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Forgiveness. . . What's it for?
We Get LoveNotes:
"After reading your take on forgiveness, I must come and thank you. I have had a very trying week, full of
discovering different levels of deception, my mind, and heart, have been so consumed with these 'things' that have
happened, that I haven't been able to think clearly or even have a moment of peace. I have been battling it
out in my mind, whether I forgive this person, or simply move on and remain bitter towards what they have done to me.
After reading what you wrote, I wanted to let you know that I deeply appreciate what you have to say and thank you for giving me peace of mind."
Name withheld by request
Forgiveness works! It is often difficult, AND it works!
- LoveNote. . . If we
really want to love, we must learn how to forgive. - Mother Theresa
We often think of forgiveness as something that someone who has done us wrong
must ask of US. There is always another way of looking at something. My
thoughts on forgiveness suggest that you focus on offering forgiveness TO the
person who has wronged you. To not forgive them is like taking the poison
(continuing to suffer for what they did or didn't do to you) and expecting THEM
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."
Lewis B. Smedes
Alexander Pope once said, "To err is human; to forgive, Divine." Believe it!
Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It is not something you do FOR
someone else. It is not complicated. It is simple. Simply identify the
situation to be forgiven and ask yourself: "Am I willing to waste my energy
further on this matter?" If the answer is "No," then that's it! All is
Forgiveness is an act of the imagination. It dares you to imagine a better
future, one that is based on the blessed possibility that your hurt will not be
the final word on the matter. It challenges you to give up your destructive
thoughts about the situation and to believe in the possibility of a better
future. It builds confidence that you can survive the pain and grow from it.
Telling someone is a bonus! It is not necessary for forgiveness to begin the
process that heals the hurt. Forgiveness has little or nothing to do with
another person because forgiveness is an internal matter.
Choice is always present in forgiveness. You do not have to forgive AND there
are consequences. Refusing to forgive by holding on to the anger, resentment and
a sense of betrayal can make your own life miserable. A vindictive mind-set
creates bitterness and lets the betrayer claim one more victim.
There is nothing so bad that cannot be forgiven. Nothing!
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
Some will argue that in the case of child abuse, the Holocaust, Saddam Hussain, 9-11, etc,
the abuser has no "right" to forgiveness -- such blessings can only be earned -- that forgiveness
only leads to further victimization. Such acts are heinous and dispicable and with
time (and in many cases, therapy and coaching) they can be forgiven. Every day you may have to
The greatest misconception about forgiveness is the belief that forgiving the offense, such as an affair,
means that you condone it. Not true. In fact, we can only forgive what we know to be wrong.
Forgiveness does not mean that you have to reconcile with someone who badly treated you.
Another misconception is that it depends on whether the person who did you wrong apologizes, wants you back,
or changes his or her ways. If another person's poor behavior were the primary determinant for your healing then the unkind
and selfish people in your life would retain power over you indefinitely. Forgiveness is the experience of finding
peace inside and can neither be compelled nor stopped by another.
I believe that to withhold forgiveness is to choose to continue to remain
the victim. Remember, you always have choice.
When you forgive you do it for you, not for the other. The person you have never
forgiven. . . owns you! How about an affair? Just because you choose to forgive, does
not mean you have to stay in the relationship. That is only and always your choice. The
choice to forgive is only and always yours.
When you feel that forgiveness is necessary, do not forgive for "their" sake.
Do it for yourself! It would be great if they would come to you and ask forgiveness
but you must accept the fact that some people will never do that. That is their
choice. They do not NEED to be forgiven. They did what they did and that is it -
except for the consequences, which THEY must live with.
The hurts won't heal until you forgive! Recovery from wrongdoing that produces
genuine forgiveness takes time. For some, it may take years. Don't rush it.
Constantly reliving your wounded feelings gives the person who caused you pain power over you.
Instead of mentally replaying your hurt, it helps to focus your energy on the
healing, not the hurt!
"Forgiveness will not be possible until compassion is born in your heart."
Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master
Compassion is one of the key ingredients of forgiveness. Learn to look for and appreciate the love, beauty and kindness around you. It's there,
and you may have to change your thinking and behavior to discover it. To have compassion for others, you must first have compassion for yourself.
