Almost everyone has heard the saying, “forgive and forget.” The words are straightforward and easy to understand; however, the actual act of forgiving and forgetting is extremely difficult.
I still remember being bullied in 7th grade. My closest friends threatened to spread vicious rumors about me, sneered at me as I walked down the hall, and turned all my other friends against me. Their constant tormenting infuriated me. I became constantly angry–when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself. My emotions not only took a toll on me, but also on my friends and family. I was so consumed by my unrelenting anger that all I would do was obsess over my emotional trauma.
In the beginning of 10th grade, I was talking to a friend about my residual anger. After hearing my story, she told me that I needed to let go and move on with my life. These girls should not have defined me in 7th grade, and I won’t let them define me now.
Although her advice was hard to hear, I knew that she was right. I had let these girls control my happiness for too long–I needed to let go. I knew I had to forgive and forget but could not process where to start.
I began my process by gaining perspective. Most of the girls who hurt me had changed a lot. As an upperclassman, I began talking to them, and understanding their respective growth. To my surprise, each girl had matured dramatically. They were kind and respectful when we spoke. They apologized for their behavior. They let me know how truly sorry they were. Their sentiments were genuine, and I realized I had been carrying this burden for too long. I could finally move forward with my life.
As I let go of my internal anger, I became more positive and happy. For so long, I had thought that holding on to something would allow me to never get hurt again. In reality, it only held me back from my true potential. I was given a new sense of freedom and the ability to feel confident again. I finally had control of my own emotions and actions.
I look back on my experience now and understand that once I could forgive and forget, I could rediscover who I was as a person. If we take things so personally and care too much about other’s opinions, we cannot live our own lives. It’s time to take our lives into our own hands and understand that life goes on.
by Emily – 18 years old