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What women want - May 2013

30 Apr 2013

It’s about forgiveness

It would seem at times, that the secret to happiness is about forgiveness.  

It seems to me that if you can just let go of the way things have hurt you, or how people have disappointed you, or the situations that have not evolved the way they seemed to promise to – if you could just let go of that disappointment – you’d be a lot happier. And to let go of them completely, the hurt would need to be “healed” – and I think to do that, you have to forgive.

Hmmm. I know, you’re wondering what on earth has happened this time for me to be adopting such a higher-road view.

It might sound like I’m suggesting that if we all just forgave each other and let go of our pain, we’d be happy. Well I’m not. I’m not adopting it for a second. It’s simply not that easy. I don’t understand the point of forgiving, unless it’s genuine.

And I don’t see the point of letting go of things that have hurt if it means you’re letting go of your own values, or standards – or even dreams.

In life, we have so many things to be proud of: our choices, our morals, our beliefs, our own code of conduct. We all have our own set of these, and it doesn’t mean that we all have to match – not at all. Of course I’m not meaning it’s okay if people have their own set of morals and standards and set out to intentionally hurt or bully others, or breaking society’s laws, or have belief systems that inflict their views on others. I’m meaning that in the day-to-day world, friend to friend, colleague to colleague, lover to lover … that we can have different ideas but still all aspire to being the best we can be, that we can embrace and even love our differences.

Where this can become painful is when someone or some organisation or situation lets you down so badly when you thought you were playing on a level field of standards.

You thought you were with the good guys and you trusted them and felt that you’d really done your due diligence.

Without realising it, you’ve set these incredible expectations. You are excited that you are feeling like you are a team, like you are working towards a mutual goal, like your intentions are intertwined.

And then, out of cloud nine, you plummet when the other party behaves in a way that makes you question their very moral fibre.

Everyone makes mistakes, I make them all the time – it’s how we learn and deal with the mistakes and their aftermath that counts just as much as how or why we made them. But if someone who you love makes a colossal mistake, and hurts you – do you forgive them?

I think it depends on whether you believe that it was a genuine mistake – or whether you’re starting to, reluctantly, hear “alarm bells”. Hopefully, it’s an out of character mistake, promptly followed by a sincere apology – and maybe even a little bit of grovelling.

You know in your heart you’re going to forgive them, but you just play out your timing to ensure the point is made. But if the apology comes with a bunch of excuses, and you realise that, as much as you don’t want to admit it, there’s been a few things that are making this more of a trend than a one-off, then I believe that forgiving them to just keep the peace and put things back on track is a waste of time.

It’s telling them it’s okay to behave like that and, if it is indeed part of their character, then it’s only going to happen again. If you forgive simply to keep the peace, then you are lowering your standards.

I believe, sadly, that sometimes the key to happiness is not about forgiveness. It’s about having the strength to let go.

I was asked recently “Why is it so hard for you to forgive”. My answer is simply “why is it so hard to be honest”. What a woman wants is to be loved, but what she needs to remember is that love without trust is not worth a thing.

Here’s to a better month!

Abby xx

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