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Forgiveness - Option or Necessity?

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"I've come here to talk to you and Mary is here to see to it that I don't rip your face off." - Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore Show

We all have moments in our lives when we say, react and behave in ways that we later regret. More often than not, we attack someone who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or happened to make a comment that struck us the wrong way. In certain cases, we tend to bite the head off of someone who was trying to help, because in that moment, we don't want their help, we just want them to go away and allow us time to figure it out. Then there's that fool who thinks that by picking a fight with us she will distract us, even though it only makes us want to go "Sybil" on them.

We all have those moments where we wish would just slam the door and never deal with that person again, but it's just not that simple; we have to take any shared history into consideration. Sometimes the anger has to be there; without it, this world would be a much more peaceful place, but then we'd all walk around with a tumor filled with frustration and anger.

But then there comes that moment in our lives when someone has crossed us so badly and we're so hurt so deeply that the only thing that makes sense to us is to walk away while we still maintain some shred of dignity. We put our feelings ahead of what we think is best.

I come from a long line of people who hold grudges. My mother and aunts take the cake: they were pissed about something back in the late 1970s and carried it straight into the 21st century. They never discuss the who, what, where, when or why; for them it was enough to cut the person out. It's almost like Mafia with no questions asked, just eliminations.

It's because of this family mentality that I took a different approach. While I have had people in my life aggravate me, I never felt the need to cut someone off completely until recently, when I cut off ties with a former best friend who I felt was taking me down a path I didn't think I'd come back from. This came at the same time as the realization that the person I was back in High School isn't who I am today, and that given the opportunity to go back and undo some of the damage and stupidity that once made us laugh hysterically, I would.

The hardest part recently was to cut someone out who meant the world to me, who had stopped speaking to me first because of a misunderstanding and then a betrayal on their part and now I don't think I could handle being around that person. It would be too hard not to acknowledge the elephant in the room.

It's because of that particular elephant that my family is divided and have cut each other off from communication and they won't forgive each other. It should be sad, but it's who they are, and I'm not about to get involved and then end up with my head on the chopping block.

Is forgiveness a fleeting emotion, or something that needs to be embraced? What do you think?