Point of View: Gen Y: It’s time to grow up and learn to forgive

By Wakeelah Crutison
Copy Editor

There is an issue I feel needs addressing, and that is our generation’s display of immaturity.

I do not excuse myself from this accusation — my immaturity has shown itself via my attitues toward social media. In the beginning, for example, I refused to join Twitter on principle.

I’d heard many people say “Twitter is awesome and I’m awesome because I use Twitter.” Well, I probably haven’t heard those words verbatim, but that was the sentiment, so I automatically dubbed it “lame” and predicted people would eventually lose interest. I was wrong. There is no word to describe the epic level of wrongness I had reached.

But I realized that my behavior was immature, and that I should at least try it out before I passed judgment.

Recently I’ve been using Twitter (mainly to partake in celebrity gossip, but who doesn’t?). I’ve discovered that Twitter is actually tolerable (more so than Facebook, but that’s another story) and I had been missing out due to some misplaced act of rebellion.

Immaturity does not just lead to misguided predictions of the future. It can tarnish your reputation. Just ask Chris Brown. Now I’m know people have beat the topic of Chris Brown’s “Good Morning America” tantrum into the ground, but I think it proves my point.

During my recent foray into Twitter, I came across a Huffington Post article on “The Real Reason Why Everybody Hates Chris…Brown” written by Kelli Goff.

She wrote that “we don’t hate him because he beat a woman (although the seeds of discontent were certainly planted then). We dislike him because he seems utterly incapable of showing any true remorse for ‘what happened.’ (Which for the record is how he has, for the most part, described his assault of Rihanna.)’ His behavior has made him the poster child for the ‘I’m sorry, but not really’ era.”

I totally agree. This is just one example of how our generation is sorely lacking in the accountability department. When something goes wrong, people tend to shift blame, change the subject or offer a non-apology.

They don’t own up to their mistakes, don’t admit they did anything wrong and don’t show any remorse or sincere attempt to rectify the damage, but instead expect to be let off the hook.

“When someone says without equivocation, ‘I’m genuinely sorry,’ no excuses, no blaming anyone else, but ‘I did it, now just tell me how I can make it right,’ it’s the equivalent of letting the air out of the tires of the other person’s anger, and opening a pathway to healing and forgiveness,” Goff wrote.

That’s true. But not many people are inclined to easily forgive. The very practice of forgiveness is foreign to us and holding a grudge is practically a sixth sense. Forgiveness goes against this seemingly innate sense of fairness people have. People can’t get over the playground ‘hit me and I’ll hit you back’ mentality.

Instead of forgiveness, we automatically resort to pettiness, resentment, vengeance., especially if the other person fails to show any remorse.

While not accepting accountability is immature, holding grudges is too. Forgiveness is not solely contingent on contrition. You are allowed to forgive someone even if they’re not sorry. Forgiveness is more for the victim than it is for the aggressor.

Sure it may feel good to think that the person who hurt you is feeling an equal amount of pain. But think how much better you’d feel if you didn’t have to worry about who you’re not speaking to and why. Or imagine how much more time you’d have if you weren’t wasting it by plotting revenge.

A Harvard study showed that forgiveness has both physical and psychological benefits by reducing stress and increasing happiness.

Forgiving doesn’t excuse the injuries that a person caused. It does not erase accountability nor does it rebuild trust. It is simply letting go of resentment.

I have been known to hold a grudge with the best of them and I admit I do possess a mental ‘you’re dead to me’ list.

I still remember the tattle-tale from kindergarten who got me in trouble for throwing a toy at her (for the record, I was aiming for the toy box and the incident is the only blemish on my delinquency-free academic career.)

But if someone irritates and/or offends me, I do my best to let it go and embrace my adopted motto of “it’s cool.” It works (for the most part.)

I know it’s been said many times but it’s cliché-ness doesn’t negate it’s truth: life is short – too short to carry the emotional load that grudge holding entails. People shouldn’t be walking around full of anger and spite and resentment.

People need to own up to their mistakes and should respect people who do. I’m not saying it will be instantaneous, or easy, or fun.

Learning to accept responsibility for the things we’ve done and learning to forgive are a big part of what it means to be grown up.

Wakeelah Crutison is a senior journalism major from Arlington and a copy editor for the Lariat.