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How to Forgive but Not Forget | Mark Manson

Living in the past

Resentment forces you to live in the past by fixing that person to that past moment.

Do not let yourself or the relationship be defined by anger. The ability to forgive and move on is critical for maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with the people you care about.

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How to Forgive but Not Forget | Mark Manson

How to Forgive but Not Forget | Mark Manson

https://markmanson.net/forgiveness

markmanson.net

9

Key Ideas

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is choosing to not let negative events of the past define how you feel.

Forgiveness can keep your emotional body healthy. It increases feelings of happiness and decreases feelings of anger and grief, reduces anxiety and depression, improves your relationships and makes you less self-conscious or insecure.

Forgiving is not the same as forgetting

You can forgive someone and still maintain a boundary. They may not even necessarily know you forgave them.

When you hold onto anger towards yourself or others, it weighs you down, drains your energy and increases your stress.

Living in the past

Resentment forces you to live in the past by fixing that person to that past moment.

Do not let yourself or the relationship be defined by anger. The ability to forgive and move on is critical for maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with the people you care about.

Separate the action from the person

We all can succumb to behaviors that are not reflective of who we really are.
Separating the action from the person is crucial to find some closure.

Understand people's motivation

Most people who appear to take some pleasure in hurting you have some pain in their own lives. Most feel justified in what they are doing; otherwise, they would do something else.

Whatever this person has done, look for some explanation of their motivation. These are not excuses, just explanations. Before you forgive someone, it helps to understand the reason for their actions.

Empathize

Forgiveness is ultimately a form of empathy - it is taking whatever pain motivated the person and imagine that you have that same pain yourself. 

If forgiveness is the ability to see the person as a multi-faceted human being, empathizing with them is what gets you there.

Mark your boundaries

Once you've empathized with the person and decided they are also just human, ask yourself what role you want them to have in your life.

  • Set rules. Define which behaviors you will and won't accept.
  • Decide on consequences if someone breaks your rules.
  • Communicate the above calmly.

Eliminate Emotional Attachment

Let go of the emotional attachment that you've developed. Let the hatred and anger dissolve, let the thoughts of revenge and misfortune die.

How to Forgive Yourself

We all do things in our lives that we regret, and then we hold on to shame and guilt. The process to forgive yourself is the same:

  • Separate the action from yourself.
  • Understand your motivation. Was it insecurity or ignorance that drove you to do this thing?
  • Empathize with yourself. How much stuff do you blame yourself for that was not your fault?
  • Mark your boundaries. 
  • Eliminate emotional attachment. There are better things to do with your energy than hating yourself.

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  • Forgiveness is choosing to accept what happened as it happened rather than what could or should have happened. 
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Forgiveness takes time for most. Shock and anger often come before forgiveness. Deal with the hurt feelings before moving into forgiveness.

The act of forgiving is one of realizing that holding onto the anger and resentment no longer carries the same weight on us.

Forgiveness ≠ weakness

One roadblock people face with forgiveness is the idea of being seen as "weak" and saying that what the offender did is excusable.

It requires more strength to forgive. Staying angry, resentful, and vengeful can have a detrimental impact on your physical and emotional health as well as your relationships.

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Forgiveness
By forgiving, you are accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to live in a state of resolution with it.

This can be a gradual process—and it doesn't necessarily include the person ...

Why forgiveness is so hard
  • You're filled with thoughts of retribution or revenge
  • You enjoy feeling superior
  • You don't know how to resolve the situation
  • You're addicted to the adrenaline that anger provides
  • You self-identify as a "victim"
  • You're afraid that by forgiving you have to re-connect—or lose your connection.
When you desire to forgive

If you decide you are willing to forgive, find a good place and time to be alone with your thoughts.

  • Think about the incident that angered you. Accept that it happened, how you felt about it and how it made you react.
  • Acknowledge the growth you experienced as a result of what happened. What did it make you learn about yourself, or about your needs and boundaries?
  • Think about the other person. When you were hurt, the other person was trying to have a need met. What do you think this need was and why did the person go about it in such a hurtful way?
  • Decide if you want to tell the other person that you have forgiven him or her.
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Acceptance does not mean endorsement or justification.  Acceptance means acknowledging that you don’t have power or control over the past.

Accept the offense against you without excusing it. The key to taking control of your future is choosing to let go of the desire to control the past.

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