Easier said than done

By: sonofabeach96

Jan 04 2016

Category: Uncategorized


Forgiveness.  It’s said that by forgiving someone, you are actually freeing yourself.  From anger, angst, and animosity.  Relieving yourself of resentment and letting bad blood seep through wounds.  Sounds easy, right?  “I forgive you”.  Three words that signify cleansing of the soul.  That should benefit us when scorned or scorched by someone.  So easy to say…yet so hard to mean.

I struggle a bit with this myself.  There are a few people that I’ve tried to forgive, truly and completely, and to really mean it.  But I just can’t find the combination, the one that unlocks that safe full of peace.  I struggle to this day with feelings of resentment, anger, frustration, and annoyance with these people.  And just when I feel like I’ve actually forgiven them, and thus moved on, something will trigger it all over again.  And the naive notion that I’ve really forgiven them, and let go of those negative feelings, is refuted yet again.  If I truly want peace, as I state and believe, I have to let it flow from me, into a pool of bad blood at my feet, and let it go.  I’ve got some work to do.

My songs of the day are:

“So What” by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman

“You Can Bring Me Flowers” by Ray LaMontagne

“Smoke Rings” by k.d. Lang and The Siss Boom Bang

“False Echoes (Havana 1921)” by Jimmy Buffet

“The Horizon Has Been Defeated” by Jack Johnson



64 comments on “Easier said than done”

  1. And if this jolt isn’t better than coffee to wake you up first thing in the morning, then I don’t know what is.
    Powerful post, my friend.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. We all struggle with complete forgiveness sometimes. At this point, I’ve decided if I can’t forgive someone within a reasonable amount of time, I’ll just redefine our relationship as something else (no longer friends, just a coworker for instance) or I will remove this person from my life completely. What can I say? I’m a very loving, understanding person but once you’ve taken things too far with me I’m known to hold a grudge. Sigh. I’m constantly a work in progress!

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s very difficult. I’m like you, in several ways. It takes a bit to really piss me off, but once you do? That’s pretty much it for me, if you’re an acquaintance or co-worker, that sorta thing. The two that prompted this post are family though. That’s a bit more complicated. I hate to give up, tell myself I can’t ever forgive fully, then just cut them out. That’s not what I want. I want to forgive, release that weight, and then restart anew. But I can’t seem to get there, especially when another disappointment is thrust upon the pile of resentment. Maybe cutting off is the way to go. But even then, it’s still there, the ill-will, hurt, etc. Hard, hard thing to manage.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Forgiveness is all about you, it will bring you peace when you find your way to it. There is a lot that goes into the letting go process. Yes, sometimes it has to be a daily cleansing of the negative. Sometimes you have to let go more than once before those negative emotions will leave you be. You don’t have to forget what happened, forgetting can be harmful for you and others you care about. You just re-write your mind story so you handle the remembering differently. Allow their actions to be their problem. You also don’t have to allow those people unworthy of you back into your life. Remember that forgiveness is about letting go of all the negative energy that hating them poisons you with. It’s not about being a doormat for those unworthy of you or about giving them a way to do it again.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I just can’t seem to find the key. And the fact that it’s family makes it messy. It’s a struggle to truly forgive, for my own good. Especially when new instances pop up. I don’t want to completely cut them out, but that may be what I have to do. Then a new problem develops, for me at least: guilt.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Mine were primarily family too. I have some fairly vicious monsters hanging around my family tree. I forgave them so I could have peace in my spirit but that peace demanded I give them the responsibility for their actions. I took back my power and maintained my peace by putting the guilt where it belonged, on them. I confronted them very clearly about what they did, explained to them why it was wrong, how it hurt me and told them they were forgiven. Forgiveness does not remove consequences it only removes hate and vengence. I laid out ground rules for future interaction. They don’t come around much, but when we are in the same room, if they cross a line, I publicly call them out on it. The first few times it was hard for me and shocked everyone because I had always been the one to go out of my way to “keep the peace”. The guilt is there’s not mine, I won’t own it anymore. It took many years of spending daily time letting go of the hate while holding on to the lessons I needed to learn to prevent another generation of pain. Now I seldom feel anything for them other than pity.

