All Articles Tagged "forgiveness"
All relationships have their ups and downs that can make us question if they’re worth trying to save. After all, there are no perfect people, so we can’t expect our relationships to be perfect either.
The truth of the matter is friendships can be hard to maintain at times. Life, distance and other factors can get in the way. If you and your bestie are no longer close, it might be time to make a few changes. Here are some tips on ways to mend a broken friendship.
In life, everyone is bound to make a mistake or two. As wonderful as you think you are, there will be something you say or do that’s considered offensive to others. Then there are times when other people fall short of your standards that can cause resentment and anger. The question is whether or not you’ll forgive them.
If you think holding a grudge is a great character trait, you’re wrong. Here are some ways it damages your life and career.
So there I was, tired as all get-out, watching and live-tweeting “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” I spent a good part of the day (from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at church, singing in my choir for Palm Sunday. By the time it hit 8 p.m. EST, I was already ready to be in bed. However, a lively debate woke me up as I tweeted, and while it came about because of the reality show, it wasn’t necessarily a debate about the ladies.
It was a debate about what it means to forgive.
If you watched last night’s episode, I’m sure you peeped the scene where Kandi and Phaedra talked about Phaedra’s newfound friendship with NeNe. Despite the ugly things NeNe said about Phaedra in the past, she managed to change and has grown to like the Southern belle. Phaedra chose to forgive and forget because NeNe has been a supportive shoulder to cry on as she’s watched Apollo get himself thrown back into prison—this time, with two kids directly impacted by his decisions.
According to Kandi, who still cares very little for NeNe, if Phaedra can forgive her, it should be a cake walk when it comes to forgiving Kenya.
It’s safe to say that Phaedra was not feeling that idea, calling it “a matter of opinion.” And if you’ve watched past seasons, I’m sure you know why Phaedra would be hesitant to make amends with Kenya. Despite Apollo admitting that Kenya never tried to sleep with him as he had previously claimed, the two did admit to sending text messages to one another without Phaedra’s knowledge (they claimed the messages were about business). Plus, our own eyes watched Kenya flirt with Apollo during their trip to Anguilla, and in Mexico, even doing so in front of Phaedra’s face. At a certain point, it went from being the harmless behavior of an overly flirtatious person, to being outright disrespectful. But alas, both Apollo and Kenya were in the wrong.
So with that in mind, I asked whether or not Kandi had oversimplified everything based on the actions both NeNe and Kenya displayed in the past. One talked trash while the other flirted with Phaedra’s husband AND talked trash.
While it would be nice to see Phaedra let bygones be bygones, let’s not pretend like this is such a simple task, especially when all parties involved are clearly still hurt.
Kenya actually felt some type of way about the question I tweeted. She responded to it by saying that it didn’t matter what she did to her in the past–if Phaedra is the Christian she claims to be, she should be able to forgive easily.
I understand what Kenya is trying to say, but I disagree about the following two things:
For one, people tend to forgive and let go of pain at their own pace. Every time these women get together for a trip or a dinner, they’re trying to force a peace treaty to happen so that the offender can have a clear conscience. This happened in the Philippines. But did we not just watch Kenya get a kick out of helping Cynthia confront Phaedra about rumors that she was cheating in front of everyone? Now, a few weeks later, you want someone to “engage” in a conversation with you to make peace? It’s not always that simple.
And secondly, with this group of women, and many other people, they believe that with forgiveness comes immediate friendship.
Please don’t play yourself.
Sometimes people can forgive and find it possible to be friends with someone after all the betrayal and shenanigans. Phaedra did that with NeNe. And even NeNe did that with former housewife Kim Zolciak, and vice versa. But every person is different. At the end of the day, just because I forgive you for something harsh you did to me doesn’t mean that you haven’t displayed a character flaw that makes it hard for me to trust you again. Being cordial, being pleasant and being supportive when one needs such support is a lot different from, I forgave you, now let’s be BFFs.
