Can we really forgive when we can't forget?

@ratburn (939)
Philippines
March 26, 2007 11:11am CST
we all have heard of "forgive and forget". we often say we have already forgiven somebody and yet we still haven't forgotten what they did wrong. we still hurt when we think of what happened. we can't get it out of our system. we remember clearly what happened down to the last detail. we still bring it up when we talk to our friends. if we can't forget, can we truly say we have forgiven others?
11 people like this
43 responses
@SageMother (2277)
• United States
26 Mar 07
The older I get, the more I realize that "forgive and forget" has little to do with healthy human relationships. If one did that they would ALWAYS be victimized by those with more power.....and therein lies the actual purpose of that admonition. People who have little power have no choice but to forgive and forget, because they cannot change their circumstances. In this day and age it is wiser to speak your mind in an orderly fashion, of course, and negotiate a better understanding with that person to avoid a recurrence of the offense. If they persist in their particular brand of disrespect for your position of feelings, then you are within your rights to either limit your contact with them or to cut off all contact. Notice that I am using the word "rights". Since you can choose, you needn't simply forgive and forget.
2 people like this
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
26 Mar 07
i think that some things when done repeatedly should not be tolerated. i agree that at some point, we should not let others "abuse" us. we should stand our ground and speak our minds. thank you for responding, SageMother!
@lifeluver (743)
• Canada
26 Mar 07
The best way I've heard forgiveness described is this: "True forgiveness comes from being able to thank those responsibe for the experience." The way I interpret this to mean is that we must realize what we've gain from our experiences (good and bad) and once we do that, forgiveness becomes easier. As for forgetting....well, I think you can possibly forget the experience and still forgive but you can't forget what you've gained.
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
26 Mar 07
that's a really nice way to put it, lifeluver. i think that when we look at the lessons we've learned, no matter how hurt we are, forgiveness indeed comes easier. it's just a matter of looking at the bright side of things. that's a very positive attitude. you really seem to love life, lifeluver. thanks for that insightful response and welcome to mylot!
1 person likes this
• Canada
26 Mar 07
You're very welcome. I do indeed love life. I am extremely happy to be alive. It isn't always easy, of course, but I do try to see things with as much colour as possible.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Mar 07
I completely agree with you, lifeluver. I used to have a hard time forgiving people in my life until I realized that without them doing whatever they did to make me angry at the time, my life wouldn't be the same now. So I try my best to thank them instead for helping me to get to where I am now. Everything happens for a reason, imo.
2 people like this
@ydnac22 (804)
• Philippines
26 Mar 07
Yes its possible to forgive even if you cant forget. Forgiving is acceptance of a reality after seeing those good or bad lessons you learned from the situation.If you forgive that person theres a tendency that you will still remember what he did to you but then it doesnt hurt you anymore. Why? because you have already accepted the truth.Forgiving is much easier than forgetting because things that you remember comes from your mind while forgiving the pain comes from your heart. :)
1 person likes this
• Canada
26 Mar 07
I like the way you explained that...it's very close to the way I feel as well.
1 person likes this
@ydnac22 (804)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
hehehe thanks life. :)
1 person likes this
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
it is true that forgiving comes from the heart. you do make a good point, ydnac22. not forgetting the past but then it should not hurt anymore. thanks for responding.
• United States
27 Mar 07
yes, I think its possible to forgive without forgetting. To me forgiving is opening your heart and putting aside hard feeling that you may have held on to towards another person. When you realize that you don't half to "get back at someone" for what they've done to you.....you have learned the beauty of forgivness.....but it does not mean you have forgotten.....it just means it dosn't bother you any more.
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
28 Mar 07
thanks missladycc. that really makes a lot of sense! sometimes we really can't forget things but as long as we don't think of getting back at someone for what they've done, we have already forgiven them. and it doesn't bother us anymore. that's a good way of putting it. welcome to mylot!
@gegegelay (934)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
Forgiving also means 'forgetting'. If you forgive a person, you will automatically erase it from your memory, start over and move on. If you still can't get over it, it doesn't mean you haven't forgiven the person, unless of course if you still have bitterness in your heart. Learn to forget about it. Why else did you forgive the person if you're not sincere in your heart that you're gonna forgive and forget? If you tend to bring it up in your conversation with your friends, those are just memories of your past. Make sure not make a big deal out of it. Remove the hate from your heart and move on.
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
28 Mar 07
thank you for sharing that. i agree with what you said. remove the hate from your heart and move on. i just hope it's as easy as that for everyone.
