A few nights ago I was visiting one of the few people in the world I trust. I told her how my new “city life” was slowly transitioning out of the honeymoon phase. Life was getting harder.
I explained I was having a hard time trusting someone. This is a huge pattern in my life. I suck at trusting.
“So why do you think you’re having such a hard time trusting someone that’s proven to you over and over again they can be trusted?”
Great point. “Probably because last time I really trusted someone, I got hurt. Bad.”
“You should probably deal with that.”
I raised my eyebrows and rolled my eyes all in one motion. “Oh really?”
She smiled back, “Yeah. You should.”
With a second eye roll, I thought to myself, what does that even mean?
Deal with it.
Forgiveness Isn’t the Whole Answer
“Haven’t I already dealt with this?”
My first thought? Yes, of course I’ve dealt with it. I forgave, and moved on.
I thought back to one of the most painful events in my life, about a year and a half ago. And it took me a few months to really forgive.
I remember the day I chose to forgive him, painful memories still flooded my mind. Choosing to forgive was hard, but at the end of the day, it didn’t really change much. That night, the events still replayed over and over again in my mind keeping me awake for hours.
I desperately reminded myself: You forgave. It’s over.
But it wasn’t.
I was still largely affected every day by what happened.
When I asked close friends and mentors what they thought, I got the same question: Are you sure you forgave him?
As if a simple decision to stop being angry or resentful suddenly erased everything that happened.
It didn’t. The role of forgiveness is not to say what happened was right or forgettable. The role of forgiveness is to erase a debt, to let go of anger, to stop planning revenge. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean relationships go back to the way they were. Forgiveness doesn’t mean trust is restored. Forgiveness sometimes cannot fix what happened.
So I came to this conclusion: Forgiveness isn’t always the whole answer.
The Rest of the Solution
I’m just not into those easy answers that don’t really solve any problems.
I’ve had too much experience with pain to know that in most situations a decision to forgive isn’t when everything is fixed. If we think it is, we’re going to end up twenty years down the road with shallow relationships and a deep fear of trust.
After a year and a half of slowly dealing with what happened I think I’ve finally found the answer.
The only way to deal with our hurt is to live.
It’s to keep going when we think we can’t. To stay when we desperately want to run. To trust when we’re scared. To get on living.
To live in spite of our fears, doubts, and past goes against our every instinct, but it’s the only way to move on.
After a year and a half of living despite of my fear, I’ve grown in more ways that I ever imagined. There were days I wanted to run. There were days I wanted to stay in bed. But the days I chose to really live, I was one step closer to healing.
Choose to stay, trust, and live. You won’t regret it.
I want to know your thoughts about this.
What do you think about forgiveness? Is forgiveness the end or just the beginning?