Saturday, 26 March 2016
Forgive and forget
It's hard to forgive someone why has deliberately insulted you or exploited you or cheated you out of something. It's not as if they made an innocent mistake and didn't really know what they were doing.
Likewise it's hard to forget something that had a big impact on your life, that ruined a relationship or lost you a job or wrecked your health. How can you forget something that had a lasting influence and can't be reversed?
I can't forgive my parents for keeping me at a school that was clearly unsuited to my personality and abilities, and where I was obviously unhappy. I can't forgive a particular boss for putting me through a nerve-wracking disciplinary process for what I thought was a quite trivial offence. I can't forgive politicians who have made life worse for so many people. I can't forgive the neighbours who kept us awake time after time with their all-night parties. Nor can I forget all these things, unless I suddenly develop total amnesia.
So no, I think forgiving and forgetting is a pretty tall order. Maybe the saintly gurus and holy men can manage it, but for most of us it's a non-starter. What is practical though is to say, I don't forgive and I don't forget but there's nothing to be gained in dwelling on these things and wishing they had never happened. And there's nothing to be gained by fuming with rage or seeking revenge. That won't remedy anything, it'll just turn me into a sour, bitter old sod.
Even that's too much for some. People nurse their private grudges for years, even when the person who prompted them is long dead and buried. They go on pushing for "justice" when anyone else can see they're asking for the moon.
Forgive and forget? You'll be lucky.