Is the focus on forgiving and forgetting the best way to move on in life?

For as long as we can remember we have been told that to forgive and forget is the way to move forward in life.

But is it a practical concept? In spite of it being preached and advised in books and scriptures everywhere, is it something we can practice in real life? Following that path will be like wasting our energy because we are barking up the wrong tree. 

Let us look at forgetting first.

Forgetting is an involuntary action; we can never forget something voluntarily. The more we want to forget something the more we will keep on remembering it. It will keep on looping through our mind like a stuck record. We cannot choose to forget something since it is not an option. If someone says forget a particular episode; can we do it? No, never!! It cannot be done, it is not possible. It is best to carry on living our life as best as we can.

Can we forgive?

Yes, we can but only if someone has asked for forgiveness. The best way to move on is to forgive someone when someone asks to be forgiven. How often does that happen? And are you in control of it? Yes, of course but only when someone asks for it. But, what if someone does not ask for forgiveness?

Forgiveness is an act of giving.

We cannot give a person anything unless they wish and ask for it. For example, we cannot give a person a lift if they do not ask for it.

The act of forgiveness works on the same principle; it cannot be given when the other person does not ask for it. If we focus on forgiving someone and the person does not want it, we will have our expectations unfulfilled, which will perpetually hold us on to the incident and will keep us from moving on. So we must move on in our life and realize we are not forgiving but moving on. 

And know the difference….

Picture this – your uncle has cheated you of a major share in your ancestral property. He is unrepentant of the wrong done, leave alone asking for your forgiveness. Then what will you do? Can you forgive and forget? No. Your best course of action will be to hope to forget the wrong done and move on in your life.

Let us look through another instance and the most ubiquitous one. Many times in life we deal with broken relationships and find it quite difficult to move on in life. We often lose the spirit which keeps us going. We always try and look out for ways to move on in life but fail to find a solution. 

What should one do in a situation where your partner cheated on you and does not bother to ask for forgiveness and make up for it? Would you try to forgive him/ her and forget about it? Well, that is something which you would have heard from a lot of people advising you on relationships.

The truth remains that we can never forgive that person when he does not repent or regret. Neither can we forget about it because it is not a voluntary action. Some go about trying to hurt that person and end up hurting themselves. The reason being, we are focussing on something which is not in our hands. 

The entire idea of trying to forgive someone who is not repentant and trying to forget something which is not a voluntary action in itself, is like trying to find Utopia, which does not exist in the first place. If we go around looking for something that does not exist then we are focussing all our energy into something that is unattainable will leave us frustrated and deny us of a closure.

Our life should be about moving forward and not dwelling on things which are not in our control. We must walk away and focus on the positive goals in our life to attain complete freedom and happiness. Forgiving and forgetting is not the only way to move on in life. The best way is to LET IT GO!

Have you been able to move on from a deadlock in your life without forgiving and forgetting? Do let us know in the comments below. Love to hear from you.



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