Which is more difficult: asking for forgiveness or forgiving someone else?
I think they’re both tough, so let’s focus on me for a second while you ruminate.
It’s humbling to ask someone to forgive me because it requires a public admission of wrong that could have otherwise been swept under a rug somewhere and forgotten. I don’t like bringing something to someone’s attention if they didn’t know about it already. Even if they are fully aware that I’ve done something stupid, it’s still hard for me to suck it up, swallow my pride, and focus on that mistake, blunder, or vile action. I fear embarrassment, and would really enjoy being right all the time (even though I rarely am). What can I say? I have a ridiculous ego. Asking for forgiveness means doing the hard work to repair a broken trust and relationship. It means owning up to one’s darkest behaviors and thoughts. It’s difficult.
Granting forgiveness to someone else challenges another part of my me. I don’t often hold grudges, but when I have been deeply hurt, I tend to pick at the emotional scar until it bleeds all over again. I have the kind of mind that dwells on or over-thinks words others have spoken or ways I’ve been treated. And when I scratch those painful scars, they never get the chance to heal even if I know that letting them fade away would be best. As strange as this sounds, I must want to feel angry and hurt if I keep rehashing those old wounds over and over again. Forgiveness means letting go completely that need to over-think and dwell upon old pain. It means taking the biggest step towards letting go. It means moving on and giving freedom to the person who owes a debt to me. I’ll admit that sometimes being able to forgive is hard.
So what about you? Which do you think is the most difficult to do: asking or giving?