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Hello reader. Having picked this article, I’m guessing that you either tend to hold grudges against people or you can’t imagine why anyone would want to pick a route other than forgiveness... and maybe you’re just a little heartbroken like me. For most of my life, I’ve either picked the road of absolute forgiveness or an unrelenting grudge. There seemed to be a sharp line in which anyone who crossed it didn’t deserve to be a part of my life. Despite this resolution, life can’t be all black and white, and many times you are stuck with people you hate because of the situation you are in. Through a bit of heartbreak, growth, and time, I have come to value acceptance over either of these options. 


Acceptance, to me, acknowledges that the past cannot be undone, that the situation may not be ok, and that healing requires treating yourself well. No matter what people may say, you don’t always have to forgive people. You don’t have to say “It’s ok,” “it’s fine,” or “no worries” when a person apologizes to you if it isn’t true. Giving unlimited chances to people who repeatedly hurt you can be harmful to yourself. Saying it’s ok, when that doesn’t feel true, minimizes your own emotions and pain. You should allow yourself time to grieve and feel all the emotions you have.


Once you give yourself time to experience all of your painful emotions, check in with yourself. Holding onto rage is extremely taxing. In my recent experience, I found that holding onto anger inevitably caused myself more pain than it did to the person I wanted to punish. I was drained of energy, unable to focus on anything, and filled with negativity in all aspects of my life. Because I had spent the majority of my time brooding, I had stopped actively living. Realizing that I was making the situation worse was the first step to healing. 


Remember that it’s a balance. You should allow yourself to feel the full extent of your emotions, but still protect your heart and remember to live. Focus your healing on yourself. Take a sigh, release any tension in your body, and take time to physically distance yourself from any toxic environments, even if momentarily. This likely won’t be a one-time fix. It’s ok to fall back into anger and sadness periodically. Keep making an effort to prioritize your wellbeing, and never criticize your own process. You’ll get through this.

Wendy McCullough is a fourth year English major and Graphic Communications minor at Cal Poly SLO. She is the campus correspondent of the Her Campus Cal Poly chapter. Wendy is pursuing a career in publishing and design. When she isn't writing for Her Campus, she's surfing, hiking, jamming on guitar, and watching cheesy romcoms.
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