Not a thing
I suspect that in some cases, forgiveness is a function of us being lazy, arrogant and having shit memories. One of the pleasant things about being a human is that I’m generally great at forgetting, let’s call them small-to-medium-scale-shitty-things-that-happen. I’m assuming this has something to do with needing social cohesion. I’m not sure that I’d count that as forgiveness, though. I did a little thought experiment and meditated on some of the medium-scale shittier things that have transpired in my life (and if you’re reading this and thinking, oh, I wonder if that was about me, yes. Yes, it was, you awful human) and what I’ve realised is that I don’t generally forgive anyone anything. And the thing is, I don’t think you do either, dear reader. I think we’re, in the end, lazy, distracted, forgetful and bound by laws or society. It suits us to simmer down, so we do.
Totally a thing
The other thing I’ve circled around is the idea of active forgiveness. While in states of rage, during my aforementioned meditative thought experiments, I plucked a few of the more atrocious moments from the narrative of my past and tried, actively, to resolve them, all on my own, with my 42-year-old man brain.
What ended up happening was interesting. Essentially, while meandering in the miasma of hecktastic fuckery, I found myself putting myself in the shoes of the transgressor, tried to understand the context of their life and what had led both of us to the moment of the bad stuff happening…and sat with that for a moment, a minute or two…and the thing is, it didn’t make me forgive them, not in the hallmark card, I hope you have a happy life, smoochy way. What it did was help me understand the context of their flaws through my own, often quite flawed, lived experience. And that, dear reader, was a kind of revelation. Forgiveness is not something that’s externalised. It’s not a trophy or a tear-stained letter. It's not penance or atonement. It's an internal, personal process of understanding context and realising the part I played in the shitty thing that happened. For me, anyway. IDK what the fuck it is for you. I’m not your shrink.