To me, that’s where Kenya always has gone wrong. People can forgive you and not necessarily want to be associated with you. That’s just something you have to know and move on from. At the end of the day, forgiveness is about that person—they are moving past a certain attitude or feeling of vengefulness caused by a specific offense on your part. But that doesn’t mean they want to be chummy with you, and that’s okay.
So for everyone who assumes that forgiveness equates to friendship, pump your brakes. As for Phaedra, while I can’t fault her for being upset, she should forgive Kenya. Holding on to that bitterness will only hurt her (and halt her blessings as a professed Christian) down the line. But as for Kandi, Kenya and the like, they need to allow her to forgive and move forward when it feels best for HER to do so. To force it for the cameras would be phony. At the end of the day, one can forgive you for the pain you’ve caused, but not everyone is down to forget about the person you’ve proven yourself to be.
On Sunday night’s episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta, the ladies (minus NeNe) took a long arse flight to the Philippines to kick back, relax, and finally handle their issues. By the end of the episode, Porsha was bickering with Claudia again, Cynthia was seeking to make amends with Phaedra, and the Southern belle and Kenya finally decided to sit down and work on their problems. Are pigs flying or nah?
Let’s chat about all that went down on RHOA ep. 19.
The Women Prepare To Hit The Unfriendly Skies
As the episode begins, the ladies pull up at the airport, faces beat to perfection, trying their best to get along since they’ll have to travel for more than 20 hours together. Oooh child! My knees hurt at the thought.
After therapy with Dr. Jeff, the ladies seem to be friendly enough with one another as they arrive–the only exception being Ms. Phaedra Parks. As she pulls up curbside, she tells Porsha that she would like to stay in her car until time for check-in because she doesn’t want to be anywhere near Cynthia after the Mr. Chocolate shenanigans. Porsha encourages her to actually try and mix and mingle with the ladies, which Phaedra reluctantly ends up doing.
My heart goes out to women like Karrueche Tran and Keyshia Cole. They’re in the public eye, and they had to suffer through the devastation of learning that their men stepped out on them with other women. Being in the public eye puts them in a position to be heavily criticized if they make the decision, for themselves, to take Chris and “Booby” back. I couldn’t deal with that.
I was cheated on by my fiance many moons ago, and deciding to take him back wasn’t an easy decision to come to. It took a lot of time and a lot of healing. Taking a man back after he’s cheated requires a different level of strength. You have to be an extraordinarily strong woman to continue to love and live with a person after they’ve betrayed your trust in such a way.
So how does one deal after finding out that their man has been emotionally or sexually connecting with someone else? Though every individual has their own way of dealing with a cheating spouse, here’s what I did and what you can try if you’re considering taking him back.
Do Not Blame Yourself
For a lot of women, including myself, the natural reaction to learning that your man ran to someone else is to question your own worthiness and actions. You ask yourself, “what did I do that pushed him out the door and into the arms of another woman?” And when the comparisons between yourself and the other woman begin to cloud your mind, you ask yourself, “what didn’t I do?”
I would hope that Cole and Tran have a solid grip on the reality that when a man cheats, it rarely has much to do with you. They made that decision for themselves, and people who bend over backwards for their man can still be cheated on.
However, if you have the sudden urge for self-improvement based upon your experience, go for it! These kinds of things have an interesting way of fueling a woman to strive for better. However, be careful not to confuse bettering yourself with stopping your man’s infidelity. As far as his character goes, he has some obvious issues to unpack and that is not your fault, girl.
Give Yourself Some Time
When I took my fiance back, my best friend said to me, “You let him back already?! Girl you should have at least made him suffer for a few more months.” She was right. There should be a literal “cooling off” period. The last thing we care about after our man has stepped out on us is his feelings, but it’s unfair to him and unhealthy for you to allow him back into your life soon after learning that he’s been creeping. Give yourself time to collect your thoughts and yourself, because living together with built-up anger and distrust is like trying to build a home on top of a minefield.
