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Forgiving and Forgetting

We all go through harm in our lives, but how do we handle it? Do we forgive, or do we forget?

In one of Taylor Swift’s newest songs, “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived”, she sings “but you are what you did… and I’ll forget you but I’ll never forgive.” This provokes many thoughts in listeners’ minds. Should people forgive and forget? Forgiving and forgetting is when after someone harms another person, the victim decides to forgive what had happened and forget what made them feel negatively. There are multiple instances where this may be the best option possible, however many situations where this may not be an option. 

There are two main types of forgiveness: decision (decisional) and emotional. Decision forgiveness is when people purposely choose to let go of any distress. This most likely happens when people physically cannot get over a situation that happens, so they force themselves to. The second type of forgiveness is emotional. Emotional forgiveness is when people choose to replace negative feelings towards someone with positive feelings. 

When people forgive they intentionally choose to move on from a situation. This may be easier for some people than it is for others. Many people are incapable of forgiving. Being incapable of forgiving someone does not strengthen or weaken a person. Human beings are all different and some are able to do things others cannot. Additionally, some situations are unforgivable. If a person may cause catastrophic harm to a victim, do they deserve forgiveness? At what point is forgiveness not grantable? Lastly, forgiveness can be granted based on the type of perpetrator. When a person who has repeatedly done the same actions to purposely hurt another human, they should not deserve forgiveness. 

Instead of forgiving and forgetting, people often decide to forgive but never forget. However, many critics wonder if people can actively forgive someone for their wrongdoings while knowing how horribly that person had made them feel. This takes great strength and acceptance. Despite whether or not people should forgive, victims should always get help when they need it. If someone finds themselves stuck in a hard situation they should tell someone they trust. This can be a teacher, friend, parent, therapist, doctor, and many more. Forgiveness may not always be an option, but sharing feelings with someone trustworthy is. 


Sources Used: Can You Forgive and Forget? – Psych Central

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