@racheld (840)
• United States
27 Mar 07
I can honestly say I can never forget something. My boyfriend did a horrible thing to me three years ago, when we first started dating, and to this day I will never forget all the details of that night. We had moved past it in our relationship and eventually things got back to normal, but when we would fight, that night would somehow come back up. I'll say that when I tell someone I forgive them, its only my way of saying, apology excepted for now, but I won't forget this. I know that is wrong but that's how it is for me.
1 person likes this
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
i understand how you feel, racheld. i am often like this too. this is one of the reasons why i posted this discussion. often times i've been told i hold grudges and that i haven't forgiven others. but i do. at least i think i do. but i just can't forget what happened. i try not to bring it up but sometimes if it happens again, i automatically bring it up. i don't really mean it. it just does. i wish you and your boyfriend all the luck.
@friendship (2085)
• Canada
27 Mar 07
I think we can't forget what he/she has done but we can forgive him/her. When we can forgive someone, God will also forgive our mistakes and sins. Our brain always has a system where we can't forget "strong" events. We should not keep our anger and hurt from time to time.
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
28 Mar 07
thanks, friendship, for the response. i appreciate it :)
@jhartana (1085)
• Australia
27 Mar 07
I'm type of a person who can easily accept forgive and forget the past. I don't like to remember anything about the past because it hurts me. The best thing for me is to forget the past and do what I do for today and tomorrow. That way I will move forward. I don't also hold any grudge as it will become no use in the end.
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
grudges will just weigh us down. thank you for sharing, jhartana!
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
i think we can forgive even if dont forget...it's hard to forget especially if it something that hurt us a lot...they say it is easy to forgive but difficult or hard to forget..i think as long as you have your memories with you...and you don't have amnesia..then of course you will always remember it...but if you still bring up the past with your friends and you still feel sour or bitter about it....then i think you havent really forgiven that person fully yet..but if you can bring up the subject to friends without hurt..bitterness...just plainly talking about it without feeling hurt or bringing back the pain..then i think you have actually forgiven the person already
1 person likes this
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
i think you have a point there. it's one thing to not forget but when there is still bitterness and hurt, then maybe we really haven't forgiven. that was what i was thinking. thank you very much for responding, prettyarchitect!
@denden (803)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
i agree to we really forgive but we cant forget it..because its one of the saddest memories of our life it is natural that we cant forget those things because of some reason.in my own experience i forgive the one who got sinned to me but i cant forget what he did to me..just like that because its the saddest moment of my life..
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
i hope we can all try to forget what happened, if not the incident, at least the pain that goes with it. so we can move on and be happy always :) thank you for taking time to respond!
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
It's hard to forgive a person if he or she doesn't ask for forgiveness, forgiving takes time. You can't say you've forgiven the person that easily especially when he/she hurt you a lot. I can forgive but I think I can never forget. Every time it would cross my mind (what the person did to me), I just can't help it but feel bad.
1 person likes this
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
what if he/she doesn't ask for forgiveness? do we just hate them forever? same here. i still feel bad when i think about the old times. i say i forgave them already but i can't help but feel bad at times.
@hestee (250)
• Nigeria
26 Mar 07
You can forgive but the forgetting part is not easy. It takes time to push the memory and the bitterness to the background of your memory.Forgetting is a gradual healing process that will come with time.
1 person likes this
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
time does heal all wounds. thanks for responding, hestee!
• United States
26 Mar 07
There is a difference between forgiveness and forgetting. You can forgive someone without forgetting. Some things are so painful that you cannot forget them-but that doesn't mean you can't forgive the person.
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
yes, i think so too. some things are just so painful that you simply cannot forget them. thanks for responding, browneyedgirl!
@lynninky (491)
• United States
26 Mar 07
I can tell yourself you forgive and make yourself believe it. Thats what I have been told anyway.. For small things that hurt me once, YES. Small things over and over againI CAN NOT, MY BAD. This is worse for me with family members and people I just met. Sometimes with old friends and some family members that have always done little things you kind of expect it. So you just write it off as that just the way they are. Cheating, killing, trying to kill,theft, NO . I always remember people way how they treated me. When we first met if it was bad than I protect myself around them. If they have hurt me before I protect myself around them. As for these people on tv that go to see the killer of their child . they hud them and say i forgive you a wish you a good life. That would never happen if someone hurt my child in any way. I believe in a eye for a eye. If it was an acident then I could not belame them but I would always wonder if they could not have done something different so the acident would not have happened.
