Saturday, November 19, 2005

Forgiving

What is forgiveness exactly?A few days back there was an interesting discussion about vengeance over at Nightlegend's. So does forgiveness mean a lack of desire for vengeance?Or does forgiving mean forgetting?Is it enough that you feel no anger towards someone & that you wish them no particular harm to say you forgive them?Is there something in the middle between being unforgiving & being vengeful?

These questions & others have been in the back of my mind for a few days. Have been debating whether to post about this because I find that I don't feel like posting the whole story. It's too long & too complicated & just not worth the time & effort it would take to write it. It's not important anymore. Normally if I write at all I like to write everything but this time I've decided to make an exception. It's something on my mind & I want to write about it so I will & I will avoid the details.

Suffice to say that person X is someone that I once thought very highly of who did something that caused quite a lot of trouble to me & a few people I really care about. This was a few years back. And this person still doesn't know that I know what he did because I never confronted him.

The reason I chose not to confront him is behind the questions I've been asking myself. Am I a forgiving person or not?I didn't confront X because normally I would only tell you that you hurt me & ask you for an explanation if I still have some respect or some feelings left for you. If I think there is hope for the relationship - that it can be saved. Or that you can fix what you did or somehow make me feel better about it. In cases where my mind is made up that I've lost respect or trust for good I don't feel like listening to pointless apologies or explanations. I've never forgiven anyone because they said I'm sorry. Apologies don't mean much to me I guess. If I want to forgive I'll do it whether the person apologizes or not. And if I don't want to forgive they can apologize from now until kingdom come and nothing will change inside me. Apologies are just words and talk is cheap.

But again what is forgiveness?Is what I feel towards this person X now vengefulness?Everyone keeps telling me I should forgive. Everyone assumes I have some kind of anger towards this person that I need to let go of. But the thing is when I look inside me I don't find anger. I find nothing. An utter & complete lack of interest. When people talk about him I find my mind wandering. People keep getting irritated because they keep having to repeat things they already told me about him. They say what's the matter with you?Why do you keep forgetting?But it's not that I forget. It's just that I didn't pay attention aslan.

This person is now going through some severe personal difficulties and this is why he's the focus of everyone's sympathy. But still everything I've seen him go through hasn't generated any feeling inside me.There's no sympathy, no pity but also no pleasure. There's just boredom. The truth is I just can't be bothered. Am not interested. I don't want to know. I keep wishing people would stop telling me because when they tell me there's a pressure to pretend to be interested & concerned & everyone makes me feel guilty if I'm not. But I don't want to pretend.

If there was something practical I could do to help him I would do it if I can - out of community spirit & because I don't really wish him any harm. It would be like when people ask you to contribute to clean up the street or something. You would do it but you wouldn't appreciate being asked to feel sentimental about the street. I just hate the way everyone wants me to show personal empathy & concern where I don't feel them.

And I hate these repeated requests to forgive. There's nothing to forgive. I used to find this person interesting & worthy of respect because I had a certain impression about him. He did something to show me he wasn't the man I thought he was. I can forget the personal harm & inconvenience he caused for me & for others since - thanks to God & no thanks to him - it was no lasting damage. What I can't forget is what his behavior revealed about him. Those are facts. I was blind. Then I saw. I can't go back to being blind again.

So I lost interest & respect because all the reasons for my interest & respect were no longer there. I don't care for him anymore because quite simply the person I cared about was not him. He's someone else & he bores me. So what am I supposed to forgive him for?For being himself?But is that my problem or his?As long as he's not part of my life anymore why should I care what he does or what he is?

I notice that I often react this way when people do something to hurt or disillusion me. They fall off the radar screen. They stop mattering. Not anger. Anger is what I feel when I still care. Not everyone is worth my anger.

So does this make me unforgiving?Hard & unfeeling?Because people have been saying that a lot I find myself having the impulse to go & see this person. Maybe if I see him & talk to him he'll say something or I'll see something that will make me feel something or make me like him again?Am I wrong or right to let others convince me that I have to force myself to like him or I'm not normal?

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8 Comments:

Blogger Rain said...

Apologies are just words and talk is cheap.

Totally agree with this ,I hate excuses, usually when I'm angry about sth I don't accept hearing anything ...until I calm down I might listen but that doesn't mean it's over! especially with ppl I care for or used to have trust in them..it feels like a shock.

The hardest part is to lose respect for someone, really it's the end of it...I feel it's like glass if it's broken then it can't be fixed.

From personal experience, I can tell u things change by time, u might stop caring for someone but later on as u watch behaviour from a distance he/she might be changing too ...and who knows!!

