Hana Shafi Forgiving, But Not Forgetting.

Forgive and forget?

I used to think that was a vital piece of wisdom, one of the keys of happiness and peace in one’s life. Now, I’m not so sure. I can see the need to forgive (maybe not for everything, but at least to the valued people around you, and a lot of times, yourself) for mistakes that have been made in the past. But forget? Hell no. 

If we forget, how do we learn? Of course we have to learn to let go of things, put it behind us and not obsessively dwell over the ills of the past (or hold a 5-year-long grudge over a shitty Christmas present). But I firmly believe there are dangers to forgetting; if we forget what’s been done against us, does that make it too easy to give people an endless number of chances?

I’ll admit, I like giving people second chances. Sometimes third chances... sometimes fourth chances. It hasn’t done much good, just gotten me an annoying stream of “I told you so’s” and enough face-palming to last me a life time. It’s easy to buy into someone’s seemingly genuine excuses, to attribute all their mistakes to some external unfair cause rather than an inherent trait in them that would make them a certified asshole. I have been, more often than not, extremely sympathetic in situations where I have honestly believed someone’s excuse to be completely reasonable and their fuck-ups justifiable, only to later discover through their actions and the advice of some much wiser friends that I’ve just been fed a huge heaping pile of gold-medal bullshit.

Forgiving, like everything else, has a limit. I think it’s important to have some internal forgiveness or some mental “letting go” of what was done against you, but that despite that toxic people should still be cut out of your life. Forgiving shouldn’t mean a one way ticket back into your life where they can now cause more damage. 

But if I forget my mistakes in giving one too many second/third/endless chances, then I’ll be doomed to repeat the same pattern. This is especially true when it comes to relationship situations, where forgetting can often mean endlessly being hooked to the same type of guy with the same type of screw-ups, because we seem to have suddenly developed a case of amnesia to all the colossal and very similar bullshit of the past.

So perhaps I will forgive, but I’m definitely not forgetting. You can call me a hardened, bitter bitch, but I won’t be the one getting consistently fucked over. And to the bright-eyed honestly sincere optimists of the world, I wish you luck on your noble quest of forgiving and forgetting, let me know how that goes. 

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