When to Forgive and Forget

That’s the subject of a blog I posted today on Huffington Post.  It pertains to presidential candidates, but there are a few lessons and reminders in it for all of us.  When someone is running for President of the United States, serial affairs and dispensing with spouses who fall ill is a tall order for forgiving and forgetting.

Perhaps it isn’t our place to forgive the moral and ethical violations of people who haven’t harmed us personally.  But forgetting that they harmed other people who trusted them when their current goal is to take on responsibilities that affect the whole world is another consideration altogether.  When we start telling ourselves that what powerful people do to others they won’t do to us, we’re in trouble.

As we write about in COMEBACKS, we’re creatures of pattern.  Sure, there are one-off moments when kind people do unkind things, but if that lack of civility is egregious or repetitive, forgiving and forgetting are ways to place oneself back in harm’s way.

So, when is it wise to forgive and/or forget?  When you participated in bringing on the insult might qualify.  When the friendship is extremely valuable to you and the event in question is an exception to the rule may as well.  Also, when doing so does not give this person the power to harm you again.

But when the crass, careless, or cavalier behavior in question caused intense pain, if it was public, if it served the accused at your expense, or if it has happened before, forgiving is possible but it’s not wise to forget.  Proceeding with caution is better.

It takes more than a short blog to determine when forgiving and/or forgetting are the best comebacks.  We’ll look at this topic again.  This blog provides some food for thought on the issue.  Just remember:  What comes around usually comes around again.  Be generous, but keep your eyes open.

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