Over and over we see blog posts and articles telling us forgiveness is essential for self-development and inner peace.
Forgiveness winds up rarely necessary and in the best cases seems arbitrary and apologist in context, opening the door when boundaries are weak, for more abuses.
Forgiveness has little necessity in my experience, when I can keep my word to myself and not take things personally which people, organizations and institutions do in the course of their aims and behaviors.
When I vow to myself to practice discretion in all my affairs without letting it degrade to paranoia by making assumptions about a situation or person, I can find the practical, most logical path and avoid or deal with people and situations.
This means I diligently watch people. I have to watch people, their speech and behaviors and observe their consistency. When their behavior does not match their statements and claims consistently, they can be avoided or only have limited influence in my affairs. When they lie, cheat, and steal I strive to avoid them at all costs and if there’s a necessity in dealing with them, strict boundaries and limited interaction wind up a must.
Recently, I got a call from someone who had lied extensively and stole from me while gas lighting to others about me, attempting to normalize their behavior by projecting their lack of integrity and dishonesty back on myself. The person repeatedly stated how sorry they feel for these things they had done and asked if I would be interested in friendship. I did not reply to this, except to state what my interests were in a relationship. I further stated and reiterated how apologies are hollow without actions to right the wrongs committed and asked how this would get accomplished. Duh, if you don’t replace items lost, stolen, or destroyed, and treat me with integrity, apologies have little value. The answers given were satisfying; however follow-up has been poor – consistent with previous behaviors and the lack of integrity, honesty, and decisive actions taken. I find it best to wait and see, without judgement or condemnation, what may come next
The problem here has to do with trust, an essential element in forgiveness along with understanding and compassion. I have learned in practice, trust, for the most part has little use in the course of human affairs as it gets viewed with too much idealism to have lasting value. People do what they do and I can at best, work with probabilities of them acting consistently. It seems, in my perception, most people have consistent patterns of behavior. When I slow down to observe them, I can discern what might have a probability of a person performing on promises or agreements. This means I interact with them accordingly.
When they have acted as the person above, I attempt to wait and see what they’ll do. If they lack transparency and consistent integrity which practically matches my own I work hard not to make assumptions and expectations based on how I want them to behave with me. This means I let go and move on to more consistent interactions which have win – win, mutual benefit.
Sometimes this has happened with family and it can have poor import when I expect too much. There’s one close family member I have who I cosigned a loan for, stipulating he’d make all the payments in a timely manner until paid in full – which he did for a time. As time went on, he lied about making payments and when the chief collection agency called me I found he was 78 payments behind on a $1500.00 balance. He lied repeatedly about setting up a working payment plan with this entity and is still behind, leaving my credit in arrears. When I contacted the collection agency and made a settlement offer, they did not respond in writing to my written request, wanting to use telephone collection tactics to attempt working with me. Since all this, I have ended my relationship with this family member until he makes good on our agreement and either pays off the loan and allows me to clear my credit or the company mentioned deals with me and the family member pays me in full. Based on behavior, I find it reasonable to think both will perform consistent with previous behavior. \
I have also found others who maintain relationships with individuals I mentioned and those performing similarly will practice apologist behavior regarding them. I observe them with caution from a distance.
Forgiveness only serves well when apologist beliefs tell me I will need to forgive in order to let go and extinguish any resentments. I have found this a waste of time. When I don’t take the person’s behavior personally and don’t waste time and energies staying angry and developing resentments and keep my word to love and honor myself, I don’t have to forgive them and have fewer feelings and thoughts regarding the situations. Very simply, I let go. In the same vein, it does not mean I cease pursuing the reparations and amends of behavior from the violators. Usually they are pursued unceasingly and dispassionately until I have established an end to it. This means I persistently ask for and if possible seek legal means to achieve satisfaction without judgement of personality and public or internal condemnation. Letting go means I let go of anger and resentment and pursue relentlessly out of principle. Should those ends not find satisfaction due to the inability of the offenders to make right their offenses, all pursuits will suspend or cease without enmity or thought of revenge. It also means, friendship will remain optional based on subsequent behaviors.