Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot? Definitely

1 05 2011

envelopesIn keeping with my theme of nonforgiveness (see previous post), I thought I’d think of people in my life I forgave, but probably shouldn’t have.  If I’d known about this research earlier in life, just think how many people I could have helped.

I’ll start with my high school nemesis who stole my almost-boyfriend. OK, so he and I had sort of gone on one date together. Or rather we tried to. Friends who know how directionally challenged I am will not be surprised to hear that instead of heading north on the highway to our destination, I accidentally turned south, and never realized my mistake until we crossed the state line. He had let me choose our destination (big mistake!), so he had no idea what I had in mind. So that semi-date plus one phone call the week before to let me know he’d flunked his driver’s test was the extent of our relationship to that point. Still I had high hopes.

The holidays were approaching, and I felt sure I’d have a date with him for the next big to-do. Because he didn’t have his license, I’d figure we’d meet there. So I dressed to kill and spent half an hour trying to discourage friends from taking the seat I was saving for HIM.

Meet there we did. And he was as romantic as I dreamed he’d be, except the person he was cuddling was not me. Yep, she was holding his hand, wrapping her arm around him, while I pretended I hadn’t been saving that seat for anyone special.

After crying for hours that night, I resolved to be nice to both of them. And I was. I never said a word to either of them about my broken heart (she’d known I had a crush on him), and I stayed friends with them.  Too bad I didn’t know about this grudge-holding research. I might have come up with some harsh consequences that would have made them both think twice about what they’d done. As it turned out, a few months later she broke my best friend’s heart when she stole her steady boyfriend. And then six months later cheated on him with my neighbor’s fiance. Who knows how much heartache I could have saved others by being unforgiving.

So what auld acquaintances in your life do you wish you could forget?

Don’t Forgive or Forget

20 04 2011

Forget me notForgiveness is a good thing, right? Not really…

Forgiveness has always come fairly easy for me. It’s tough for me to hold grudges. It may be because I know my faults, so I’m more than willing to give other people the benefit of the doubt. Plus, I know I’ve been forgiven, so I believe I should extend that to others.

It recently came as quite a shock to discover that what I’d always thought of as a virtue is actually not. According to a recent study, people who forgive are more likely to become victims of abusers. Researchers discovered that forgiving offenses means that other people learn there are no negative consequences for their actions, so they’re much more likely to behave badly again. Thus people who hold grudges are actually doing the world a service by helping others become better people.

So if I truly want to help others, perhaps my new slogan should be: Forgive and Forget? Never!

I posted a forget-me-not because I usually forget my resolutions within a few days or weeks at most. I wonder how long I’ll be able to keep this one. 🙂