        Liked by 4 people

      • That’s where I’m trying to climb to. You said that very well, and that’s a ponder-worthy response. Thanks. 😊

        Liked by 3 people

      • I will be 51 this month I started the forgiveness process when I was 18. It took me about ten years to figure out what worked for me. Good luck, it’s not always easy but it is worth the journey.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I’m 47 now. I should probably get on with it, huh? 😃

        Liked by 2 people

      • LOL wouldn’t hurt. I take that back. It’s quite painful right at first. Then folks accept that you are no longer willing to be the victim and they move on to weaker prey.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve struggled with this too. My mother is evil and for a long time after I cut her out of my life I had problems with this. Then I just decided that I don’t forgive her. But I found a way to accept that she is who she is. She will never change and she can never be apart of my life. For me that was what I needed to find peace. But no, I don’t forgive her.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. You know, I have a real problem with the concept of forgiveness. For one of my conflict resolution classes, we were required to write a paper about forgiveness based on a book of writings by various authors on the topic. It was a real eye-opener for me to see that actually, nobody can even agree on exactly what forgiveness is. Is it a purely internal process? Does it mean that you’re okay with what the person did? Is it a process that requires the involvement of both parties? Does it mean you can continue in relationship with the person who wronged you? Does it require that you let go of anger? Is the process complete even if the other person doesn’t know you’re forgiving them? And so on and so forth.

    Basically I am skeptical and rather scornful of the concept of forgiveness, based on several things, including the fact that there is no agreed-upon definition and so the concept is nebulous, the fact that it is used to pressure victims into behaving benevolently toward abusers, the fact that it makes the sequelae of systemic oppression into a matter of personal choices on the part of the victim, etc.

    “Forgiveness” can make you feel like you’re the bad person if you won’t let go of anger toward the person who hurt you. Well, that’s bullshit. Anger can keep you safe! It’s a reminder that you shouldn’t trust that person again! Or “forgiveness” can be about letting go of negative emotions. Why? So the people around you don’t have to deal with them? I think there are a lot of things that are simply unforgivable by any definition, and trying to forgive those things ultimately causes the victim more harm. I can see wanting to let go of anger, for example, but is that in and of itself actually forgiveness? I can see coming to understand the situation differently and being willing to continue associating with the person who hurt you, but is that forgiveness?

    I can’t take the concept of forgiveness seriously. Nobody can agree on what it is (unlike, say, a chair, which in all its possible permutations is ultimately a stable object with a back upon which to sit, and recognisable to anyone). If it wasn’t used to bully and pressure people into “being nice” and “being good”; if it wasn’t so laden with religious and “moral” weight; if there was any peer-reviewed, replicable, evidence-based research showing that this (defined and agreed-upon) process was actually helpful to people, than I might take it more seriously.

    That said, I agree with many of the ideas that people shove into the bag of forgiveness in terms of how to come to terms with the past and move forward. I just don’t agree that the term “forgiveness” itself is at all useful, and I hate how it is used to shame and guilt and hammer at people who aren’t “healing” or “moving forward” or “letting go of negativity” or “getting over it” as fast as the people around them would like.

    There’s nothing wrong with sitting with the anger and resentment and bitterness as long as you need to. And there’s nothing wrong with letting those go. The trick is to follow your own process in your own time and not let the people around you make you feel like you’re “failing” just because you aren’t finished processing the shit. I think people are really uncomfortable with anger, and it’s easier to tell someone to “just forgive, for your own sake” than to be a good friend and sit with someone’s rage and frustration.

    Yes, this was an essay. Obviously “forgiveness” is one of my buttons! 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • That was so well-said I don’t think I could add to it. Bingo! Yahtzee! You just summed up my internal conflict. I too find “forgiveness” to be a strange concept, in that I feel like by forgiving someone I’ve said to them “It’s ok, I’m alright with the shit you put me through”, yet at the same time I know it’s eating me up inside carrying those feelings of anger and hurt around. I guess I’m looking for a way to ease my burden while still acknowledging how much they suck. Strange dichotomy.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I operate by “never forgive and never forget.” But that doesn’t mean I am obsessed with the past or choking on my own rage. It just means that nobody gets a third chance anymore.

