Why I’ll Always Forgive, But Never Forget

These days, my personal motto has changed from “forgive and forget” to “forgive, but never forget.” How am I supposed to magically erase the fact that someone hurt me from my memory? That’s right, I can’t. I’m not being harsh — it’s actually much healthier when I’m not stressing out about forgetting what’s happened to me, but instead concentrating on forgiving and moving on.

I’m not naive. 

When I was five, I was still young and naive. I thought everyone was good and wouldn’t lie to me. I was wrong. Now I’m much older and naive is the last word anyone would use to describe me. I’d have to be naive to even consider forgetting a betrayal from someone I care about.

I don’t want the drama. 

I forgive because it’s not worth the pain and drama of carrying a grudge. I don’t forget because I don’t want a repeat of the same exact thing. I remember who screwed me over, so I know to avoid them and their drama in the future. I have much better relationships now than ever before.

If they did it once, they’ll do it again. 

I realize people can change. I’m all for second chances for minor offenses. Certain things like cheating means no more chances ever. Simply forgetting what happened means I’m setting myself to be hurt by the exact same person all over again. No, thank you.

I’ll recognize it before it happens again. 

I don’t just learn from my mistakes. I also learn from the mistakes of others and yes, screwing me over is a big mistake. Thanks to someone else lying or cheating, I’m better able to recognize the signs of someone else about to do it in the future and avoid getting hurt.

Forgiving helps me, forgetting doesn’t. 

The real healing comes with forgiveness. I let go of the anger and pain. I cut ties with any ideas of revenge. I don’t get closure or healing with forgetting. It’s like putting a neon sign on my chest that says “easy target.”

I have too much self-respect. 

I don’t want people to see me as someone they can walk all over. I love and respect myself too much to be a doormat. The more I forget, the more I open myself up to be used again and again.

I hold others accountable. 

I’ve done my part and forgiven them — everything else is on them. I hold the person who hurt me accountable for making amends. Why should I do all the work and just forget what happened? It’s up to them to erase the bad with good memories.

Trust has to be re-earned. 

For those minor offenses, I don’t cut people out of my life entirely. Still, I don’t trust easy and once you’ve hurt me, the trust is gone. I hold on to the memory so I don’t let someone back in too easily. They have to work hard to re-earn my trust and respect.

It helps me move on. 

Remembering doesn’t mean I’m stuck in the past. I don’t dwell on the event every second. For the most part, I never think about unless I see the person or notice similar signs from someone else. Once I’ve forgiven, I move on. Remembering feels like I have a comfortable shield protecting me as I move past the pain.

I don’t know how to just forget. 

As I’ve already said, I don’t know how to erase memories from my mind. I still remember things from when I was a child. How am I supposed to pull out memories that happened a week, month or year ago? It’s not that easy and I’d rather focus on doing something else.

I can’t pretend nothing happened. 

The more I try to pretend nothing ever happened, the angrier I get. It’s like being betrayed all over again. I want the other person to know I’m pissed and hurt. Once I’ve forgiven them, they can work on rebuilding their relationship with me. I refuse to forget and pretend everything’s okay.

I deserve to be treated better. 

I could act like the better person and forgive and forget (aka pretend). Or, I could demand to be treated better. I’m not going to keep toxic people in my life who don’t care enough about me to not betray me. I’d rather remember what they did, walk away and know they’ll never be able to hurt me again.

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