"Forgiveness comes from within. It is not something that can be forced. Either you can do it or you can’t. If you cannot, then don’t think that you are a bad person or that you failed in some way. In some cases, forgiveness is just not possible." ~ Psychology Today
I have written one or two articles, and even done videos about why it is important to forgive.
I've managed to forgive those who hurt me deeply, but I have never been through an experience of repeated physical, mental and emotional abuse.
It never occured to me that my message, though well meaning, may have been putting pressure on those who were reading or watching and listening to do something that they were simply not ready to do.
Trauma is a very complex thing that is experienced very differently according to the individual who has gone through it.
It affects the victim very deeply and painfully, in ways that those of us who haven't gone through it could not possibly relate to.
Is It Okay To Not Forgive Someone?
The short answer is "absolutely".
Forgiving someone who has caused you unimaginable pain and grief takes time, and if you are still in a place where you are simply not ready to do so then you have every right to feel the way you do.
You might be coerced by those close to you to do so, even threatened "to burn in eternal fire" because biblically it is one's duty to forgive, but family members and close friends, as good as their intentions are, should never trick, guilt or threaten you into a journey that is deeply personal.
Having said this, I do not mean that you should spend the rest of your days in vengeful anger and bitterness due to this experience.
If you find yourself in a chronic state of being highly charged emotionally with negative and even debilitating thoughts, then it is wise to seek counselling to help process what you are going through.
Is there an alternative to forgiving someone?
Yes there is.
You can choose to become emotionally aware of how deeply these traumatic experiences have affected you.
- Understanding what triggers you and when is a very powerful way of dealing with the struggle of moving through this storm.
- Choosing to indulge in healthy daily activities that help you focus on building your strengths, can also help you significantly.
- Seeking influences that mentally and emotionally support you are also a fantastic alternative. Good people can help you focus on your own good and your own capabilities and potential.
When you decide to live a whole life, understanding that your past experiences do not have control over who you are and what you can do, you can still lead a very fulfilling life.
For as long as you can live your life completely devoid of the influence of the person who hurt you, then you don't have to forgive them.
You can lead a healthy and happy life without forgiving those who do not deserve it.