They say the most patient people are the scariest when angry. Don’t worry, I am the exact opposite of patient. I get irritated so easily, and I’ve been told many times that I am raising my voice even when I am just explaining myself. However, this irritability and volatility goes just as easily as it comes. It has helped me to never hold grudges.
A few years ago, a cousin of one of my best friends called me and asked if I could book flight tickets for her husband and kids. They were flying from London and she had no credit card. She had cash and would pay me when I come home for Christmas. Unfortunately, my credit limit was too low so I asked another friend to book for me. The amount was around Php 250,000. I came home for Christmas, met up with my friend’s cousin, but there was no cash payment. Instead, she said she was putting up a start up business and offered me a share at her new company. She apologized and promised she will give me the plane ticket payments by January. She never did. It took me two whole years to pay off her debt. Eventually, she did pay me back. But the damage was already done. No cash can replace the broken trust, the psychological and emotional stress her actions put me through.
Last year, we finally saw each other again. Of all places, it was at the hospital right before Maxene passed away. Her mother was also in the ICU but they were already being discharged. She told me to be strong for my family since I was the eldest. I received her compassion and other than gratefulness, I had no other feelings about that encounter. I took it as a sign that I have forgiven her and that I too have moved on. I also rarely think about that past anymore. Is this forgiving and forgetting? Probably.
It’s hard for me to talk about forgiveness. I am not sure what forgiving feels like. I have seen movies where people say “I forgive you.” But it is not as easy as saying those words, isn’t it? In psychology, forgiveness is a conscious and deliberate decision. I cannot recall a time when I have consciously and deliberately decided to “forgive” someone who has done me wrong.
What about forgetting? Unless you have amnesia or dementia, this is practically impossible. However, we eventually lessen the frequency of thinking about our painful past.
It takes time, but eventually you get there.