When you have unresolved emotions lingering and a man who’s trying to go back to normal as quickly as he can, the healing process for both of you will be delayed. You don’t have to put an exact date and time on when you’ll take him back, but there needs to be some time for you to just sort through YOUR emotions before you decide to face him and all the mess you’ll both have to untangle. If you can, pretend you’re Usher and let it burn for a little while. It will do you both some good in the long run.
If You Decide To Forgive, You Probably Should Forget
A lot of us can forgive our men for cheating, but many of us don’t believe in letting him forget what he did. For him, being reminded of his mistake won’t be anything more than annoying, but for you, it can be like reliving that first day of heartbreak all over again.
If you’ve accepted him back, you’ve decided that you want to make it work, so bringing up the past or harping on it in your mind is a no-no. It’s easier to simply stick to solutions when talking about what happened, but be mindful that you can’t live in the past when you’re trying to create a future with someone.
In order to live in peace after you’ve forgiven him, you will have to set your attention on rebuilding the trust, not on thinking about the act of infidelity. Learning to trust again is painful, but that pain lasts longer when you’re constantly digging up the past. It keeps you in that negative space and it’s counterproductive to what you and your spouse are trying to do.
Skip The Details
I remember wanting to know everything that went down between my fiance and the other woman. I wanted to know so much so that I reached out to her and asked her to send me all the photos, text messages and emails from him. Well, she did. I was even more devastated.
Digging for details is like pouring salt on an open wound. If you’ve already made the decision to accept him back, then trying to find out any and everything is unnecessary and does more harm than good.
Trust me, you don’t really want to know all of the details. For the most part, you will only see and understand what your hurting heart perceives, but you’ll rarely get the full truth. Skip all the details and focus solely on rebuilding if that’s what you want to do.
Depending on how well you know this man, you should quickly be able to figure out if what happened was truly a mistake, or if this will be the first of many uphill battles when it comes to your man’s infidelity. As a human, being flawed is expected and inevitable. But a woman should not allow herself to constantly be disrespected by a man who can’t commit to only her. Taking him back after multiple cheating incidents will begin to set a precedent in your relationship. It lets him and the world know that you are down for whatever. If that is what you agreed to, so be it, but be careful not to continuously take this man back simply because you are in love with what he “could be.”
In the end, taking a cheating spouse back is a difficult decision to make. But in some cases, surprisingly, doing so can completely change the relationship for the better.
There are very few things that can leave me puzzled in life, but one of those things is the ability some people have to compartmentalize their behaviors. What I mean by that is how some people have the ability to create a reaction, and then ignore all consequences after it.
I just can’t wrap my mind around it. One of these things is how people can hurt someone, and then not only refuse to apologize, but when they see you they never mention it. There’s no apology, there’s no explanation, or even the poor excuse of: “Sorry, I was having a bad day.” It’s just: “Hey, I have some extra slices to this pizza, you want some?” Not only is it confusing, but it’s also a little alarming. (Are they just trying to finish you off with the pizza so they don’t have to apologize from now on? What’s your game?!)
Maybe I’m too much of an empathetic person, but I don’t feel right if I’ve wronged someone and didn’t apologize, or at least talked about what happened. Even if I don’t feel like I’m in the wrong, I’ll apologize if my tone is too harsh, or if my choice of words made them feel attacked. Or I’ll apologize for my reactions. I feel like this should be the norm.
Sadly, it’s not. You’re going to come in contact (or be related to) people who will do and say horrible and mean things to you, and the next time you see them won’t say anything about it. They know they hurt you, and some of those people were purposely trying to hurt you.
As much as you might want to just cut them out of your life, this is for the people who you can’t. Either you’re related to them, living with them, or working with them, you have to interact with them when they feel as though they did nothing wrong. This is when loving a person from afar only does so much. When getting human resources involved and the solution is to just be cordial while you finish your work together. It’s a very unpleasant situation to be in, but it’s not an impossible one.
