Sometimes I think we make life much more complicated than it needs to be, especially with the important things.
In the case of knowing whether or not you've forgiven someone, it's definitely something that matters. I think there's a very simple way to know:
You wake up one day, and you don't hurt anymore.
You know that constant, aching emotional pain that somehow completely takes over your body? Well, it's gone. Instead of not being able to think about anything but “the event” that hurt you so badly, you can now concentrate again. Instead of feeling like tears were going to erupt at any moment, you find that constant pressure behind your eyes if gone. Instead of not having an appetite or eating everything in sight, you start eating like you do normally. Instead of being too quiet, you speak. Instead of suddenly yelling without a warning, you are quiet.
You feel like yourself.
What Influences the Time Table for Feeling Like Yourself?
The time table on forgiveness is different for everyone. It depends on what that event means to you. You may find it hard to forgive a lie. Your best friend may be so accustomed to being lied to, that as long as no one is dead and all of their money is still in the bank, it's no big deal to them.
Another factor that influences the time table are the resources in your life. Resources can be your faith, the wisdom from your grandmother, a bank account that allows for lots of retail therapy, talking with a counselor or therapist, a group of friends who are there for you when you need them, or even your past experiences.
When it comes to this part of the journey, it's one that slowly happens over time as you work through the grieving and healing processes. Unlike a race, you have no idea if it's the 300 yard dash or a marathon when you start. But somehow, you just know when you're crossed the finish line.
Tomorrow, we'll talk about the myths of “forgiving and forgetting.”