard him talking to another friend of ours at my house one day and what he said changed our relationship forever.

He and my other friend were talking about relationships and their trouble with women. In the month preceding, he and I had grown closer and I was hopeful it may turn in to something more, so when I heard this subject come up I am not ashamed to tell you that I leaned in to ease drop! They were inside the house and I was picking up some debris in the yard just outside an open window. I will never forget what I heard.

He said,  “…tell me about it, I’m so desperate I may end up settling for her (meaning me)”

I never said anything to him, but I backed off rather quickly and although we are still friends on Facebook, that is the extent of it. I am no longer upset with him, but rather relieved that I overheard this little tidbit before I fell any harder. He ended up meeting someone and they seem very happy together. I  care for him to the extent of wishing him well, but the deeper feelings I had for him so long ago are completely non-existent.

Remembering this story, gave me the answer I had been searching for. What happens when the closure you are seeking is not possible? What do you do?

The answer is: Be patient.

It is not the easy answer and it will not happen overnight, but have faith. Time will heal all wounds. We just have to be patient and we need to find a way to forgive those who have wronged us regardless of how deeply hurt we are. Don’t dwell on the pain someone may have caused you, focus on the joy they brought to your life and the lessons they put before you. In time these feelings of despair and disappointment will build your strength and expand your wisdom.

In the end there is only you. Love yourself, even when others are too blind to realize how wonderful you are!

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6 thoughts on “The Freedom of Forgiveness

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