HEALTHY love relationships are not possible without forgiveness! You cannot have
a loving and rewarding relationship with anyone else, much less yourself, if you
continue to hold on to things that happened in the past. Regardless of the
situation, making peace with past love partners, your parents, children, your
boss or anyone who you think may have "done you wrong" is the only way to improve
your chances of a "healthy" relationship with yourself or anyone else for that
It is not possible to truly be present and available to a new relationship until
you heal the hurt and upsets of the past.
Forgiving someone else is to agree within yourself to overlook the wrong they
have committed against you and to move on with your life. It's the only way. It
means cutting them some slack.
"What?" you say! "Cut them some slack after what THEY did to me? Never!" Let
go! Move on!
Non-forgiveness keeps you in the struggle. Being willing to forgive can bring a
sense of peace and well-being. It lifts anxiety and delivers you from
depression. It can enhance your self-esteem and give you hope.
Forgive and forget is a myth.
- LoveNote. . . The things
that two people in love do to each other they remember. And if they stay
together, it is not because they forget, it is because they forgive. - From the
movie, Indecent Proposal
"Forgiveness allows us to let go of the pain in the memory and if we let go of the pain in the memory
we can have the memory but it does not control us. When memory controls us we are then the
puppets of the past."
Alexandra Asseily, author of "The Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut"
Forgiveness is a journey. You may never forget AND you can choose to
forgive. You can forgive and tomorrow you may feel the pain all over again. As life goes on and you choose to remember and feel the pain, then is the time to once again
remember that you have already forgiven. Mentally forgive again if necessary,
then move forward. When we allow it, time can dull the vividness of the memory
of the hurt; the memory will eventually fade.
Always remember that you are human. Sometimes people do and say hurtful things. It is
important to focus on what you have done to learn from the experience.
"In this life. . . we are unable to forget whatever remains unforgiven. So, if we won't let go of some pain - whose time has now past -
then who is to blame for the weight of this burden still being carried on our back?"
Forgiveness is a creative act that changes us from prisoners of the past to
liberated people at peace with our memories. It is not forgetfulness, but it
involves accepting the promise that the future can be more than dwelling on
memories of past injury.
There is no future in the past. You can never live in the present and create a
new and exciting future for yourself and your love partner if you always stay
stuck in the past.
Begin again! It is truly impossible to start new and to make clear, healthy, life giving choices
until we have let go of past hurts, confusion and resentments. Old wounds have a drawing
power and pull our attention to them over and over, taking energy and hope from us,
preventing us from starting again. Old wounds raise fearful spectres of the same
thing happening again in the future. For this reason it is so important to spend
time understanding the true nature of forgiveness, and what it really entails.
To forgive means to "give up", to let go. It also means to restore oneself to basic
goodness and health. When we forgive, we are willing to give up resentment, revenge
and obsession. We are willing to restore faith not only in ourselves, but in life
itself. The inability or unwillingness to do this, causes harm in the one who is
holding onto the anger.
"The only upside of anger is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they
are not afraid of the journey. Someone that knows that the truth, is at best, a partially told story. That anger,
like growth, comes in spurts and sits and in it's wake leaves a new chance of acceptance and the promise of calm."
From the movie,
"The Upside of Anger"
Kevin Coster and Joan Allen
If you are at war with others you cannot be at peace with yourself. You CAN let
go. . . and forgive! It takes no strength to let go. . . only courage. Life
either expands or contracts in direct proportion to your courage to forgive. Your
choice to forgive or not to forgive either moves you closer to what you desire or
further away from it. There is no middle ground. Change is constant.
Want peace of mind? Forgive. The same energy you use to hold on (to not
forgive), is the same energy you need to create a new and exciting relationship
TOGETHER; a relationship anchored in unconditional love.
Forgiveness is the most important single process that brings peace to our soul and harmony to our life.
All of us, at some point in our lives, have been hurt and wounded by the actions or words of another. Sometimes
the grievances have been so great we thought, "no way, this I cannot forgive!" Resentment and hostility can run
so deep that forgiveness becomes very difficult. We feel we have a right to our indignation!