Being around people who have wronged you, but refuse to address it can be frustrating, but it takes some skill on your part to handle it.
First, you have to accept the fact that you can’t change them. You can’t make them see how you feel, or address what they don’t want to address. If they feel as though they did nothing wrong, nothing that you can do or say is going to change it. They have to decide to make that decision on their own.
Second, you have to embrace yourself and find closure on your own. When people do and say horrible things and then go about their lives unfazed, it can sometimes have an effect on us that makes us wonder if they were right in their harsh words. Sometimes someone else’s ease and confidence they have in hurting us can make us begin to believe whatever negative propaganda that they have been spewing at us.
However, this is the time that you have to gain confidence in who you are. Instead of accepting what someone else is saying about you, know who you are! Know what’s a lie, and what’s constructive criticism. Know what you need to fix and what was said in an attempt to break you down. Know that you are more than the negative, and you have positive attributes, and if you have to write them down to remember them, then do so. A few words from someone else can break us down so much, and it’s up to use to rebuild ourselves.
Finally, assess the necessity of holding on to it. Sometimes when people hurt us we want to just hold on to that pain as a reminder of how the person really is, and have it justify why we shouldn’t trust them. Now, I’m not saying that you have to trust them, or even like them. What I’m saying is that you have to love yourself, and part of loving yourself is to not bog yourself down with unnecessary pain. Carrying all that baggage is more so a pain on you, and you’re not punishing them by holding on to it. You’re punishing yourself.
You’re going to be forced to interact with a-holes in your life, and many of them won’t see their own faults, but will be quick to tell you yours. They will create impossible standards for you to live up to so that when you fail they feel justified in being condescending to you.
But in those times, remember that you are more than just one person’s negative critiques… whether you get the apology or not.
There are times in our lives when things happen that are just unforgivable. It could be something unthinkable or a petty event we just can’t seem to shake. Have you ever felt this way in the workplace? You aren’t a bad person if you get angry, but you are missing out if you don’t forgive. Here are some pointers on how to let it go on the job.
“I apologize.” “Forgive me.” “I was wrong.”
These are some of the shortest phrases known to mankind, but they can be the most powerful. Giving or receiving an apology can be the hardest thing to do and encounter when one is really hurt. Telling someone you’re sorry for something you did wrong or for something misunderstood means that the person must lay aside their pride and admit to it, and this is not an easy thing to do. And on the other hand, receiving an apology can be bittersweet as well because hearing and accepting apologetic words or gestures causes the recipient to remember a bad time in their life that they’ve held on to, and they too must swallow their pride in choosing to accept it (and agreeing to let that anger go for good).
Giving an apology has its pros and cons, but nonetheless, it’s important to give one when someone you care about feels hurt. Why you ask?
1. It provides closure for you that brings about a peace of mind and helps you heal wounds of guilt from within.
2. Apologies allow you to grow because admitting that you were wrong is one of the hardest things for some people to do.
3. It rights a wrong and helps to give you and the other person closure. Whether or not they are receptive of your apology, no matter when it was given, at some point they will appreciate it.
After you’ve given your apology the most important thing you can do (before or after it’s given) is to forgive yourself and move on with your life. Why is this important?
Forgiving yourself means that you’ve let go of the matter and you sincerely meant your apology. Many times when we’ve wronged someone we are so bothered that we can’t move beyond what we’ve done. We burry the transgression within our souls and leave it there to fester and grow, and in turn, that leaves internal scars that if left unattended, can affect our lives in more ways than one without us realizing it. So be sure that you’ve forgiven yourself before or after you’ve apologized.
Now on the flip side of things, what do you do if you believe you deserve an apology but don’t get one?
1. Evaluate the situation from both sides and make sure you haven’t overreacted. As adamant as we may be at times about being right, the truth of the matter is that there is a possibility that we’re wrong and we do not deserve an apology, but we can’t see beyond our own opinion.
