Forgiving

I can hold a grudge for a while.  Some grudges I've held for several months.  But, even when I have tried to do so, I haven't been able to hold a grudge for over a year.  I just don't have it in me.  I think of myself as a forgiving person.  Perhaps others do not view me as forgiving as I view myself.  But, the truth is that I just don't have the energy or the memory to hold grudges for too long.

Maybe it's not called forgiveness if you simply forget about something that someone did in the past to offend you.  I don't know.  It's probably also required, at least in some cases, to inform the offender that you have finally forgiven them.  I don't think it's any coincidence that forgiving people is one of the 12 steps in AA's famous recovery program.  Forgiving others goes a long way toward personal healing.

I can't speak for others, but I know that for myself, I find that the difficult in forgiving someone is greatest at the time the offense is committed, but decays exponentially as time progresses.  For me, I would say that the half life of the difficult in forgiving varies proportionately with the severity of the offense, ranging anywhere from 1 or 2 hours to perhaps 2 or 3 weeks.   I also find that the more I forgive people, the easier it is to forgive future offenses, and the longer I hold onto grudges the longer I am capable of doing so.

I have definitely been hurt by many of the things people said to me when they first found out that I was gay.  However, I believe I'm over all of that.  I daresay I've forgiven anyone who offended me by anything they've said.

Making up and pressing forward after the forgiving has been done is the next big step--at least in my book.  I feel that in some cases it is appropriate to explain the nature of the offense so as to help the other person avoid repeating it (especially in cases where they were unaware that their behavior was offensive), or at least to lay down ground rules so that both parties have the same understanding.  In the interest of doing just that, I give my own following ground rules.

  1. I will not tolerate name-calling and attacks on my character.  I am a good person, I try to do what is right in everything that I do.  You may disagree with me, but that doesn't make me an idiot.
  2. I will not tolerate religious bullying.  You may have your own religious convictions, but know that I may not share those beliefs.  Don't try to force your morals onto me.  I believe in true freedom of religion.  You're free to believe as you choose, and so am I.  
  3. I will not tolerate emotional manipulation.  Feelings and emotional experiences are very strong and mean a lot to me personally.  Do not try to leverage these experiences and emotions against me to bend my will to your way of thinking.
  4. I will not tolerate violence or threats of violence against me or any other person.  If the only reply you have to give someone is a threat to smack them, then I would suggest that you consider the shortcomings in the logic of your own argument.  
I will continue to publish my own thoughts and feelings, as I have done thus far.  These things may contradict your own beliefs.  They may challenge views that you have.  I would hope that you'd be open-minded and objective enough to listen to someone with a differing perspective, even though you strongly disagree.  However, I understand if you do not feel capable of doing this, or that doing so has no merit for you.  In this case, I would expect you to be respectful of my own beliefs by either remaining silent or expressing your disagreement politely and respectfully.  

I don't expect everyone to like everything that I publish.  I have never had that expectation, and I'm sure that no matter how diplomatic I tried to be, it would never happen.  Therefore, you shouldn't feel any need to express to me your dissatisfaction with what I post.  My posts reflect who I am and I will not change who I am for anyone.  I am always interested in improving myself and becoming a better person, so if you have constructive criticism on how I could word things more respectfully or amiably, then I would be happy to hear such advice.  While I recognize that my content is often offensive, know that my intent is to share my own personal thoughts, never to offend people.  And if I do offend you, I would be interested in being informed of such so that I can have the opportunity to apologize.