        As far as the feelings of anger and hurt we carry around about past things people have done to us, we have every right to feel angry and hurt. And we just have to process that in whatever way works best for us, be that therapy or triathlons or cake or writing or whatever. That’s an internal process, or maybe also a community (friends and family and?) process, but I fail to see in most cases why it should involve any sense of goodwill toward the offender. Fuck that. You hurt me; it’s not okay; you’ll never get the chance to do it again.

        Maybe part of “easing the burden” is just completely accepting how much they suck. No pressure to prettify it or extend a hand. Maybe?

        Liked by 2 people

      • I feel that, like “Fuck you! I don’t want you in my life!”, but the issue is that it’s my parents. My boys want to be in their lives, to have grandparents. If I cut them off, I feel like I’m stealing something away that has nothing to do with my boys. I’m torn. But forgiveness? Not sure if I’ll ever be able to get to that point. I guess acceptance is a more appropriate goal.

        Liked by 2 people

      • This sounds familiar. Have we talked about this before? One of the reasons I’m glad I don’t have kids is that it would have been a major struggle to set boundaries around their relationship with my dad and his wife. As in, they would have loved to take grandkids on trips and sleepovers, and I wouldn’t ever leave a kid of mine alone with them.

        So. Your boys: are they safe with their grandparents, or do the grandparents do the same shit to them? How about when you and your wife aren’t around? No doubt you’ve already considered that. But I look at my ex whose dad used to beat the crap out of him… and whose brother had no problem leaving his own kids alone with their grandma, convinced he’d never hurt them. Families are weird, and the kids have to come first!!!

        Meanwhile—and I think this is what we talked about months ago—blood doesn’t make family. I think I remember you saying that you also had built up a family out of your friends…? I don’t know whether it would be appropriate or not to cut your parents out of your life, but I do know that your boys are watching how much crap you suck up (or whatever the dynamic is), and are learning lessons from that about how to get along with people and what to tolerate. No pressure, though. 🙂

        My apologies if I’m overstepping. My reaction to this is of course informed by my own situation! (It’s been a few years since I’ve spoken to my dad or my stepmom.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Of course you’re not overstepping, I don’t mind at all. Yes, my “family” consists of my household and my friends, the boys’ “aunts” and “uncles”. No, I don’t feel like my kids are unsafe in a bodily harm kinda way, but I feel like my mom uses them. For what? Not sure. I think she likes to run to her friends and brag about her grandmotherly action of taking them to a movie or coming to one of their events. Like she likes the notion of being the grandma of the year, but not for their benefit, for hers. My dad would never hurt them physically, he’d have to be in their prescence to do so. His absenteeism in their lives is my issue with him. Now, what they did to me for years? That’s another story. But I stopped that shit once I moved out at 17. Still though, the resentment and anger and hurt flood back at times. Yesterday was one of those times, hence the post. I think I need to work on acceptance more and forgiveness less, because I sense that forgiveness ain’t knocking on the door any time soon.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Harm done by parents to children is one of the things I find stands outside any forgiveness. (I am, of course, not referring AT ALL to good-enough parents who just mess up once in a while.) The emotional and psychological damage is so long-lasting and deep-rooted; it occurs in the context of such a vast power differential, in such an atmosphere of secrecy and isolation (“family business”), and in the context of such familial and societal and religious pressure to respect one’s parents and be obedient and obliging; and is such an abuse of power / authority / trust that it is outside the bounds of normal human interaction.

        For resentment and anger and hurt to flood back at times, as you describe, is a perfectly understandable consequences of having one’s trust betrayed. And I’m not just talking about parents who beat or rape their kids here; those abuses are flagrant and obvious. I’m also talking about parents who use their kids to meet their own psychological / emotional needs like you describe your mom, parents who tear down their kids by shaming and humiliating them, parents who don’t understand they THEY are the adults, who project their own issues onto their kids, who gaslight and invalidate their kids, I could go on and on. I’m sure you know what I mean.

        For me, accepting that my dad and stepmom were not going to change, that they had no interest in changing, and that they actually did not understand that they had done / were doing anything wrong—that was the turning point for me. I could finally let go of the idea that if I just did or said the right thing, they would love me and everything would be okay. I don’t forgive them. But I also don’t think about them that much anymore. It’s astounding how much energy and “mental space” got freed up when they turned their backs on me.