However, living from resentment takes so much effort. It creates a tremendous void in and around us. All
the toxic feelings of hatred and resentment stay bottled up inside and eventually seep into all the areas of
our life with the result that we become bitter, angry, unhappy and frustrated. And so, living from forgiveness
becomes a necessity. Not that this is easy; it isn't. But we cannot keep ourselves in the flow of good if we hold
another in unforgiveness.
"Forgiveness is essential to all relationships. But it is not unconditional. It comes with the tacit understanding that if the hurtful behavior
happens too many times, forgiveness is revoked and the relationship will end. Always avoid doing those things for which an apology and forgiveness are required."
Shela Dean, Author of "Frequent Foreplay Miles"
Forgiveness is not something we have to do, but something we must allow to flow through us. When we
step away from the consciousness of our human nature, and allow the divine or God's grace to express through
us, to forgive through us, we can at that point, feel the radiant and warm rays of the flow of divine love
dissolving all hurt, all bitterness, all sense of injustice. We become aware that we are free and we can project
that love outward into our world.
Forgiveness helps you move forward. No one benefits from forgiveness more than
the one who forgives!
Give yourself the gift of forgiveness. The very word forgiveness is built on the
root word give. Forgiveness releases your partner from your criticism and also
releases you from being imprisoned by your own negative judgments. It is not
surrender, but a conscious decision to cease to harbor resentment. In affect, it
takes the poison our of your body. It cleanses your system of the poison that
will surely fester and cause illness and continued misery if not released. You
cannot take the poison and expect someone else to die. They will go on with
their life and you will be the only one to continue to suffer.
- LoveNote. . . You know
you have forgiven someone when he or she has harmless passage through your mind. - Rev. Karyl Huntley
Forgiveness is the key to your own happiness. Forgiving someone else takes moral
courage. It ends the illusion of separation, and its power can change misery
into happiness in an instant. Forgiveness means choosing to let go, move on, and
favor the positive.
Forgiveness is a form of love within the context of a personal crisis. To
forgive is, in a sense, to love one's enemy. When forgiveness is given because
you think you should, it no longer is forgiveness but an act of self-
"There are those who will tell you why it is wise to never forget the pain of the past. . . but if you look closely
at the anger, sorrow, and bitterness that has hardened their faces, then you will also see why learning to forgive is the better of the two paths."
The act of forgiveness constitutes a mental bath, letting go of something that can only poison us within.
Robert Enright, a developmental psychologist at the University of Wisconsin
defines forgiveness as "giving up the resentment to which you are entitled and
offering to the person who hurt you friendlier attitudes to which they are not
Mona Gustafson Affinito says, "Forgiveness means deciding not to punish a perceived
injustice, taking action on that decision, and experiencing the emotional relief that follows."
It is important to recognize that your distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and
physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you five minutes ago or five years ago.
Research has shown that people who are deeply and unjustly hurt by
others can heal emotionally and, in some cases, physically by forgiving their
Forgiveness breaks the cycle of hatred, resentment, anger and pain that is often passed on to those around you. Forgiveness helps you make peace with your past.
Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge. The only people you should ever want to get even with are those who have helped you.
Forgiveness. What it's for? It creates the freedom to create a new future beginning now!
"After forgiveness, comes love. In your heart and spirit you are a beautiful person - is there anything so unforgivable that should keep you
connected in an emotional bondage to person or condition? Standing here on the edge of enlightenment, you can choose to play small and
remain where you are or you can dive into the heart of love and experience a life more beautiful than you've ever known."
Researchers and academics may have an answer for those who do not believe that the act of forgiveness
is good for the soul. Scientists have gotten interested in the health benefits of forgiveness. Their studies have
shown the serious mental, emotional and physical consequences of an unforgiving heart.
In some studies, forgiveness has been linked to a lessening of chronic back pain and depression;
in others to reduce levels of stress hormones. Scientist have also found that forgiveness is one of
several coping mechanisms that help people with
HIV/AIDS live longer, or at least more satisfying lives.
"It takes much more courage, strength of character, and inner conviction to forgive than it does to hang on to low-energy feelings."
