Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Pebble Beach, Nice, France

To start, I must say I consider myself a very lucky person. Wherever I go, I have been blessed with wonderful people and opportunities. The journey to reaching my personal and professional goals has also been relatively free from hardship. But it's also because of this smooth journey that I feel safe to, without any reservation, expose my raw emotions to the risk of getting hurt.

And of course, everybody gets hurt at some point, regardless how fortunate life is. I am no exception. In retrospect, it's almost comical that I was dumbfounded every single time when someone hurt me. My thought process usually came in these stages : I was first extremely shocked, then completely confused about how a loved one can cause such harm, then I reached a phase of denial denying and doubting all the past happiness and affection. Anger came next, then panic - what should I do now ? Can we fix this ? Am I willing to fix this ? How do I move forward ? Can things go back to the way they were ? A deep sadness usually came after such panic, this cycle might go a couple more rounds before I figured out a solution, then eventually, forgiveness.

Forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things. You can forgive someone without the will to conciliate. The act of forgiving doesn't mean that it justifies or accepts the wrong, nor does it minimize the pain. I used to mix forgiveness and reconciliation together, and also couldn't separate them from pride. I thought it was degrading to forgive. I thought it meant compromising my values and I felt ashamed to do so. As I age, however, I've come to feel differently.

I've learned that forgiveness is not for the weak, as it takes more strength and confidence to forgive than to admit to a fault. It takes a ton of compassion and understanding. It was not easy to look beyond my own pain and tried to understand the reasons behind the hurting. But once I did that, everything else followed naturally. I've learned to acknowledge the grey area, or the complexity of a person or a situation. I've come to understand that, at times, how utterly simple or complicated a human mind can be. I also have understood that if one brings me darkness, it could come from a dark place of his own. I have tried to understand that darkness. Sometimes I might be forced to agree to disagree with the rational behind the action, and sometimes there's no point to reconcile, but that understanding has brought me peace to move forward.

Reconciliation, on the other hand, takes all of above, and love. You need to first love that person enough to feel the significance of the pain and the struggle of the condonance. Then you need that strong sentiment to make the ultimate judgement call - whether it's worth it. When it's not, walk away, and forgive anyway. Do it for yourself anyway

But trust me, sometimes it is.

I've been harmed and betrayed in ways I can't even bring myself to speak about, but forgiveness and reconciliation feels great when they are done right. This is a mutual effort, however. It is indeed weak and belittling to simply settle for something I don't even believe in just because of the fear for separation or change. The other person must acknowledge his or her wrongdoing, offer a sincere apology, promise to not repeat the offence, and make all possible amends. To this day, regardless of how inconsequential or how brainless the reason behind the action is, I still forbid myself to become a willing victim if the offender doesn't show tremendous effort. Walking away with pride and working on that forgiveness alone feels better than becoming a pathetic victim of my own second choice.

But once I've decided to patch up, it takes two to rebuild the fallen pieces together. And during that journey, although the victim holds the upper hand, I've learned to let go of that leverage.True forgiveness is not just an action after a fact, it is an attitude with which you enter each following scene.  It is important to know that, forgiving the other party is also a promise, a promise to move on together and to not use their past sins as a valid weapon against them. This is difficult. When the wound feels forever raw, each visit there turns one into a bitter vicious person. When I was in that position, I often felt the need to defend myself by attacking, but hoping to gain reassurance. The results were often unfruitful. But it was also after helpless moments like this that the other half showed his ability to understand, to forgive, and to make continuous effort. Sometimes what seemingly a cruel offense, when dealt with correctly, pulls two people closer together and strengthens the relationship in ways that can only be made possible by mistakes.

And this is what makes it all worth it.

Note: Writing this post has unexpectedly brought me a new kind of calmness and an elevated perspective on my past. It reminds me how much and why I love writing. It's a public blog, but it's really for myself. 


  1. I really love reading them :) please dont give up on writing!

    1. awww thank you so much :) My first comment ! hehe

  2. Finally you're blogging again, I used to read your 无名. miss your writing.. ��

    1. Yes, it's been a while !:D Hope you like my English writings too ! <333


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