Growing up in a dysfunctional home, forgive and forget was one of our doctrines. Over time I came to realize what this really meant was when someone harmed or hurt you, you just moved on and preferably with a smile. However, my experience was that my parents carried this infraction for a along time complaining about it, rehashing it, etc… for days, weeks or even years later. Resentments built. There was no true forgiveness and there was never any forgetting. I came to believe that forgiving and forgetting was really so the other person didn’t have to feel the shame or guilt of their actions by being called out or to cause discord in the family. As an adult I came across the concept that you forgive someone for my own benefit, holding onto that anger only harms ourselves. I could understand that in theory yet it was still hard to forgive because I was always aware of the action. Also because my experience has been the person who behaved badly went along life as if nothing had happened, leaving the door open for it to happen again. What I am now coming to realize is that forgiving ties in with accepting. Accepting means being willing to see, taking the blinders off. When someone behaves badly, if I accept that this person is showing their real self to me then I can stop making excuses for them. I have found people will often let you see who they really are in small doses, will you walk away or will you allow it. If you allow it, there will be a lot of “forgiving and forgetting” in your future. People tend to see how far they can push, how much will you take. The sooner you stand up for yourself the less you will have to “forgive” in the future. Back to the forgiving and forgetting. I have discovered on my journey that it is important to forgive and then put it out of my mind, easier said than done. Each time I do is a gift I give myself. How do we hold someone accountable that is not able or willing to hold themselves accountable. For me it means lowering my expectations. If I come to accept that someone is not capable of behaving in a way that is safe or healthy for me I limit my expectations and attachments. That can lead to distancing myself or leaving the relationship completely depending on the behavior. In my family, this was not the example given. You “forgive and forget” so everything can go back to the way it has always been. Keeping things comfortable was important and confronting bad behavior made everyone uncomfortable. Allowing myself to accept a person for who they show me they are, rather than what I want them to be, means giving myself permission to do what I need for my own well being. Forgiving and forgetting is no longer a part of my vocabulary, it is much more simple to accept and move on. At the end of the day it really is all about me and my well being, another thing I had to wait until later in life to learn.