Choosing Forgiveness This Year

Updated on January 03, 2017
O.L. asks from Long Beach, CA
10 answers

With the new year around the corner I am contemplating a new attempt at forgiveness. Specifically, I am looking at shedding burden of distrust that really is rooted in who I was before I met my husband. Forgiveness allows for positivity and trust--it assumes the best about people. I'm speaking in terms of marriage. What have you learned in your marriage and about yourself?

My question is, is forgiveness part of your NY resolution? Are you or have you let go of things so that you can move forward and have a healthier relationship? I'm not talking about forgiveness with people who you don't care about--i'm referring to people who you love.

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answers from Phoenix on

Forgiveness is really about you and not the other person. It's like releasing the stress and letting go. You don't have to forget or let the person in to continue to harm you, but you just have to forgive and move on. Always consider the good in someone until they prove themselves differently.

I will be 50 next year (yikes!) and when I was 39 it hit me that life is way too short to spend it unhappy. Since then, I have made decisions to remove negative people and things from my life and it has made a huge difference! I just try very hard not to let things bother me. When something happens, I vent about it to my husband and/or BFF and then move on. I don't want to give something power in my mind that doesn't belong there. It's a process and takes time but worth it when you make it a priority.

Wishing you the best for the New Year!

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answers from Anchorage on

Forgiveness has definitely been a theme in my marriage from time to time. My husband was unfaithful and I had to find forgiveness or we never would have been able to move forward. It took time, and he never rushed me. It took hard work and counseling, which we both had to give 100% too, and it took care and understanding from both of us. It took us both accepting our own faults and shortcomings. Along the way we learned to communicate truly openly and honestly, how to listen to one another without judgment, and how to take a step back before reacting to something and trying to see it through the other person's eyes. The affair was several years ago now and I am thankful I choose the path of forgiveness because I am truly happy, and in the end I think all most people want to be is just happy.

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answers from Boston on

What a lovely resolution. Good for you.

To answer your question, forgiveness is a part of my resolution every morning, and has been for years. I try to see people in a different light or from their perspective. It got a lot easier as I got older and realized how incredibly imperfect I am and how many folks I hurt without any thought behind it. Of course, that's the issue for me, acting before thinking. So forgiving others and myself is part of my daily life and prayers.

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answers from Portland on

I spent a lot of time in counseling, learning to love myself in order to be able to forgive. When we can deal with our own imperfections and come to be okay with them, we can have more compassion for others. But we also realize the burden of being angry or holding a grudge. It's soul-killing, at some point.

I do have forgiveness on my mind. There was a person who deeply hurt me last year and how made me anxious and made me question my own sanity. They were in a position of authority and behaved in a very unprofessional manner. I internalized their rejection of me and very-obvious dislike of me as my fault; I would come to realize months later that this person behaves this way with anyone who they have conflict with. Because other people have suffered in the same way, I've decided to write a letter to their superiors to state that we can't return to their institution because I have no confidence in their administrator. I've waited a while for the anger to reside, and am glad for it. I can now be more even in my wording and how I speak out. I am doing this to release myself, not to get this person removed, but the problems were so egregious. their superiors do need to know what's going on.

Ultimately, the forgiveness is because I love myself. That said, I've had to forgive one of my dads for abandoning me at birth and being very half-hearted, for years, after I made an effort to get in touch when I was 14. He stated he wanted contact, but I think it was a lot harder for him and avoidance is easier than doing the hard work... that said, I've come to a good place with him. We did some counseling, which was helpful and a real effort on his part. Knowing that he was willing to make that sacrifice (esp to his ego) was HUGE. Our relationship is a lot better.
My mom, I'm estranged from, (she won't get help, won't do counseling) but again, I've forgiven her for my own sake. We can't have the past we always wished would have happened, instead of what we got, but I'm at peace with this and hope she's doing well.

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answers from Atlanta on

Forgiveness isn't for the person who wronged you. It's for you.

I am one of many who do not do New Year's resolutions. I figure out what I want to accomplish in the year and set those goals.

I don't hold grudges. I don't waste my time hating or living in the past. I learn from my mistakes, or at least I'd like to think I do!

Tyler and I have been married over 25 years. There's been a lot of forgiveness to go around over those years. Some of it petty. Some of it not. We have chosen not to hold past mistakes over each others heads.

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answers from Washington DC on

I don't make resolutions. If I'm going to change something? I don't wait for January 1st to do it.

I don't waste my time holding grudges. It doesn't hurt them. It only hurts me. I let it go. I can't hold on to things and let them fester.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I've never thought of it in terms of forgiveness. But what I learned from a previous failed relationship and early in my marriage is this: if DH does/says something I don't agree with, I have to decide pretty quickly how important it is to me. If it's important to me, I need to talk with him about it. He can't read my mind, so stewing in silence is pointless.

If I decide it's not important enough to talk about, then I need to completely and fully let it go. Carrying only hurts me.

I don't think this is quite what you are saying but the part about letting things in the past go, for your own happiness, is similar.

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answers from Washington DC on

forgiveness, for me, has evolved into valuing my own peace of mind more highly than the resentment and anger. it doesn't really have much to do with the other person.
i'm still not very good at it. it's an ongoing thing.
actually, screw it. i'm going to make 2017 the year i smite down my foes with fire and thunder.
:) khairete

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answers from Portland on

I don't make NY's resolutions personally. And I don't hold onto things my spouse has done in the past against him. He hasn't done that many to be honest, no more than I have. None terrible. I view him as human and he makes mistakes, as do I. The only thing that ever was a problem for us was not having enough boundaries for our family, with his family. That affected me and we went to counseling. We worked through it so in the end, we were stronger and more united. To me, learning experiences are just that. Ways to connect more and gain insight, wisdom, etc. I don't see those kinds of things as negative.

Maybe I'm not answering the question.

The only person I ever held on to some resentment towards was my mother. And I let go of that back in my early twenties. Wasn't hurting her at all, nor did she even know I was upset. Finally I told her - how I felt. She told me how she felt and it was a growing up moment. You can communicate your feelings and have control over your life. No victim stuff. Just move on. It was a big learning moment for me - to let go of that woe is me stuff.

My ex was a complete jerk. In the end, I forgave myself for being kind of ridiculous by spending so much energy and emotion on him - it seemed wasted at first. Later I realized had I not gone through that and learned from it, I wouldn't have been as choosy with my husband - who is a really good guy. Interesting though - it wasn't him I had to forgive. I didn't so much as realize he wasn't worth thinking about - because I'd filled my life with positive things.

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answers from Boston on

I make a resolution every year. Of course folk can change things through the year, but for me it is significant to announce my resolution to those who ask or to myself. I can recall past resolutions: to not cry over spilled milk, to stop eating mayonnaise, to spend more than save. This year my resolution is to actively reduce stress. I will do that via aromatherpy. So, I will invest in oils, scented candles, and keeping scented sprays in the car.
Good luck on your resolution and good for you for making one.

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