It is the end of the year, and I have been musing on forgiveness. In general, I find it a totally bullshit concept–one that people widely tout but rarely practice. And that’s too bad. As I said to a friend today, when a person claims forgiveness that they do not really feel (as is so often the case), their declaration shuts a door with a finality that open resentment never could. I frankly do not see the point of extending forgiveness to a person who is not requesting it, anyway; such a pardon is a condescension, even a self-abnegation. True forgiveness is a contract between two beings who are spiritually progressing by mutually transcending their comfort zones: by courageously addressing their culpability; by honoring active vulnerability with grace. That said, in the absence of such hard-won peace, I see the point in releasing anger and acknowledging the beauty that lives in even the most harmful individuals. Such a fearless act, especially when unaccompanied by codependence, is one of the finest ways we can love people, including ourselves, at their most unlovable.