2. Try your best to forgive and forget about the situation, because it’s really only hurting you. This can be a difficult task because your feelings and ego may be bruised and it’s not easy to forget that someone hurt you, let alone forgive them if they didn’t acknowledge their wrongdoing. However, in order for you to move on with your life, you have to let go.
3. Make up in your mind that you do not need an apology in order to move past a wrong that’s been done to you. The mind is a very powerful tool that controls our emotions and actions. If you have your mind set on not needing an apology, then the rest of you will follow and you will move forward.
Saying one of the short aforementioned phrases can be one of the biggest things a person can do for themselves and someone else. But if you don’t receive an apology you thought you deserved, don’t sweat it. Life’s too short to be concerned about what someone else didn’t give you and to let it hinder your growth and happiness.
Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin
I learned at an extremely young age about wolves in sheep’s clothing. I discovered how people can use you, keep you in bondage of pain and fear, and rob you of your voice so they can continue their status quo of hurting and manipulating others. By the time I reached elementary school, my little heart had hardened. I wasn’t closed off from getting to know people, but if they hurt me, I held on to the pain, replayed it over and over in my head.
I felt like I needed to feel it, remember it, so I wouldn’t be a victim again. I needed a daily reminder of how people were.
However, that’s not a good way to live life. I realized when I was in college how detrimental holding on to grudges were. I discarded my former notion that forgiving people was giving them an open door to hurt me again, and replaced it with the knowledge that forgiving others was more so to help me, my life, my health, and my way of living.
This is more of a general question, not anything I’m asking because of personal experience, just something I’ve observed. While there countless examples of women taking men back and forgiving them after they’ve cheated, why does it appear to be so hard for men to do the same? You may have heard the story of the 99 year old man who divorced his wife of 77 years after he found out about an affair she had 60 years ago or even more recently T.I. scolding his wife on Instagram for posing in a bikini or taking a picture with Floyd Mayweather when his own commitment to their relationship is…questionable. I understand men and women are different creatures but why is it so hard for men to forgive these type of offenses? Do you think they men do forgive more often than we know of and they just don’t talk about it like women do?
I have three somewhat connected but completely separate answers to this question. For clarity’s sake, I’m going to list them numerically.
1. I can’t speak for all men. But I can say with confidence that if you were to poll the men of America, asking them to name the number one relationship dealbreaker, physical infidelity would be at the top of the list. I realize (most) women don’t exactly love it when men cheat as well, but men (generally) are much more non-negotiable when it comes to that.
Why is this true? Well, some people will argue biology, that it’s an inherent quality we (men) possess. Some argue that we’ve been socialized to be less forgiving. But regardless of the base reasons, the emotional reaction is what matters, and when a woman cheats on a man, it makes him feel like his manhood has been taken from him. Basically, she cheated because the other guy was able to provide something physically that he wasn’t. Obviously, there are dozens of reasons — some that have nothing to do with bedroom prowess — that can contribute to a woman’s infidelity, but for (most) men, that “loss of manhood” is the immediate thought. And, for many men, there’s no getting over that.
2. That said…there are many men who welcome back cheating mates. They definitely exist. We just don’t hear as much about them because, well, lemme put it this way: (Generally speaking) Men tend to be less vocal about cheating mates than women are. Again, I’m speaking in general terms, but when a man cheats on a woman and she finds out about it, she’s going to tell everyone from her aunt to her hairdresser. If a woman cheats on a man, he’s going to tell….nobody. Because, right or wrong, he knows it’ll reflect badly on him. But yeah, there are a lot of men who know about their woman’s cheating, but take them back and keep things discreet.
3. This subject is often brought up from a “Why can’t men be more forgiving?” angle. Which is the wrong way to look at things. It’s not that men should be as forgiving with cheating as some women are. No, women should actually be less forgiving.
This — the idea of “cheating zero tolerance” — is one of the few instances where I think it would help women to be more like men. Basically, instead of expecting T.I. to be more forgiving of Tiny, we need to ask why Tiny is so forgiving of T.I.