It may seem difficult to forgive someone who has let us down. However, before we get lost in a haze of anger and indignation over the perceived let-down, it might be a good idea to look within to understand our own role in the issue.
Could I Be to Blame, At Least in Part?
No one likes to feel let down, but it is important to look within to see where the source of these feelings may be coming from. You might think this is an odd thing to do. “The feelings are coming from the person who let me down, of course,” we hear you say.
The trouble with this is that it makes you into a helpless victim of the actions, or inactions, of others. They do or don’t do what you expect, and you feel let down and disappointed.
The phrase to “let someone down” implies there was an expectation that was not met. Let’s imagine a few common situations so we can get a better grasp of what might be going on.
For example, imagine your romantic partner agreed to meet you for dinner at your favorite restaurant, then canceled at the last minute. The first thing to consider is whether or not it was unavoidable. Do they have to work late, did their car break down, and so on? In these instances, it is disappointing, of course, but not something the other person should be blamed for.
“If they really cared about me, they would…”. What if you were expecting a fuss for your birthday, such as a romantic dinner for two and a nice gift? Most people do give gifts to each other for birthdays, so that is not an unreasonable expectation. But what about the romantic aspect of it? For some people, a candlelit dinner is enough. For others, it should be no expense spared, with champagne, plus a nice gift at the end of the lavish meal.
The trouble is that most people are not mind readers. They might think pizza with a bottle of wine and a movie is the perfect way to celebrate your birthday. They did make an effort, and as the phrase goes, it’s the thought that counts.
Giving Up on Notions of Perfection
People are not perfect. Nor are birthdays, meals, gifts and so on – except in the eye of the beholder. If we expect things to be “perfect” all the time, we are going to be let down a lot of the time. If on the other hand we cultivate an attitude of gratitude and are happy that the other people in our lives are doing their best, we will feel a lot more appreciative and a lot less disappointed.
Feeling less disappointed means that you won’t feel let down so often, and that means you will have a great deal less to forgive.
When Is Forgiveness Required?
If you offer unconditional love without expectations, then forgiveness and deciding whether or not to forgive someone isn’t really a question that will ever arise.
If you are 100% certain that they have deliberatly set out to hurt you, then you might need to consider it. Remember, you are in the driver’s seat – not the other person. Living a life of honesty and integrity will allow you to love without expectations because you understand that everyone makes their own choices for various reasons which often have nothing to do with you.
Be honest when your feelings are hurt, but don’t fly off the handle just because you were expecting one thing and got another.
Is it possible to forgive people when they let us down? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.