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Prayer for Forgiveness. . .
#1 - Living, loving Spirit, let me practice forgiveness today by starting with the little hurts. I will let go of all the everyday occurrences that do
not go the way I want, and the moment I begin to feel the familiar feeling of anger or resentment, I will practice forgiveness by invoking your loving and
peaceful Presence and allowing divine grace to surround me. And so it is.
#2 - Living, loving Presence, I enter this moment of silence and consciously make the decision to unburden and detach myself from the painful memories
of the past. I release to you everything that holds me back from my spiritual journey. I feel your power working in and through me in forgiving and letting
go all that needs to be forgiven and released. And so it is.
- LoveNote. . . One
pardons to the degree that one loves. - Francios De La Rochefoucauld
- LoveNote. . . Our capacity to make peace with another
person and with the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves. - Thich Nhat Hanh
- LoveNote. . . Love is an
act of endless forgiveness. - Peter Ustinov
- LoveNote. . . "Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back!" ~ Anne Lamott
- LoveNote. . . Genuine
forgiveness is participation, reunion overcoming the powers of estrangement. . .
We cannot love unless we have accepted forgiveness, and the deeper our experience
of forgiveness is, the greater is our love. - Paul Tillich
- LoveNote. . . To forgive
is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold
peace and happiness. - Robert Muller
- LoveNote. . . The practice of forgiveness is a way by which we achieve inner peace...
and, by definition means letting go of the past and therefore is the gateway to the future. - Mack Newton
- LoveNote. . . You know
you have forgiven someone when he or she has harmless passage through your mind. -
Rev. Karyl Huntley
- LoveNote. . . Forgiveness is the fragrance
the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. - Mark Twain
- LoveNote. . . Always forgive your enemies -
nothing annoys them so much. - Oscar Wilde
- LoveNote. . . "When you forgive, you essentially undo the ability to blame." When you stop blaming
yourself, you start to like yourself and you're much more fun to be around. You get your power back over your life. That is the power of
forgiveness. - Eldon Taylor
- LoveNote. . . There is no revenge so
complete as forgiveness. - Josh Billings
- LoveNote. . . The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. - Mahatma Gandhi
- LoveNote. . . When you hold resentment
toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that
is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get
free. - Catherine Ponder
- LoveNote. . . One of the most lasting
pleasures you can experience is the feeling that comes over you when you genuinely
forgive an enemy - whether he know about it or not. - A. Battista
- LoveNote. . . Forgiveness
is the release of all hope for a better past. - Alexa Young
- LoveNote. . . Asking for forgiveness and forgiving others is a complicated process that inovlves our deepest empathy,
humanity and wisdom. Historically we have found that without forgiveness there can be no lasting love; no change, no growth, no real freedom. It is important,
then, for those who care about lasting relationshps to better understand the dynamics of forgiveness. - Leo Buscaglia
- LoveNote. . . Without forgiveness life is
governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. - Roberto Assagioli
- LoveNote. . . "The only way to learn forgiveness is to be betrayed. You might understand the intellectual
concept of forgiveness, but you will only learn how to truly forgive when someone has done something that requires you to love them and let it go.
Life demands these hurtful experiences for you to learn how forgiveness feels, it could be no other way. If there is anyone in your life that you must
forgive, instead of seeing them as someone who has hurt you, try to see them as someone who was sent to teach you forgiveness and thank them for
this precious gift then forgive them, and let it go." - Jackson Kiddard
- LoveNote. . . As long as you are blaming anyone else for anything,
you are giving away your power and creating more negative effects in your life. This is the secret behind
the Hawaiian practice of ho'oponopono, popularized by Joe Vitale in his book,
"I read "Forgiveness... What is it for?" I had many of the misconceptions mentioned. I didn't like the person I was becoming when a relationship of mine ended.
I felt a true HATE for him, but I had never been that way. The heartbreak was bad enough, but the thoughts of being wronged worsened because I did not
forgive. I was finally able to after what I learned from the article.
