Forgiveness isn’t about ‘condoning’ what happened. It’s not an easy pass, complacency or letting ourselves or someone else off the hook, as if to say the alternative is punishment or suitable atonement.

Contrary to popular belief, forgiveness doesn’t equate to forgetting. We don’t have to let someone back into our lives to the same degree they were before. There’s no memory wipe. In fact, forgiveness isn’t about the other party; it’s about us. If our takeaway from a past event that hurt, angered and disappointed us is ‘I’m not good enough’, we’ve learned the wrong lesson.

A great place to start with forgiveness is not carrying on as if we’re the masterful architect of our demise. We must get truthful and have an honest conversation with ourselves. Painful feelings always point to untrue stories. It’s recognising our (and other people’s) humanness and acknowledging where we end and others begin. Instead of criticising ourselves for not living up to the image of our ideal self, we finally forgive ourselves for our imperfections. We break the emotional tie to that experience by updating the narrative with the self-compassion that comes with perspective.

The fact that we remember what happened with someone or that we don’t want to snap back to old ways isn’t bearing grudges. We’re not bad forgivers or bad people. No, we don’t need to keep reliving what happened or keep it in mind. However, we do need to use the experience to evolve positively.

Forgiveness essentially means having better boundaries and letting ourselves heal, grow, and learn. We don’t have to be victimised by the past and other people’s behaviour. In turn, we’re not open to the same situation in the same way in future, paving the way for a more fulfilling and peaceful life.

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