How Do I Forgive?

Dear Ginzo,

I don’t want to get into the details, but basically, I am having a hard time forgiving someone. What they did to hurt me happened a while ago, we talked about it and they apologized, but I still can’t seem to let it go. There’s no point in rehashing it with them at this point. I just need to know, how do you forgive someone when you can’t seem to move past it?

Fighting to Forgive

Dear Fighting to Forgive,

You’re pissed. You’re hurt. You’re sad. And forgiving the person who brought you to this place isn’t easy. It doesn’t matter if they apologized, if you felt that they heard you out, if the initial hurt was months or even years ago; the burden remains on your heart and it doesn’t seem to be able to budge.

As someone who has held many an unwilling grudge in her lifetime, I can empathize with you on this one. For me, past emotions often come back in waves; I will think I have moved on from something, and then suddenly, it crashes over me. This is because I didn’t take the time to work through the emotions when they were most relevant. You say that you talked about it and they apologized, so perhaps there really is nothing else they can do for you to help you forgive them. So what can you do for yourself?

Forgiveness is not about the other person. The act of forgiveness is about freeing yourself from the weight of your pain.

Here’s the thing: forgiveness is not about the other person. The act of forgiveness is about freeing yourself from the weight of your pain. Despite people who act as though being a victim is some sort of desired status that people adopt for attention, it is actually a heavy burden to bear. It’s true that anger can be invigorating, particularly if it is of the self-righteous variety. But it is also exhausting, makes you feel powerless, and is hard to move past to work through the other emotions that are at play, like sadness. Whether they meant to or not, this person failed to be who you thought they were. They hurt your feelings, and you feel betrayed. Maybe you feel like you can’t truly trust and be vulnerable with this person, and that is a loss. It’s normal to feel sad about this loss. Maybe you haven’t let yourself be sad yet. Alternatively, perhaps you haven’t decided whether or not you should open your battered heart up to this person again, and that’s what is holding you back. Whatever the unresolved issue, the first step is to identify it.

In his book Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words, Philosopher/Poet David Whyte said,

“To forgive is to put oneself in a larger gravitational field of experience than the one that first seemed to hurt us. We reimagine ourselves in the light of our maturity and we reimagine the past in the light of our new identity, we allow ourselves to be gifted by a story larger than the story that first hurt us and left us bereft.”

Give yourself permission to move on with your life and to the bigger, happier, newer feelings it has in store for you. If there is truly nothing this person can do to help you forgive them, then you have everything in your power to let it go right now. Find a place of silence, write in a journal, or talk to a trusted confidant and listen to what your mind has to say about why you haven’t moved on. If it is a barrier you can tear down right at this moment, do it. If it isn’t, take the first step. You don’t need to live with this grudge inside of you forever. Be kinder to yourself.

I hope you can work through the journey of forgiveness and have a lighter heart on the other side. Good luck, my friend.

XOXO,
Ginzo

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Help! I Am Freaking Out About Moving

Dear Ginzo,

I’ve lived in the same city my whole life, with the exception of college. I love my current job and am generally happy with my life right now, but my husband is not. He has a job that he doesn’t love and he is in a city away from his friends and family. So he has been applying to graduate programs in new cities, and he just found out that he got into one in a city where he has a support circle, and he accepted it.

I am so happy that he is pursuing this dream, but crap am I terrified to move. We did discuss this and honestly I will follow him wherever he goes because he gave up a lot to live with me in “my city”. We have a lot of mutual friends in this new city. I’m just terrified because my new boss actually respects my work and values me as an employee. I’m finally being treated like a leader for the first time in my life and I love it. BUT I definitely love my husband more and I want him to be happy. Starting over with a new reputation is terrifying. Moving to a new state away from my family, finding somewhere to live… it’s so scary! There is no question. I’m just freaking out internally.

Packing and Panicking

Dear Packing and Panicking,

I know what it’s like to start over in a brand new city, so I can relate to your straight up terror about moving. For me, making the decision to move across the country took me months of going back and forth about whether or not was a good idea. I too was scared to leave behind my family and my hometown that I knew so well. Your life is all figured out currently, with a great job and a place to live and people around you to count on, and starting all over to find those things in a new place is really intimidating. Add onto this that you aren’t moving of your own volition and I can understand why you are feeling so scared.

While you have so much in your hometown, here is what you have going for you in your new city:

  • A supportive partner to share the experience with
  • Mutual friends that will show you around your new city
  • Good experience in your field and recommendations to help you find a new job
  • An opportunity for adventure and a fresh start

So yes, while you have a lot going for you in your hometown, your new city has some pretty great potential too. You will miss many things about your hometown, and it may take some time to think about your new city as your home (I have heard it takes three years,so I will report back if that rings true). Things will probably be scary for a while as you figure out all the moving pieces that come together to form a life. But change is inevitable; it will happen, whether we accept it or not. You don’t have control over the future, but you do have control over your perspective on this move. You can focus on the scary, unknown, okay-but-where-can-I-live-in-town-and-not-get-murdered-oh-god-what-am-I-doing-what-is-this-place part of moving, or you can focus on the life-affirming, exhilarating possibilities of starting over. This won’t make it any less scary, but it will make it easier to let go of what you know and take the leap. Good luck with your move!

XOXO,
Ginzo