I experienced peace and a happiness I can not describe. I carried all these bad
thoughts for months, then in May, I learned to forgive. Now that person who I thought was my enemy for life is my best friend and I wish him all the
happiness in the world. I just felt like I had to let you know because it's made a significant change in my life." - (Name withheld by request)
Copyright © - Larry James. Adapted from the book, "How to Really Love the One You're With."
If you would like to talk
one-on-one with Larry James about relationship issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a
private coaching session by telephone. Go to Personal Relationship Coaching
for specific details.
Its simplicity is its beauty: Resentment hurts; forgiveness heals! In Guy Finley's new audio program you'll
discover the sweet and unsuspected rewards of a life founded upon forgiveness. Click
here for complete details!
Larry James recommends this special 60-minute program!
Peace of mind for only pennies.
Read a new key lesson from Guy Finley every day!
Tell your friends!
NOTE: Since "forgiveness" is an absolute necessity
for demonstrating a healthy love relationship with yourself, your significant
other or your friends, we encourage you to "Celebrate Forgiveness" by reading up
on the topic of forgiveness on the following links. . .
International Forgiveness Day, founded by Robert W. Plath, is celebrated on the first Sunday of every August. More
The Forgiveness Project works at a local, national and international level to
help build a future free of conflict and violence by healing the wounds of the past. Visit and read the many
stories that people have submitted about forgiveness.
Read an article by Lauren Daley, Standard-Times staff writer called,
"The Power to Forgive Heals Both Body and Soul."
Read an article by Arizona Republic reporter, Jo-an Holstein called,
"Let the Healing Begin."
Larry James was quoted in the Nov. 6 article of The Republic's "Fit & Well" publication distributed in Scottsdale, AZ.
A Parable on Forgiveness
The Forgiveness Web - One of the
most comprehensive forgiveness resources.
The Forgiving Way - The purpose of The Forgiving Way
is to assist people to establish forgiveness as a focus in their lives and thinking.
Download a special issue of "No Limits" on Forgiveness. Download the pdf. "No
Limits" is published every Monday by http://www.NoLimitsForMe.com
Read an article by Lisa Fritscher, called,
"How to Forgive Someone and Move on With Life."
Thoughts On Forgiveness
When you choose not to forgive, who are you really punishing?
Who carries that judgement with him wherever he goes?
Take the first step, and know you will not do so alone. Close your eyes, take a deep breath in and then breath out that heavy burden
judgement offered, you accepted, and have since carried within.
Feel the weight literally lifted from your shoulders.
From the "FLASH" movie, "Thoughts On Forgiveness"
by James Blanchard Cisneros. Click here!
To purchase any of the following books or DVDs on forgiveness, just click on the link or the book/DVD cover!
The Power of Forgiveness - the DVD - A Film by Martin Doblmeier - Over the last 20 years the topic of forgiveness has come into its
own as an area of academic study. This film explores this important work and translates it into a popular, accessible documentary film for
public television. The broadcast is only one part of a national outreach effort that includes a community conversation campaign, this Website,
and a companion book. The focus is on the emergent understanding of contemporary clinical and academic research that shows forgiveness is validated
as having real potential for personal and spiritual transformation. At the same time the film points to the centrality of forgiveness as a virtue
in many of the world's great religions and the struggle that people of all faiths have in honoring it.
Larry's Review: What a terrific film. You will want to watch this film more than once.
The Power of Forgiveness: Based on a Film by Martin Doblmeier - Kenneth Briggs - The work, by noted religion writer Kenneth Briggs, explores
the dimensions and frontiers of a problem that can perplex, provoke and sometimes liberate anyone who has wronged another and/or has been wronged
by another. Taking its theme and key resources from the Martin Doblmeier film of the same name, the book also points in a direction of its own:
probing religious meanings of the process, including the pacifist option; testing the complexities and limits of forgiving; considering the
difficulties of actually carrying it out; and examining scientific claims that forgiveness improves health.
Larry's Review: An excellent commentary on the simple act of forgiveness and how we often get caught in the struggle. It reveals
how forgiveness can literally change your life.
Radical Forgiveness: Making Room for the Miracle - Colin C. Tipping - Through this book you will find a new level
of insight about your life, your relationships and what you had considered, prior to reading this book, your problems.
