The dictionary defines "forgive" as "to grant pardon from or remission of an offense or debt." Sounds easy enough, right?
So why is forgiveness so hard? Why are there feuds lasting years, even among family members? Well, for starters, I think many people don't want to apologize. It means admitting one is wrong. People tend to not like admitting that. In my experience, although not necessary, it helps the cause of the person in question to be forgiven if they have first asked for my forgiveness. And not just asked, but asked in a genuine way.

Of course, it's not mandatory that someone ask for forgiveness to get it. I just think it might increase the chances. There are plenty of people in my life who have never asked for my forgiveness, but I have still forgiven them. Or have I?

How do you know when you've forgiven someone? Well, that's another thing about forgiveness...not forgiving someone only hurts you, and not so much the other person in question. Holding onto hate, anger, even hurt, can take a toll on someone. Once you let go of these feelings, you instantly feel lighter. I guess that's how I know I've forgiven someone. When I can think of that person and no longer feel my chest tighten up immediately, no longer feel rage at the mention of his or her name, no longer feel bitter about the relationship or what went wrong. I have forgiven many people over the years who didn't say they were sorry or ask for my forgiveness. And I felt better when I did it.

Then there is the hardest person to forgive. Yourself. While I can forgive ex-boyfriends or fake friends for hurting me, there are still things I've done in my life that I haven't quite forgiven myself for. I know the healthy thing would be to forgive myself and let go of some of those negative feelings we put on other people when they've done us wrong. We put those feelings on ourselves when we can't seem to let go of the things we've done that we deem unforgivable. If I want to get spiritual for a moment, I know a higher power would have forgiven us for everything we've done, so why can't we forgive ourselves? I think we can. At least, I think I can. It'll just take a while. But I think it will happen.

In the meantime, I'll work on it. If there are people, or you yourself, who need forgiving, try to work on it. Holding onto resentment is only hurting you. Once you forgive, it'll feel like a ton of bricks lifted off your chest. Just work on it a little bit, day by day. Eventually, I know you'll get there.

And if I'm wrong, please forgive me.