To Forgive or Not To Forgive

I struggle with this thought even though I have been down this road before. I even wrote my thoughts about ‘forgiveness‘ earlier this year. I want to start the New Year with no baggage.  I want to be free from anything that might hold back my growth as an individual. Still I find myself asking: “Should I? Can I? Do I want to?”
The theory always sounds perfect. Words make a lot of sense on paper. But in reality it is much harder to follow. Why do I feel like if I forgive, that means I am letting the person who hurt me off the hook? Then again, if I hold on to anger or resentment, am I giving them power over me that they should not have and most definitely do not have the right to? When you forgive, do you really move on? Or do you get sucked back in?  I feel it is the later for some reason. Or maybe it is just me. On the other hand, if you do not forgive, are you protecting yourself from that person? Or are you just not forgiving yourself for allowing pain in your heart again? Who are we punishing here?
It is easy to say: ‘forgive but don’t forget’.  This actually means let go of the pain but do not forget the lesson behind the experience. But is that what ends up happening in real life? Well, from my experience, I found that when I truly forgive, that is an invitation for round two of pain, even though I have not forgotten the past completely. So my rationale says: maybe it is better not to forgive, just forget the experience altogether, maybe even block it out of my memory. Is that like saying: run away and do not deal with the issue? I do not know anymore. My higher self says: forgive and damn it learn the lesson. Then my ego says: this person does not deserve forgiveness. Then my spiritual self says: but God forgives me for my imperfections, how come it is good for me and not for others. That is when I say: well I am not God. And before I finish my sentence I am already thinking to myself: really? You are going to go there? My inner self gets embarrassed at my contradicting thoughts and I just stop myself from thinking period. 
And so I ask again: is it a matter of should I forgive? Well, should according to who? Can I forgive? Well, that is up to me, is it not? And lastly, do I want to forgive? Again I will answer, it is my choice. No one is forcing me to forgive. There is no rule that says do or do not. And there is no time limit either. You forgive if you want and when you want. You forgive because you are ready to forgive. If you are not ready, do not force it. It is not time yet. You will know when it is time. If you allow the same person to hurt you again, that is not entirely their doing. You allowed it. And so you must take responsibility. You knew there was a possibility of history repeating itself, yet, you entered with eyes half open. Now it is time to deal with the consequences of your choice. By all means, do not punish yourself. Just do not rush yourself to deal with pain in a logical way. Let the pain take its time until it leads you to the next step of letting go.
I know deep down, forgiving is the right thing to do. It is the healthy choice for me in the end. I forgive so I can finally move forward. Otherwise I will be stuck for a while. And who is benefiting from this?  In the end, it is I who will suffer.  When the right moment comes, I will be able to say: “I Forgive you”, even if I do not tell the person in their face.

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