I had this clash with one of my friends , he wasn't a close friend and that's why I was hard on judging to totally cut him off my life, but he indirectly showed to me that he really cares for fixing the misunderstanding ...of course I started to feel guilty and graduallly accepted listening ...and believe me now we're close friends!!! cause after a while of persistence caring and honesty I finally forgave and really don't want to remember this misunderstanding ,Cause I hate to feel any negativity ... it hurts my soul , I love to feel peaceful from inside.

Bottom line, just give a chance! only if u felt this person deserves one.

11/19/2005 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger tota said...

i think i'm that type who forget!, or try to forget.
for the purpose of stepping forward

11/20/2005 01:58:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Rain,

"The hardest part is to lose respect for someone, really it's the end of it...I feel it's like glass if it's broken then it can't be fixed."

Yes am glad someone understands that.

Tota,

" i think i'm that type who forget!"

Lucky you. That is a gift. Mashallah 3laiki.:)

11/20/2005 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Twosret said...

Loulou,

The fact that you wrote about your friend X is interesting. I hope I'm not reading too much between the lines but, I think you are not at peace with this person (please forgive me if I read you wrong).

I'm actually surprised at your reaction to this situation(I'm guessing the hurt is deep). I've been reading your blog for a while and you sound like you are very upfront with your feelings, vibrant, go getter and wise.

No matter how this person messed up and hurt you, I think we all deserve a second chance. I think we are humans and we can make mistakes (some grave ones also) and I don't believe people who make mistakes are hopeless and we need to forget about them.

X have qualities that did deserve your respect and I'm sure not all those qualities are fake. I'm not sure you are at peace to help this person or can help this person.

I think you need your space and time on this one.

11/20/2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Nightlegend said...

I am really impressed ,you really explained alot of things that weren't clear when you posted a reply at my post ,now I have the complete picture which is very interesting ,thanks alot loulou.

11/20/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Twosret,


It's a bit difficult to explain. But you're right. What I need is space on this. Lots of space.

Night,

"you really explained alot of things that weren't clear when you posted a reply at my post "

Yes I didn't try to explain too much because I was planning to post about it anyway. But other things came up that I wanted to write about so I kept forgetting. Like I said I forget this issue a lot.

Glad it's all clear to you now.

11/20/2005 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Loul,
Thought provoking...

But I don't know why I get the feeling you haven't forgiven... maybe in this case "not forgiving" was tranformed into "not caring".. I don't know ... or maybe you're still somewhere in the middle.. in the "process" of forgiving...

11/21/2005 03:42:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Meme,

"But I don't know why I get the feeling you haven't forgiven..."

That was my question. What is forgiving?If forgiveness means forgetting what happened as if it didn't happen then I haven't. I don't think it's always possible to erase the past.

Let's say you have an ongoing relationship with someone & you've achieved a certain level of trust & respect. Obviously you forgive each other a lot. But what do you forgive?You forgive things that are not outside the general tone of your relationship. Things that you can understand. These might hurt you for a day or two or more but will always be forgotten in the end because they can be explained - they're within the limits of what you accept about the person & the relationship.

But say that this person does something that radically changes your view of them & of the relationship. Something that you never accepted or expected or would have believed. New facts on the ground. To forget this would just be self-delusion I think. Or self-deception.

The funny thing is in the case of person X I don't remember ever being angry with him. From the point I found out the anger was inward. I was angry at myself for being stupid, for not seeing before. I was humiliated. Couldn't forgive myself for a long time. In the middle of this inward struggle the person himself just dropped from the radar screen like I said. It was like I forgot him & only remembered all the things I should have done differently & would have done differently if I hadn't misjudged him. It became more about me than him or the relationship with him.

And then when that stage passed this stage started. Nothing. Maybe the reason I don't like to think of him is that I don't like the image of myself as the fool?Or maybe he just lost the ability to keep my attention. Whatever it is I don't see it as something to 'forgive'.

So to recap, forgiving as in not wanting revenge is not a problem for me. Can't remember ever having been very interested in revenge. Infact I still don't get what possible satisfaction there could be in revenge. It's a bit unreal to me.

Most of the time forgiving for me means forgetting - missing the person - wanting them back. But not always.

My grandmother taught me when I was little that if someone says to me sam7ini(forgive me) I should say Allah yisam7ak(God forgive you). She said that human beings forgive because they forget - but that is not real forgiveness. Real forgiveness , she said, only Allah can do because He forgets nothing but still forgives. Allah yir7amha. Her advice was always don't waste time 'trying' to forgive people if you can't. Leave it to Allah to forgive them. And you just move on with your life.

You're right. It is interesting to to explore these themes. Forgiving, forgetting. Where they overlap.

11/21/2005 07:52:00 AM  

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