In my last therapy session, I was telling my therapist how my friend and I were discussing what forgiveness looks like and he told me that I’m really not forgiving someone because I don’t want to have anything to do with them. EVER. I explained to her that I tried to tell him that just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean that you have to allow them back in your life. Forgiveness is for you and not for them.
She agreed with me.
I think that one of the hardest things that I struggle with is trying to explain this concept to others. I am all about boundaries and keeping them. I don’t have to let toxic people or things in my life and if I forgive you – it’s not for you, but for me. That applies to anyone and anything.
You have to set personal boundaries regardless of whether you choose to forgive someone or not. I hope that you choose forgiveness, but more than that I want you to understand that forgiving someone doesn’t mean that have to allow them access to you or your life ever again. Your boundaries shouldn’t allow for it.
I know you’re probably wondering, what are boundaries? So, I wanted to find the simplest and truest explanation of what personal boundaries are. I love how Z. Hereford explains personal boundaries in an article entitled Healthy Personal Boundaries & How to Establish Them:
“Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others. Their presence helps us express ourselves as the unique individuals we are, while we acknowledge the same in others.” – Z. Hereford author of Healthy Personal Boundaries & How to Establish Them
You have to be able to set your personal boundaries and be okay with applying them to everyone in your life. This includes your family, friends and your relationships with your partners. Everyone should have boundaries.
You have to choose your relationship with yourself first and foremost. You matter more than anyone’s personal feelings or expectations regarding how you should continue to allow them access to your life. No. Say No! Mean No.
Choosing you allows you to see that your personal responsibility is to yourself first. You move from being a victim to be an advocate for your own self care. You are then able to create personal boundaries with others.
It’s a hard lesson learned and trust me…I’ve been there. I know. It’s exhausting. It can be overwhelming because somehow you’ve been manipulated into believing that you have to allow certain people in your life. You have been conditioned to believe that you have to allow toxic situations to exist in your life because you have no choice.
But, you do. You always have a choice. You have a responsibility to YOU first. That sets the tone for everything. Forgive and move on. Don’t stretch your boundaries to accommodate those people that want to disrupt them. You forgive them and release them from your life. You matter more.