There has probably been a time when someone has said or done something that has hurt you. It could be a parent who constantly criticizes you, a child who is disrespectful, a spouse who had an affair or a complete stranger who has victimized you. These situations can leave you with many different feelings and emotions including anger, sadness and vengeance. You may even hear other people talk about your needing to forgive the person for whatever reason. Forgiveness is a very difficult thing to do and it honestly, can take a long time for you to be able to get to the place where you can forgive whoever.

Often, people hold on to these feelings for months and even years. By holding on to this, you are hurting yourself more than the other person. I will even go a step further and say that by allowing the anger and emotions to keep a hold of your life, you are actively saying, “I give you control of me.” What a release it would be to take that control back. It takes more energy and is very stressful and hurtful to you to keep this. Studies have shown that forgiving can be healthy for both your mind and body. Can you imagine getting rid of symptoms of pain, depression and anxiety just by forgiving?

Some may not want to forgive because they think it means that you have to forget…ABSOLUTLY NOT! Forgiveness does not mean that you say it’s okay that you hurt me, it’s okay to keep hurting me or that you pretend the situation never happened. It means to release yourself from the hold.

So, what is forgiveness? When talking about releasing pain and negativity, forgiveness always comes up. When asked the question of what forgiveness means, most people just can’t define it. Forgiveness means different things to different people and therefore, there is no real definition. Forgiveness can lessen its hold on your life and help you gain insights into more positive aspects in your life. In order to find it for ourselves, we must process what it is that we need to forgive.


So, how can we start to forgive?

  • Try to understand the other viewpoint of what happened
  • Acknowledge your true feelings and emotions about the situation
  • Express those feelings and emotions in a healthy way
  • Prevent further hurt by setting boundaries
  • Forgive yourself for any role you may have played in the situation