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On Forgiveness

Forgiving is one of the hardest things a troubled person can do for those who have wronged them. It is about letting go of the anger within you; the desire for vengeance, and just carrying on with your life, as you might try to ignore the hurtful impact of others.

It is like that because, life is filled with plenty of ungrateful, uncaring, and ignorant people, who wouldn't hesitate to make you suffer, as they themselves carry on with their lives, as if nothing happened at all.

The thought of seeing the wrongdoers, resuming their lives like nothing, and seeing them without suffering any consequences for hurting you -- that notion either belongs to the wise or to the cowardly.

The wise are practical and see little reason to carry the past along with them, when doing so is impractical and unhealthy. The cowardly, on the other hand, fear confrontation with their antagonists, and thus will let them hurt them, repeatedly, in the hope that they (the enemies) will finally leave them be.

Forgiveness is a decision that requires wisdom; in other words, it demands selectiveness, since forgiving the wrong people will only make them overlook you and your self-respect. They will thus treat you with shame and belittlement, all because they know you are too forgiving to pose a threat against them.

Schools have a very dumb philosophy when it comes to bullying and harassment. Just tell the teacher, and they'll take care of it, hopefully. I'm aware it's made to prevent violence, but the "real" world just doesn't work that way. There aren't cops on every street, unlike teachers in the courtyard, and thus you'll have to know when to make your antagonists leave you alone for good.

I guess the only reason I didn't get bullied much earlier as a kid and teen was because I was usually one of the tallest and widest people in the environment. The final two times it occurred at school were reluctantly solved through intimidation. Since then, people who once harassed me have left me alone. I could've gotten the teachers, but I felt too mature to do that any longer.

On the contrary, if I forgave them, they would continue to harass me, so what is the point, exactly, in forgiving everyone for everything they do to you? If you want to be strong, you must forgive only those who deserve it. Only those who will not undermine you, if you'll forgive them. Forgiveness can be abused.

Only those who appreciate being forgiven should be forgiven. If a child keeps disrespecting their parents, forgiving him or her anytime would only give "justification" for their actions, because an unpunished brat is a brat who is dedicated to their work and ignorant of their own self-respect.

The amount of forgiveness, therefore, is one that will not make people walk all over you but instead respect you more and hopefully feel bad for what they've done. Forgiveness, therefore, is all about the ego of the one who has been wronged.

Forgive too little, and people will resent you and see you as obsessive; forgive too much, and they won't care to make you, once again, the butt of their jokes. Practical forgiveness, therefore, lies in moderation and in the ability to raise awareness in the minds of the wrongdoers.

As an atheist, I am not inclined to believe that a divine entity literally forgives everyone for everything, as that contradicts the notion of heaven and hell. After all, sinners are not forgiven and thus are to be put in eternal damnation, while those who have been forgiven would be rewarded with eternal grace.

If we are to put such realities aside and believe in reincarnation, then, if divinity forgives everyone with infinite compassion, there would be no karma at all. A healthy balance of punishment and forgiveness is, after all, the key to justice. Punish too little, and people would believe they lack many moral, civilized obligations. Punish too much, and you'll be seen as a tyrant, especially if you're in a position of leadership.

Thus, you shouldn't be as excessive with your forgiveness as you shouldn't be with your punishment. Ultimately, justice is about delivering a message, keeping people in line, and having them respect you as either an equal or above.

There is a reason why I refuse to forgive Chen, my overreaching antagonist, for seeing me as irrelevant. I've worked hard on my writing, sacrificed my mental well-being for my country, and answered thousands of questions on a site where I used to be active. Yet, despite all of this, along with the love I used to have for her, she chose to see me as dispensable.

I don't expect a trophy; I just wish for recognition for trying to contribute to the world. I could've lived off taxpayer's money entirely. I refuse doing so anymore.

Seeing all the free work, time, and energy I give just to be seen as irrelevant is something I refuse to forgive, for that is against my conscience. Do you like being spit at for whatever honest desire you have? I do not. But to expect an apology from just about anyone is too unrealistic.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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