Most people don’t wake up with the goal of sucking at life. People generally do the best they can.
I believe the man who caused the car accident that ultimately killed my husband was doing the best he could. And his best lead him to alcohol and meth and a decision to drive with those substances in his system.
When I saw him in court a year after the accident, I wasn’t angry. I told him I forgave him. I told him that he wasn’t broken. That he shouldn’t let this define his life. I told him to do his time and move on and contribute to the world.
I didn’t just tell him these things for his sake though. I forgave him for my sake, for the sake of my children, my future and my happiness. Holding on to anger and resentment would only hurt me.
We can choose to believe that someone is horrible and that we are right and they are wrong. And then we get to feel self-righteous, judgmental and closed off. Or we can choose to believe that people are imperfect humans, doing the best they can in the world, forgive them and accept them for who they are. And then we get to feel loving, compassionate and open.
Where my clients get it wrong is when they believe that forgiving someone is the same as saying they are ok with what happened. That forgiveness means they are letting them “off the hook” or being a doormat. Not at all.
What we choose to believe about another person doesn’t change them, it changes us.