Remembering the offense without hatred is the key. But that is not forgiveness. It is an act of prudence and you can call it anything you want.
It is ok NOT to forgive, if the offender refuses to sincerely apologize and offer atonement. But for the sake of your health (physical, mental and spiritual) it is wise to tolerate without hate or holding a grudge. However, this does not mean that you have to forget the offense, on the contrary, you should remember and learn from it. Learn from the cruelty of the past to be better and not bitter.
It is always good to forgive but do not dwell on the idea of forgiveness. It has a tendency of giving an individual a sense of “holier than thou” attitude. Instead focus on being nice, kind, respectful, and grateful. Do not focus on the idea of forgiveness, instead think about why you feel the way you do. Why are you hurt? Is it a mental or emotional pain? Is it about your dignity? Were you physically abused? Most of the time the answer is not forgiveness but rather the understanding of the things that happened the way they did because from there your answer (solution) will be crystal clear. When you understand, the healing process can begin. Forgiveness alone does not heal. Knowing the “why” starts the healing process.
Listen quietly. Listening can work wonders. Listen to the person who wants to be forgiven. Learn to accept an apology without bitterness. Forgiveness opens the path to a better and meaningful communication. Learn to apologize and then to forgive yourself. Give yourself a chance to improve, build self-respect and be a better person.
When an individual deprives another or himself and in the process hurts himself or the other person, retribution is usually sought after by the person who is hurt. Retribution is not only outwards, it can also be inwards. People hurt themselves because of guilt. However, retribution can be averted through forgiveness via atonement or repentance for the violation(s) committed.
The law of the universe listens to “apology” and our ability to forgive. Our inability to apologize or forgive will only create the same results for our actions. We are emotional creatures and anger is one of our strongest instinctive defense mechanism. Anger can be controlled but when left to fester it can grow to become hatred. Anger passes but hatred lasts a lifetime.
It is easier to forgive an outburst of anger when later followed with a sincere apology. More often than not the outburst of anger had no attachment to hatred. It was but a negative reaction to some words or actions. The uncontrolled manifestation of anger is the problem in our society.
The inability to forgive is caused by disconnection. Be wary of those who seek forgiveness through empty apologies or those who apologize but aren’t willing to be accountable. Also be wary of those who preach forgiveness to be the responsibility of the offended. They preach “forgive them even if they are not sorry”. These are the same type of people who preach tolerance for willful and fully aware offensive words and deeds. They preach tolerance so they can impose their will upon you.
“Add-ons and comments”:
From a reader on Facebook:
“However part of forgiveness is that one cannot be around that person anymore. Or the forgiveness becomes foolishness. “
“There are exceptions. You or Your loved one can make a foolish mistake that will hurt each other and break you apart. Apology and Forgiveness most of the time will patch things up and make a stronger bond. The scar or patch will remain as a reminder of your mistake. “