The line between being forgiving and being too forgiving is such a hard one for me to define.
I feel like I have fairly high expectations of people. I do my part, and I expect others to do theirs. I take care of people, and I expect them to take care of me.
Yet, I see myself accepting treatment that is not as good as what I deserve, not as good as the treatment I give others. And I often see myself brushing this off, not demanding better, cutting slack where I should be calling out, settling for less than I should, allowing myself to be walked on and taken for granted. Of course, this clarity generally only comes in hindsight; in the moment, I don’t realize I’m being treated badly, and I let it slide, convince myself it’s okay, acceptable. I rarely demand better.
There are instances in which I do get frustrated, do feel angry that I’m not being appreciated or cared for — but those times don’t last long. I end up feeling guilty for not being forgiving enough, for holding people to high standards, for expecting too much. And it continues.
And then, there’s the problem of focusing on the people with whom I’m frustrated, while not acknowledging or appreciating the people who do care for me, love me, look after me — despite the fact that the latter far outnumber the former.
It comes from a lack of agency on my part, to demand to be treated well and to recognize and appreciate when it happens. Perhaps it’s because on some level, I feel that I don’t really deserve it. I feel awkward when someone’s attention is focused on me. I don’t want to inconvenience someone by telling them I need them, their help, their love. Or I’m afraid that if I do receive that attention, it will only be fleeting and I’ll be left feeling hurt.
I want to see better the line between forgiveness and agency. I want to have more confidence in knowing the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. I want to stand up for myself when I need to stand up, and be able to be cared for when I need to be cared for. I want to appreciate more the incredible people I am blessed to have in my life and dwell less on the ones who don’t meet my expectations. I want to freely offer and freely accept the love, patience, and grace that comes from God.
“Oh, I do believe in all the things you say; what comes is better than what came before.” -Lou Reed