Some people will probably call Rihanna ‘troubled,’ or ‘broken,’ or ‘weak’ for forgiving her abusive ex, Chris Brown.
But there’s a better word for where she’s at: ‘healed.’
She suffered her wounds, and she put a five-year restraining order against Brown, but she’s stubbornly holding onto a nasty little trait called ‘compassion’ that so many people look at as a weakness nowadays.
In 2009, Chris Brown physically assaulted Rihanna before the Grammys. He pleaded guilty and served five years of probation. But that wasn’t the only price he paid.
He lost his partner, he lost a ton of fans, and he lost out on a chance to heal whatever hot mess was stewing inside of him.
For many people, that price was not enough.
In an episode of SuperSoul conversations, Rihanna explained that backlash:
I felt protective … I felt like the only person they hate right now is him. It was a weird, confusing space to be in because as angry as I was, as angry and hurt and betrayed … he made that mistake because he needed help.
Since her restraining order lifted, she said the two have tried to reconcile their past.
We’ve been working on our friendship again, and now we’re very, very close friends. We built up a trust again. We love each other, and we probably always will. That’s not anything we’re going to try and change. That’s something you cant shut off if you’ve ever been in love.
She emphasized their love several times, saying he was the love of her life and that she’ll always have feelings for him. Check out her process of letting go of her resentments:
And why wouldn’t she? She got to know the man intimately. She likely knows why he’s so hurt that he became physically abusive. She saw his full self. The rest of America did not, and they’re the ones with all the judgments.
Many people on Twitter are still wondering why Chris Brown is allowed to visibly exist.
Since his Rihanna incident, Brown hasn’t exactly been an angel. He’s lost control of his temper again, he’s gotten into more fights, and he’s been charged with several more crimes.
But let’s be honest, this isn’t really about Chris Brown and whether or not he ‘deserves’ to be canceled. It’s about Rihanna’s ability to move on.
While she clearly still loves Chris Brown, she’s not stuck in their dark past.
She’s not harboring resentment, and her wounds aren’t festering. She’s worked through her trauma, and she can understand how someone who witnessed abuse as a child, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder , and who was flung into the spotlight, could lose his grip.
That’s precisely why Rihanna was concerned.
Who’s going to help him? Nobody’s going to say he needs help. Everybody’s going to say he’s a monster without looking at the source. I was more concerned about him.
We love to ‘cancel’ our problems, we want everyone to be punished, but we don’t understand that people act out because they’ve been hurt. The more they act out, the worse they’ve likely been hurt.
And that doesn’t mean we should applaud the actions of people like Chris Brown or Chris D’Elia. We can even refuse to accept them into our lives. But let’s stop pretending we’re all so perfect that we can’t understand how they’ve strayed.
Our thirst for punishment is the result of our own pain. Instead of lashing out at the world, maybe it’s time to forgive ourselves.
Thanks, Rihanna, for the reminder.