If a person feels they can't forgive someone, must they say they forgive them?
They don't want to forgive them because they caused them so much pain, however they don't want to suffer the consequences of that action. What to do?
I'm sure that there are other people reading this blog that also have this question and I'm so glad you asked it so I can try to answer it for all those who were wondering but just didn't ask. I really respect you for trying to find a way to get past the hurt and work on really forgiving others for the pain they have caused you-that is really something to look up to!
Forgiveness can be a very difficult thing. On one hand, someone else hurt you and on the other hand, you know it is a very dangerous thing to hold on to the past without letting go.
One important thing to remember is that every single thing that happens to you is from Hashem. Of course we all know that as a fact but internalizing it and really feeling it when things are tough or when someone hurts your feelings is another story. If a person hurts your feelings, says something to make you feel bad, embarrasses you or does anything that makes you not want to forgive them, know that this is all from Hashem. S/he cannot do anything to hurt you if Hashem didn't want it to be that way.
Maybe it's a kapparah - if you are embarrassed in public or if someone says something to hurt your feelings and you don't answer back, you are seriously erasing your aveiros in a way that you cannot imagine! And what a better time to get your aveiros erased than before Yom Kippur! I'm sure we can all use that - a quick "delete" of our sins so we can become cleansed.
Maybe this is a way for you to work on your middos, on being more accepting, on not letting things get to you. If someone hurt you in a way that made you feel really bad, you need to think about it-why does this hurt me so much? Maybe I'm holding on to something too strongly and I need to let it get past me?
And maybe it happened for unknown reasons-unknown to you, that is. Because Hashem has a plan, He knows what He is doing and just know that this is all for your good, for the good of your neshama, for your spiritual growth. You can take this as a way to let yourself become a more giving, forgiving person.
Keep telling yourself again and again no one can hurt me in any way unless Hashem wants it to be. I may not understand why He wants this to happen, but I know that whatever happens in my life is not in my control. I will work on myself to look past the things that hurt me so I can forgive.
Forgiveness is not for the other person-it's for yourself. It's so that you learn to become a better person, a person who can give in, a person who can say it's okay.
Now, don't get me wrong, you should not let yourself become a doormat. If someone keeps hurting you again and again, perhaps you need to reevaluate your relationship and see if it is going in the right direction. I don't know who it is that hurt you that you are trying to forgive - but know that if it is someone with whom you can end a relationship or maybe make them realize your side, maybe you need to do that: talk it over. Tell the person that you feel hurt by whatever was done/said to you. Try to get that person to understand your side.
Also, some things are so trivial, so unimportant that when you will look back in a little while, you will realize that it was so not worth getting upset about. Of course, right now when you are in that situation, it hurts and it hurts terribly. But when you look back after you are over and done with it, you will be able to see that these things pass and things will get better.
You may have heard that if you forgive other people, especially when it's hard for you, Hashem will forgive you. What could be better than that? Now, before Yom Kippur, don't we all want forgiveness for our aveiros? By you going the extra step and saying, I will find it within myself to forgive this person and get past the pain, Hashem will forgive you for the things you may have done that were "too much"!
I hope this helps answer your question and if you still have more to add, you can email me, submit another question anonymously or just drop a comment. Either way, can you please leave a comment to let me know that you read this post and if it helped at all?
May you be able to forgive all those who have hurt you with a light heart and may this year be one where we all achieve full forgiveness from Hashem!