The simple, easy-to-use tools for Radical Forgiveness help people transform their lives and to feel the joy of life as
it unfolds - however it unfolds. Radical Forgiveness, unlike other forms of forgiveness, acts on our psyche in such a way
as to enable us to let go of the victim archetype, open our hearts and raise our vibration. This is the healing that we
need, and that the whole world needs, if the next great leap in spiritual evolution is to occur.
Larry's Review: I love this book. Not to forgive keeps you stuck! Here you will find a tried and
true system of letting go.
Forgiveness: The Greatest Healer of All - Gerald G. Jampolsky, MD - This is a small book with a big message; if people
are to heal themselves and learn to live with each other in love and harmony, forgiveness must become as
important and regular as breathing. The first chapter offers powerful stories chosen to open the reader's
heart to the idea of forgiveness. Subsequent chapters explain why so many individuals find it so difficult
to forgive, and why holding onto grievances is really a decision to suffer.
Larry's Review: All I can say is: If you feel the need to forgive or feel you need
forgiveness, you must read this book.
When to Forgive - Mona Gustafson Affinito, Ph.D., L.P. - When people are hurt, whether in an argument or more deeply by
childhood mistreatment, they may be tempted to hang onto their anger and not let the guilty party off too easily. This book
teaches readers to confront their negative feelings and, based on their own values, decide on a course of action.
Larry's Review: A guide to better understanding the healing process that forgiveness is.
The Magic of Forgiveness: Emotional Freedom and Transformation at Midlife - Tian Dayton, Ph.D. - Forgiveness is most
powerful when a woman reaches midlife: a natural time for reflection when she stands at a biological and emotional crossroads.
In this groundbreaking book-the first of its kind for women - acclaimed therapist Tian Dayton shows women how assessing their
lives and forgiving old wounds are as essential to their well-being as proper nutrition and retirement planning.
Larry's Review: Women, this one is for you. This book will teach you to process painful
memories and greatly assist you in healing those hurts held over from the past.
The Self-Forgiveness Handbook: A Practical and Empowering Guide - Thom Rutledge - Thom is onto something. Writing in the
awareness that the line between spirituality and psychology has blurred, his third self-help book concentrates on kindness.
That is, be kind first to yourself and your kindness will flow to others. All psychological healing comes from the ability
to forgive oneself.
Larry's Review: Heed my friend, Thom Rutledge's advice; forgiveness is the key to freedom!
The Prayer of Revenge: Forgiveness in the Face of Injustice - Doug Schmidt - When you're struggling to forgive an indifferent or calloused
individual, why does the well-meaning advice to "let bygones be bygones" often seem insensitive and trite? Perhaps you're tempted to look that
would-be helper in the eye and say, "You have no idea what this person did to me." This book defines the #1 legitimate reason many people are
unable to forgive - and then offers a compassionate, yet controversial solution to this common dilemma.
Larry's Review: Forgiveness from a Christian perspective. This book oozes compassion. Doug Schmidt shares
honestly what God has to say about forgiveness. Highly recommended.
To Forgive, Divine - Melissa Lea Leedom - Since the accident that killed her husband two years ago, Bonnie's had no room in
her heart for new love. She certainly didn't plan to fall for her also-widowed pastor! Jeff Wells can't wait to see Bonnie again.
But nosy neighbor Clara Adkinson informs him that he isn't the only man in Bonnie's life! Who is this other guy? While it is
fiction, it explores the many facets of forgiveness in relationships.
How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage To Forgive, the Freedom Not To - Janis Abrahms Spring - This book draws on many case studies to fully
analyze four categories of forgiveness: cheap forgiveness, refusing to forgive, acceptance and genuine forgiveness. The author is convinced
that morally and spiritually a person is no more required to forgive an unrepentant offender than he or she is to love him.
Relationship books by Larry James:
How to Really Love the One You're With:
Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship
LoveNotes for Lovers:
Words That Make Music for Two
Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers (Career Assurance
Author Larry James is a professional speaker. He presents "Relationship
Enrichment LoveShops" nationally for singles and couples. More About Larry James