When we struggle to heal hurt caused by a relationship with someone we sooner or later will encounter the friend, guide or guru who tells us that we will only be at peace if we forgive that person. It sounds simple when put in words, but what they fail to mention is that forgiveness is the natural result of a deep, long and difficult inner work that leads to integrating all of the shadows that were triggered in that relationship and that led us to hurt. This is no easy task. Sometimes after a long period of deep work, when we think we have finally overcome it all, a new event triggers a shadow we overlooked and we are back in hatred again.
So what is this obsession with forgiving people then? I believe it stems not from a genuine desire to heal and to overcome the difficult experiences, but rather as a cope out strategy for the other person to not take any consequences or responsibility for their actions. It is a way for the other person to escape the healing process so that they don't have to face the shadows that they themselves have in association with the relationship. Once forgiven, they can go on as if nothing happened, or so they may think.
In truth karma spares absolutely no one. Any action that we take that hurts other people - weather we acknowledge it or not, weather we take responsibility for it or not, is part of our path and will lead us inevitably to the result that that kind of path leads, unless we grow and thus change paths.
In Nepal I heard the story of a very rich old man who had always been very goal oriented, and never cared to connect with people at an empathic level during his life, nor to reflect on himself, and therefore never truly felt for anyone. At around 80 years of age he was completely alone. His wife had divorced him, his children no longer spoke to him, his former lovers had left him. He had a lot of money and had absolutely no idea what to do with it. My Nepalese friend advised him to give it to charity, and so he did, probably in one last desperate attempt to form some kind of human connection.
Honestly I think some people never learn. I know for a fact that many people reach their death bed without having ever experienced the depth of true and complete intimacy with another, or the joy of feeling another human being or the awareness that comes with fully knowing oneself. According to new age philosophy such people will come back again and again leading the same kind of empty lives until they learn. I have a different theory. I believe such people come to this earth with the sole purpose of triggering and thus forcing other people to grow. Indeed if it hadn't been for the very unconscious people I have met in my past - including some of my former boyfriends - I wouldn't have had the incentive to grow as fast as I did. After I got all of the lessons I was supposed to get from them, and integrated all the shadows they triggered, I had absolutely no more interest in them whatsoever. I don't see any use in having a relation with a person who is not capable of empathy, introspection, authenticity at any level. So I just let them go. And this by the way, is what to me feels as true forgiveness.