        Here’s hoping you come to an acceptance that brings you some peace. But remember that anger and hurt are utterly appropriate responses to being abused or neglected or simply hurt by your parents.

        Hugs if you want them. I feel like we should go off and get drunk and sing maudlin songs now, or go picket some Grandparents’ Rights group.

        Liked by 3 people

      • A nice long weekend with some sun, sand, and surf….Presto! Problem solved! (If only temporarily). Thanks so much for the chat. This post makes perfect sense. It still astonishes me that I’ve lived for 33 years, away from them and their games, no longer their pawn. Yet I still get pissed, when they do something crappy again, and all that energy is wasted on anger, in a thrust! I just want rid of it. That energy can be so utilized elsewhere, believe me! :/

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m loving the idea of the beach fix. -15C here at the mo. I enjoyed the chat as well .

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for making this point: “If it wasn’t used to bully and pressure people into “being nice” and “being good”; if it wasn’t so laden with religious and “moral” weight; if there was any peer-reviewed, replicable, evidence-based research showing that this (defined and agreed-upon) process was actually helpful to people, than I might take it more seriously.” If people didn’t get points for acting as peacemakers, there would not be so much emphasis on allowing someone another attempt at inflicting pain. Peace be with you.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thanks for your feedback. And I totally agree. I mean, I don’t have any problem with peace and peacemaking. But I think that an enforced peace that doesn’t take into account the needs of and actual impacts upon the victim is not really peace; it is another victimisation. Being forced to (or feeling as if you’re forced to) forgive or reconcile with or “be fair” to the perpetrator is another trauma and harm done at a time when one should be supported and validated, not silenced.

        Also, I don’t really understand the whole “negative feelings are bad” trope. Grief is not bad, anger is not bad, resentment is not bad, sorrow is not bad. Feelings aren’t negative or positive; they are just feelings and carry no moral weight. The idea that we should narrow the spectrum of feelings that are acceptable is just weird.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Amen! You just said what I couldn’t articulate.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Sigh. I’m working on this. So difficult. :/ lol

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, in your case, I can see how complicated it could be. Mine is similar, in that the people I mentioned are family. Makes for conflicting back and forths.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m sure. Family is never easy. You love them, you’re stuck with them, you might not like some of them… Makes for lots of unnecessary drama that you certainly don’t need. You have enough going on in your life. Good luck…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hell yeah, I’ve got enough going on. 😃
        What complicates it even more is that it’s parents I’m referring to. That really mucks it all up. It may be easier if I didn’t have kids to consider, but having to explain things to them makes it even muckier (probably not an actual word).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Of course. Because don’t you love when the parents act like children? Makes it really easy to manage them and your own. Sheesh. I feel for you. I’m lucky in that sense but my cousins… Not so much. And it makes life so incredibly difficult for them and their kids. Holidays, birthdays, events… Usually a disaster. Very stressful and very pointless. It’s all about ego. I wish they’d put it aside and do the right thing for the grandkids. :/
        Good luck to you, I really hope it improves.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s odd in my case. My mom is around and sees the boys but my dad? Not so much. In his case, I can’t forgive the lack of participation in his only grandkids’ lives. What happened to me is history. Ignoring them just pisses me off!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rightfully so. No excuse for that.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I still struggle with this, as you know. I do like some of these quotes, but it also points out just how many different ways there are to look at the meaning of forgiveness. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201102/30-quotes-forgiveness

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is kinda convoluted, and there’s a million different definitions. I guess it comes down to what works for an individual. I’m still harbor inch resentment and anger, so I suppose, by definition, I haven’t forgiven. I guess I hope to achieve peace of mind, not necessarily forgiveness. Lack of acceptance may be my issue in this particular case, because I keep hoping behaviors will change. Doesn’t appear they will.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. How do we let go of the anger and the resentment? I think you’re right that acceptance of what happened, not approval of it, is key. I often hear it said that forgiveness is getting to the point where you stop wishing the past could be different. I know that means letting go of the “would’ve, should’ve, could’ve and if onlys.” I also know that this would bring me much peace. But, my heart has not caught up to my rational mind just yet, at least not on a consistent basis.

