A core part of long-term consistent happiness is the concept and practice of forgiveness, a difficult thing for most people.
Not being able to forgive means that you will hold on to unhappiness for years, if not decades, and usually for little to no reason.
Since most people are incompetent, you are guaranteed to have people in your life screw up and do stupid, mean, rude, selfish shit to you. This means that forgiveness is a key skill you must learn and master if you desire the long-term, consistent happiness the Alpha Male 2.0 lifestyle has to offer.
In one of the core books I recommend, Maximum Achievement, Brian Tracy emphasizes the concept of forgiveness, and for good reason. He says,
To fulfill your potential, to develop your full mental capacities and to liberate your emotional and spiritual energies, you absolutely must forgive everyone who has ever hurt you in any way. You must “let go” and walk away from your anger and your resentment.
Yep. He’s right. Holding on to anger or resentment is one of the dumbest things you can do, even if the other person was 100% wrong and you were 100% right.
The problem with forgiveness is that it can imply, at least to some, that you’re acting like a beta male and are thus letting people walk all over you, or continually treat you with disrespect.
Today I will explain forgiveness from the Alpha Male point of view (specifically Alpha 2.0, of course) so that you can forgive while still retaining your Alpha status in your work, family, and social circles.
While forgiveness is required, forgiveness, in and of itself, is not enough. The beta male (and some higher-drama Alpha Male 1.0s) forgive and tolerate. Your job is to forgive and not tolerate.
In other words, forgiveness isn’t the problem. Tolerance of shitty behavior from others is.
Let’s say your mom is a total bitch. Obviously you love your mom because she’s your mom. But whenever you spend time with her she screams at you, criticizes you, berates you, and so on.
You need to forgive her while not tolerating this crap from her. You need to do both at the same time.
The beta male (and some higher-drama Alpha 1.0s) tolerates this crap and puts up with it. He still spends time with his mom on a regular basis despite the fact she verbally abuses him. Obviously, this is unacceptable if you want to be long-term happy. As I’ve said before, just because someone is your mom (or dad, or child, or girlfriend, or wife, or best friend, or whatever) doesn’t give that person the right to give you drama. No one has the right to give you drama. No one.
Since most humans are either women or beta males, putting up with bullshit from family members and other close people is a societal norm. It’s weak, pathetic, and destructive.
Another approach is when a man screams at his abusive mom, calls her a fucking bitch, swears to never talk to her again, then leaves, cuts off all contact, and then carries around a loadstone of resentment in his mind for years. I’ve known several people who have done this with people in their pasts. They don’t tolerate crap, which is good. But they never forgive, which is physiologically destructive.
You’ll notice that people like that will complain about their mothers (or ex-wives, or ex-best friends, or whatever) for years. They will even blame their current negative conditions on these people, even if they haven’t spoken to them in years. “I have trouble dating women because back when I was a teenager, my mom was a fucking bitch and blah blah blah excuse excuse excuse…”
Years ago, I was in a reasonably serious relationship with a woman who would occasionally bitch about her ex-husband. The problem was that the divorce was 13 years in the past. I get bitching about your ex if you’re currently going through a divorce, but 13 years later? She had not forgiven him, and she was paying the price for this, 13 years later.
Back when they were married, he had an affair, divorced her, and married his lover. He was still married to this woman 13 years later. The woman I was dating had a daughter and had to coordinate with both him and his wife on occasion. She actually had his wife’s name in her phone as “Home Wrecker.”
Again, she hadn’t forgiven him. Or the new wife. She should have. It doesn’t matter whose fault it was. If you want to be happy, you need to forgive.
(I also suspect she still had some feelings for him, since you can’t hate someone without having some love for that person on some level. I didn’t give a shit about my ex-wife and never talked about her, yet it had only been a few years since the divorce. I didn’t love my ex-wife anymore, so I didn’t hate her. I didn’t give a shit and had moved on.)
Therefore, the correct move, if long-term happiness is what you want, is to both forgive and not tolerate. You do both, not one or the other.
So in the case of your bitchy mom, you say to her (in a calm voice), “Mom, I love you, but I’m not going to spend any time with you if you can’t behave like a normal adult. Bye!”
Then you soft next your mom exactly as I describe in this article here about how to soft next problematic family members. Remember, a soft next is temporary. I’m not saying you never talk to your mom ever again. I am saying you don’t talk to your mom, spend any time with her, or go to any family events where she’ll be there for about a year or two.
During this nexting period, you forgive your mom. You can either forgive her internally, just between you and yourself, or you can forgive her externally, by sending her an email saying you forgive her. Either way, you completely forgive every bad thing she’s ever said to you, reminding yourself that one can only love others as much as one loves themselves. If she’s that abusive to you, she probably doesn’t love herself very much, and (perhaps) she’s doing the best she can. Don’t take it personally. Forgive her. Give her blanket amnesty. And then move on.
…and remember to maintain that soft next! Don’t be a pussy! Forgiveness does not mean you tolerate drama. Forgiveness means that while you’ve cut that person out of your life (temporarily or permanently) you release all the anger and resentment you feel towards that person, mentally love that person, and get on with your fantastic life and your Mission.
Who You Should Forgive (and Not Tolerate)
For most people, here is the list of people you need to forgive, listed in order.
1. Forgive your parents.
Look, your parents probably fucked up. Even if you had good parents (I did) they still probably fucked you up at least a little (mine did). It’s normal. Forgive them. While everything in your life is your fault, and this applies to your parents, they probably did the best they could under the conditions they created for themselves, the age they did it, and their personalities when they did it.
I say this as a man who, very stupidly, became a father at age 25. I was way, way too young. My kids will probably have to deal with some problems based on some of the stupid mistakes I made as a young kid trying to be a parent back then, just like I probably need to because of my parents (my mom being a former Catholic nun and my dad being a former hippie with a disturbed past), just like you probably need to based on your parents, and just like your kids (if you have any) might have to because of mistakes you made when they were little.
We’re all human, we’re all flawed, and that includes your parents. Regardless of the horrible things they did, forgive them, release that anger, and move on. You can’t be happy if you don’t do this.
2. Forgive your Ex (all of them)
Being angry about an ex is the stupidest thing in the universe. Do you know why? Because YOU are the one who dated (or married) the bitch. No one put a gun to your head. YOU did that of your own free will. So if you’re angry about your ex-wife or ex-girlfriend or ex-whomever, you’re just showing the world how stupid you are. You’re the one who was with that person. What does it demonstrate if you’re still angry at that person?
Long-time readers may have noticed that I’ve never said anything insulting or disparaging about my ex-wife that wasn’t a simple statement of fact. I did this on purpose. Bitching about your ex just makes you look bad because you were the one who dated (or married) that person.
Any time I see anyone (man or woman) bitch about an ex, my reaction is always the same: “Uh, you were a fucking dumbass for getting serious with that person.”
So forgive them. I don’t care what they did. Forgive them, release that anger, and move on. You can’t be happy if you don’t do this.
3. Anyone else who has wronged you in the past.
That partner who ripped you off. That ex-best friend who didn’t have your back. That brother who took advantage of you. Whomever it is, regardless of what they did, forgive them, release that anger, and move on. You can’t be happy if you don’t do this.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to soft next or even hard next anyone in your life who treats you like shit or wrongs you. Yes, forgive them. Don’t be mad. Don’t harbor anger. But don’t tolerate their crap either. Next their asses!
I am an absolute wizard at forgiving-and-soft-nexting people who wrong me. I gently kick them out of my life, forgive them completely, and get back to my amazing Alpha Male 2.0 lifestyle, loves, work, and Mission.
Learn to do the same. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.