You don’t owe anyone from your past conversation, reconciliation, or re-integration into your life.
Many of us have often heard the saying “Forgiveness is not for them, it’s for you.” Although this is true, the problem comes in with how this statement is delivered, and the dismissing and validating statements which often proceed and precede it. People are often told that they “shouldn’t hold a grudge,” and “it’s been long enough,” in order to shame, guilt, and rush them into making a choice that they didn’t want to make or weren’t ready to.
The truth is, forgiveness is for you. And that means that you get to decide when, how, or even if you’re ready to dole it out. When someone hurts or disrespects you, severs ties with you, etc., and then later decide that they want to come back into your life, you are now in charge of setting the terms for exactly if and how that’s going to happen. Another oft-forgotten truth is that forgiveness is not synonymous with a clean slate. Forgiving someone does not mean that you can or should forget, or that those who hurt you won’t or shouldn’t be held accountable. Those seeking forgiveness should fervently seek penance and lean into accountability, in whatever form it takes. We so often put the burden of forgiveness on the wounded, but in actuality, the work necessary to earn a sincerely sought-after forgiveness from whom were wronged is what we should be calling out for. Nobody should have so much entitlement as to do wrong and then say if, when, and how they should be forgiveness. In truth, that’s just more disrespect talking.