    Perhaps, it may be worth trying to accept this all for just one day and see how it goes, see how it feels. Then, maybe do it for another day, choose to do this day-by-day. I don’t know. Certainly though, if unsafe and/or unhealthy behaviors continue, I’m not sure how such thoughts would be possible. If they are not healthy or safe to be around, what can you change about the dynamic? You cannot continue in an unhealthy way that puts you at risk. You cannot change them. So, what does that leave, whatever it is I guess that is the path forward. Not much help, am I? I think I give more questions than answers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, that’s ok! Posing more questions than answers help me more than telling me what to do. It makes me think and see things from a different perspective. I like how you put it: My heart hasn’t caught up to my rational brain. That’s exactly the case. My head says “Fuck them! Let it go” but my heart pulls me into the realm of hope. I know they won’t change, yet I still hope they will. It’s frustrating, and makes me mad at myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That is a beautiful beautiful quote and so absolutely true.
    It all starts with forgiveness and hope!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Have you been able to talk to him about it? Ask him why?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, claims it’s nothing personal, nobody’s mad, etc, etc. He’ll make an effort for a bit then the radio silence occurs again. I’m no longer hurt for me, although I still get pissed. What I hurt for are my boys and the fact that they’re missing out on something that is precious: a grandpa. I know not everyone has one, maybe because they died or whatever. But to have him alive and well yet not being an active part of their lives hurts me for them. I don’t know what to tell them.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Acceptance/forgiveness of how he is is going to be difficult, especially since he is hurting your boys. I don’t know what it is, why we continue to hang on to the hope for something better, something more from the people in our lives, no matter how many times they continue to disappoint us. I used to think if I repeated ‘I forgive you or I accept you for how you are’ often enough that it would seep in. It doesn’t. It seems to piss me off more, like I am trying to convince myself that it’s ok. I realize I have no pearls of wisdom here but my heart aches for you guys. You are right SOB, easier said than done.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Indeed. I’m back and forth between thinking he may try more and then being pissed because he didn’t follow through. We’ve reached out, displayed the olive branch, tried. Not much changes. Not sure if it’ll ever change. He’s not a young man anymore either, so who knows if it’ll ever be resolved. Most days I see it as his loss but sometimes I see it as ours

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Forgiveness is a hard part of life. But I don’t see forgiveness as a gift to the forgiven one. I see forgiveness as a peace gift to the forgiver.

    “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
    I think that’s one of the brightest qoutes, because that reduces the persons who do you wrong and it reduces the meaning of their actions too, even if their wrongdoing against you hurt you bigtime.

    They hurt you even more if you constantly have their actions in mind and struggle with how to deal with those thoughts and feelings. While they probably already moved on. That’s not fair to yourself.

    But it is not easy to forgive anyway. But I have learn to think that wrongdoing people, family or not shall not get more of my thinking time than necessary. They win if I let them take up my thinking time too much, and I don’t want that.

    To stay cool when they think they can upset me makes my inner power grow and their actions becomes small and cheapskate.

    I hope you one day find peace in your mind. If you call it forgiveness or something else doesn’t matter. Just don’t let them win 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. for me….its one day at a time….I try to remain in my state of mind of peace, tranquility…I have no one to this date that I hold anger for, resentment yes, but I try very hard to let it go….most days I can, but if I think about the person…it just comes boiling back up to the surface…breath deep….in and out….refuse to hear or whisper there name….poof the feeling is gone again…..kat

    Liked by 1 person

  13. For me, it’s more of a personal decision to no longer let them rent space in my head. This means I need to not waste precious mental energy on their issues, the hurt they caused, the wrongdoings. It happened – and I file it away.

    The word “forgive” seems to ask for a pardoning – and in my view, it’s not my place to offer that pardon. That’s between you and your spiritual leader, whatever you perceive that to be.

    I don’t have to forgive. It’s not my job. All I can control is me and my reactions…so I choose to not waste energy on dingdongs and instead invest in being at peace.

    Usually. Give me bad traffic and I may briefly reconsider.

    Liked by 1 person

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