1 person likes this
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
what is worse, a small thing done over and over again or a big thing done once? that's the thing, we can forgive but then we will always be wary of those who hurt us. so have we really forgiven? those people are really strong for forgiving the killer of their child. i, myself, don't think i could ever forgive such a person. thanks for responding!
26 Mar 07
I think what it really means is that if you forgive whoever did wrong to you,you can forget the pain that experience gave you.we never will be able to forget what happenned,whether good or bad.As human beings,it is impossible to be entirely without faults.But when you really forgive the other person,then you an talk about the incident as an even in your life,without feeling the hurt it caused you when it happenned.I personally have many such experiences.I can say with my experience that with age,we do tend to forgive sooner if we have some strong determination to actually do so.In my case,I turned the thoughts over and over in my head until my head ached.I did this for one whole year with regard to one particular experience.Then I realised it was doing me no good at all.Infact,I lost weight,all my health,my migraines increased and there was not one thing going right for me.I decided one day to put an end to all this thinking simply because those who caused me wrong were probably not even aware of what they did to me.In the whole process,I was jeopardising my health and peace of mind.I must have been really strong in my determination that day,because eversince,I have not looked back.Even now I think of those days and remember every detail of my experience but I donot feel the pain anymore,not as much as I felt before.So I think all it takes is a determination to forget the past if only for our sake,for the sake of not losing our sanity and mental peace.
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
that's a good way of putting it, nageswari75. we can forget the pain but we can never forget what happened. that is almost always the case, we are so bothered by what others did to us to the point that we are not living our lives already. but then do they feel the same? they just move on with their lives while we are stuck. you were really strong to be able to not look back. i am glad you've moved on. thanks for responding!
• Canada
26 Mar 07
Forgiving is harder than many people realize. Forgetting is even harder. However, I don't feel you have to forget in order to forgive. I have forgiven my ex for trying to kill me. I don't talk about the incident anymore because nothing good can come from it. But at the same time, I can never forget what he did. He left scars that run deep, but I don't let it affect me anymore. I don't let it run my life anymore and I moved on a stronger person because of the lessons I learned.
• United States
26 Mar 07
I just posted this on My Lot it is long but it answers your question http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/915217.aspx and Part 2 http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/915228.aspx
1 person likes this
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
thanks for sharing that, CaroleeKaufold. will read it soon!
@Jennifer21 (2476)
• United States
26 Mar 07
I have the same question. I don't think I can forgive if I can't forget. If I think of the bad incidents, I get either mad or upset again and am not forgiving.
1 person likes this
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
26 Mar 07
same here. no matter how i try to forget, when things come up, i still get upset. i say i have already forgiven others who have wronged me but if it still hurts and if i still talk about it with my friends, then i haven't really forgiven. forgiveness comes to those who have a good heart.
@mnflower (1301)
• United States
26 Mar 07
yes I believe if you truly and whole hearted forgive someone that means just that and it shouldn't be continually talked about it should be your way of letting go. If you didn't mean to forgive this person than you will continue to talk about it for your forgiveness didn't come from the heart. there are things we forgive but never forget yes, but the term forgiveness means(mental and emotional process of feeling pain or recentment against another person that has wronged you.)it is a way to release your pain you need not forget it just forgive it.
1 person likes this
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
26 Mar 07
i know some people who say they have forgiven others and yet they still talk about the issue with resentment to that person. they say it just hurts so bad. forgiveness is really hard i guess.
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
28 Mar 07
I don't think of forgiveness as a single act, or as a single state of being. I believe in it as a process, a scale perhaps. Maybe at the first level we don't attack the person on sight. And then at the second level we don't wish harm on them. Then later we can not talk of what they did to us all the time, or not dwell on it whenever we hear their name. And so on, and so forth. I do believe there are things that should not be forgiven, and certainly not forgotten. My friends here likely know why I feel that way.
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
29 Mar 07
thanks for sharing, lecanis. if you think about it, forgiveness really is a process. it never is just a single act. thank you for sharing that insightful response. some things should not be forgiven. i guess there are things that are hard to forgive. i'm not gonna ask anymore what they are as i'm afraid i'm asking too much. have a great day!
1 person likes this
@ratburn (939)
• Philippines
29 Mar 07
thanks again for the response. other people don't realize that sometimes not only is forgiving very hard but also a choice. some people think that forgiveness should always be done to have a peaceful heart, but what if forgiving makes it worse? can't explain it. you've put it into place. thank you!