How to Forgive Someone

forgive someoneTo forgive someone is hard. It takes an enormous amount of strength to let hurt just roll off the shoulders and observe it with a neutral eye. Many might argue on the flip side that to hold onto that hurt would take even more strength over time.

Let’s take a look at the act of forgiving with this pivotal moment in The Dance.

Jacky placed a pink carnation on her stone. She loved pink carnations. “I hope you can forgive me, too,” she said, then walked away down the path she had traveled so many times before that, on her way toward freedom.

In this passage, Jacky frees herself from a lifetime of regret, hurt and anger by offering forgiveness to the one person in the world she had trusted more than herself. The path to get to this point was long, winding and seemingly unforgiving in and of itself. But the pain of holding onto the hurt did nothing to lift her into a healthy space. She owed it to herself to forgive her wife. You see she understood that we forgive not to approve the bad actions of others, but to say to ourselves, you deserve the freedom to move forward from this hurt, so it’s time to let it go.

When we learn to let go, we are capable of bringing so much joy into our lives and the lives of those we love.

So, how does one get to this point of forgiveness when she’s been slashed by the actions of someone else? Where does one start when the anger is so deeply embedded in the heart?

There is a flow in life that protects us from the rigidity of imposed control. This flow is life affirming and capable of bringing out the hidden gems that reside in us all. We must be willing to let go to access it, though. In that tight policing of labor within a grip, we create a stop-loss of sorts that derails and confines us. The more sustainable choice is to choose to live in freedom, where we open the spigot to self-love and allow for its fluidity to embrace our hurt hearts. To live in peace requires a certain trust in the universe, one that gently reminds us that once we let go of bitterness, a balance within will be restored. This balance will allow for freedom to take over and create our lift out of the darkness and into renewed light. Embrace the whisper brushing softly up against the heart, the one reminding us that we let go not to appease opposition, but to restore flow and release ourselves from the burden of their captivity.

To Forgive Someone is Not to Condone 

We forgive to free ourselves. Period.

Forgiving someone for their horrible actions doesn’t mean we are accepting them as okay. Absolutely not! They hurt us. In no universe is this acceptable. We are in no way justifying the wrong they’ve caused. That being said, we can forgive people without condoning the act.

We forgive to bring peace back into our lives. We are simply not making their problem ours anymore.

To Forgive Someone Offers Many Benefits 

We owe it to ourselves and those we love to heal our broken, hurt hearts. Take a look at how powerful an impact forgiveness has on us: forgive someone 1

  • We enjoy healthier relationships
  • Our minds and hearts are open to greater well-being
  • We are not bogged down by extreme amounts of anxiety, stress and anger
  • Our blood can pump through our veins as it should, with even keel blood pressure
  • We experience greater joy, relieved of depressing triggers
  • Our immune system can work at peak capacity
  • Our hearts are healthier
  • We have a greater outlook on life, therefore offering us a higher self-esteem
  • Bring happiness to new relationships and experiences
  • More able to enjoy the present moment
  • Embrace a life full of purposes, defined on your terms
  • Connect richly with others

How to Forgive Someone

  • Be patient with yourself and realize that forgiveness is a process that takes time. Some can let go in a matter of minutes, others may take years. It must come from within and on your time for it to be genuine and offer you the freedom you deserve.
  • When you’re ready, and this is critical and something only you will be able to gauge, make a conscientious decision to forgive the person who’s offended you
  • Think of yourself as having full control over yourself as opposed to viewing yourself as a victim, controlled by the actions of others.
  • Journal to yourself, releasing your fears, anger, and resentments in the words you choose to write.
  • Indulge in guided meditations that help you relax and view the hurt through a lens that serves you not the offender. This will reduce your stress and cause the anger to dissipate.
  • Make a gratitude list of everything that is good in your life. Continue this process to remind yourself often of the gifts you do have so you can take the focus off what you don’t.
  • Keep in mind that, just like no one should have control over our feelings and actions, so too we do not have control over someone else’s. We can’t change a person. We are not forgiving her in the hopes of changing her. We are forgiving her to change ourselves, so we can enjoy a life full of promise, love, healing, and happiness.
  • We forgive to take the power back from someone who has no right in controlling it for us.

If You Can’t Forgive Someone

Be gentle with yourself as you contemplate forgiveness. Some people cannot forgive. And that is okay, and doesn’t make you a weak person in any way. There are times when just knowing the decision is yours, and yours alone, offers a huge relief and actually creates a power that serves you well.

The important and empowering takeaway is that forgiveness is your choice. When you make something your choice, the power is back in your favor. You are no longer a victim. You can decide not to forgive, but not to be bitter. When we learn to drop the bitterness, we open ourselves up to moving on with a lighter heart and a sense of empowerment that will serve us well.

Wishing you the very best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

4 replies
  1. Amy Berger
    Amy Berger says:

    Wonderful. You’ve covered it all with your usual eloquence.

    Acceptance: All this anger is coming from the fact that I hurt.

    Forgiveness: I forgive mostly to heal myself, not to heal someone else. And forgiving doesn’t mean I have to forget, but it does mean I can learn how to set healthy boundaries. If boundaries are not respected, I may understand what is and is not under my control. There is only frustration when I try to control something that is not under my control.

    Boundaries: Learning to set them for myself and respecting those set by someone else is the best way to take back/retain my power. This also helps me to understand when I need to take responsibility for my own behavior.

    Conclusion: I can love, and be loved, even though I have hurt, and have been hurt.

    Again, Suzie. Beautiful. Very beautiful.

  2. Carol Viele
    Carol Viele says:

    What if the frustration is because I have forgiven myself…and I don’t hurt…I was involved for years with what I believe to be a sociopath/narcissist…I ran for awhile…but, now I am back to find my reputation ruined…I forgive and have no anger…but, I am a strong person…I am a mush in a relationship…but, God gave me unbelievable strength to stand and tell the truth…I find peace in telling the truth….I find more strength in telling the truth…I feel nothing but disgust for her and gratitude for this lesson…now, for the first time in my life all the pieces fit together….I would love to write a book…Please comment on my stage in the forgiveness process…

    • Suzie Carr
      Suzie Carr says:

      There is tremendous courage in what you’ve said here, and I am grateful that you feel safe and welcomed to share. I am sorry for all you’ve been through. It sounds like a tough road Carol. I am a firm believer that tough roads make us flexible, strong and more resilient to anything life throws in our path. Your past has shaped you into a beautiful person, from what I am reading here, and I see that as a gift to all who are in your life. You have moved past the anger and are able to be grateful. That is HUGE! Continue to embrace the good, focusing in on it as the treasure it is, Carol. With love in your heart, you can only go forward and up from where you are. Stay strong and smile knowing you are worthy of all the greatness this life has to offer.


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