Should You Forgive and Forget Your Man’s Misbehavior?
How many times have we heard to “just forgive and forget” when someone treats us badly or does something wrong to us? I don’t know about you but I’ve always had trouble with that particular kernel of “wisdom.”
An Act Of Love?
Both the forgiving and the forgetting parts are hard for me, particularly in romantic relationships. I’ve heard that forgiving and forgetting is an act of love and therefore, something we should do perhaps more often for those we love. While I understand the whole “act of love” thing in theory, I just haven’t been able to get there when it comes to my personal beloved.
Why is it easier to Forgive and Forget Strangers?
Although I may very well forget, (and perhaps therefore forgive… by default?) wrongs committed against me by strangers or casual acquaintances, things just aren’t that easy when someone I care about, (who supposed also cares about me), treats me badly. I’m not emotionally invested in my interactions with strangers and people I don’t know very well, so it’s much easier to just ignore or let go of their misbehavior.
When it Comes to People I Love…
Even the smallest transgressions somehow take on a life of their own when they are the transgressions committed by my husband. I take personal offense. I tell myself that if he really loved me, he wouldn’t have done whatever the offense was. I tell myself that if he really understands me a person, he would want to treat me well rather than badly.
The longer we’re together, the more the little things seem to get to me. They build up. I may initially be upset about a recent offense but that somehow quickly becomes a snowball rolling downhill, collecting speed and weight as it goes. All of the past issues quickly come up and the reasons I’m upset suddenly become blurry.
A Case of Right and Wrong
I’d like to be able to just let all of that angry and resentment go. I’d like to be able to do this “forgive and forget” thing but it feels like an injustice. When someone, particularly someone I love and who loves me, does me wrong, shouldn’t they be held accountable for that wrongdoing? If they aren’t somehow punished for their actions, won’t history just repeat itself because they haven’t “learned their lesson”?
The Power of the Mind
Research shows that forgiving and forgetting offers the forgiver a variety of health benefits. Letting those transgressions go may help reduce headaches, stomach issues and back pain. It may even help improve your immune system and lower blood pressure. Forgiveness can even help reduce the amount of stress hormones in the blood which may help you lose weight or prevent excessive weight gain. Forgiveness and forgetfulness may also help reduce or prevent depression, anxiety and anger.
How to Forgive and Forget
Obviously you can’t force yourself to forget something anymore than you can force yourself to love someone. You can, however, actively encourage forgiveness in your life. Rather than dwelling on other people’s transgressions, focus your thoughts and energy on being grateful.
Gratitude is the process of actively focusing on positive things in your life. The next time you’re upset or angry with your partner for some wrongdoing, shift your thoughts to the positive things about them and your relationship. You may not be able to forget what they’ve done but hopefully by focusing on gratitude, you’ll be a whole lot closer to forgiveness.