• Naima Shaltu

Forgiving vs. Forgetting - The Choices We Really Make

As humans we face many hardships and many difficulties, but along the way, many obstacles that we face deal with the people around us and the interactions we have with one another. A lot of times, our relationships with family, friends and closes ones are put to the test with our patience, but also our ability to be able to move on from a situation through forgiveness. However, many times we think that we may be forgiving a person when in fact we are actually just trying to move on by trying to forget it. So my Question that I ask muself and I ask you is:

"Are you truly moving on if you aren't forgiving?"

I find that with forgiveness is an attachment of memories that when we recall, the feelings we get can be anger, frustration, and sadness that we must let go. Questions like, "How could you?" or "Why did this happen?" linger constantly and keep us up in bed or keep us unfocused by the life we are still living in the present. Yes, as the saying goes, don't linger about thoughts of the past, but how can you not? In those memories (good or bad) was time spent and decisions made that changed your life. Memories are playbacks we can't go back to or redo, but we can learn from.

Through the steps of forgiveness is first understanding why things went the way they went and part of it may be admitting fault to our own selves. Yes, people take actions that might intentionally or unintentionally cause harm in our lives but, what about our own actions? We cannot always shift blame on that one person. Can we say that we are perfect with the mistakes that we make? People are ultimately responsible for their own actions but, a lot of those times we don't recognize that those actions came from an impact around our own lives. People influence our decisions whether we realize it or not. Just look at societal standards of beauty, nowadays. When we look at the standards placed in our society we see how people interact with these different views.

When it comes to beauty, a lot of times, fitting the standards means looking a certain way to be considered as beautiful.

Tell me a time you haven't looked at yourself in the mirror and just think, "dang, if only...". Growing up, I struggled with the concept of beauty: what is beauty, who gets to define it, and what do I do with what I am taught to be authentically me? It may sound easy to say, "forget the social norms, Imma do me!!!", but from my experience, I know it ain't that simply put. Even though I believe in my heart that beauty starts from within through the characteristics you make of yourself, I find myself sometimes questioning if I should dress up more "nicer" or as one person noted to me once, "less depressing" or even to change my headscarf because it didn't "suite" me with my specific skin tone (but, let's keep that for another time).When it comes to standards, I could go on and on but, let us keep that for another blog...

At the end of it, we question the decision we make again and again and it's ultimately up to us to make the decisions we make. Through our decisions, we will come across mistakes that we make that we wish we could turn back but, we can't. We can only move forward. So what do you do? How do you move on, I mean TRULY move on?

I am not sure really, it is something I am still figuring out and still am learning myself but, I can tell you a couple of things:

Forgiving someone is difficult.

Nobody said it would be easy, but the real importance of being able to forgive someone is first having the ability to move on yourself (either with or without that person in your life). 

The process of being able to forgiving gives you the ability to bounce back from a hard situation in your life. With every obstacle you face is a lesson to learn from.

These lessons come from our understanding of people (especially with the people whom you will encounter in your life) as well as improvements on the flaws you have within yourself to learn from.

Forgiveness is, being able to pray they have a better life after obstacles you faced with each other. With forgiveness comes patience.

We must be able to have the strength to withstand time (not matter what happens within that time).

Being able to forgive person is being able to look back at that person and recognize that they are human to.

The question we should ask ourselves is, with every mistake that we make is, wouldn't we want to be forgiven? We should want others and ourselves to grow and learn so that we don't make the same mistakes again and don't repeat history by hurt others. One thing that I am taught in Islam about forgiveness is that we must be able to show mercy in our hearts for those whom have wronged us.

"No mercy shall be shown to those whom show no mercy, and no forgiveness will be given to those who cannot forgive others" (Bukhari). 

If we can't even show mercy or forgiveness to others, how do we expect when we make mistakes, for others to have mercy and forgive us? Many times, forgiveness is always taught to be a sign of weakness and that we must put up walls against each other that we always have to be mad but part of forgiveness is PATIENCE. Patience isn't something you learn overnight, but something you gain more of over a course of a lifetime. Through my faith, I learn that regardless if people view your forgiveness as a sign of weakness, in God's Eyes, "the weakest person is the one who holds hatred and anger". We shouldn't care about how people view us as because of the steps we take to further better ourselves and our lives but, we should learn to hold values like forgiveness and patience to help make our lives easier and know that we are in the right for it. 

To conclude, forgiveness ain't easy. It is a journey that we all in some point in our life will take and it is up to us how we deal with each of these obstacles. Are we really forgiving or are we just trying to move past the pain? Is it health to be ripping out the shards deeply embedded in our bodies or do we heal through steps to ensure you can heal? What choice are we making: forgiving or forgetting?

I can tell you one thing for sure: it's up to you to decide...

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