Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Power of Forgiveness

Should I even start explaining where I've been? Yikes. It's been almost a year.

The short story is: I've been studying and working as an intuitive life coach and counselor. The long story is much more complicated, and too involved to get into right now. ;)

Instead, I want to share something with you that someone urged me to share. It deals with a recurring theme in my sessions lately. The dreaded "F" word. 


When clients ask me the best way to “clear their path,” we almost always end up talking about an event that’s happened in their lives they find they can’t truly release. 

Everyone has someone in their lives who has wronged them in some way. Some breach of trust that caused the person on the receiving end to close off their heart a bit. Not in just romantic relationships, but also relationships with relatives, co-workers, friends. Even complete strangers can hurt each other. The unscrupulous financier who stole your entire life savings. The man in the park who violently attacked you for your wallet.

When these things happen to us, a little part of us - the part of us that wants to trust - puts up a wall of sorts. Sometimes the wall is there to simply keep out that specific person, other times the wall is a bit taller and thicker, and you start to cast a suspicious eye on everyone.

It doesn’t matter how big the wall is, however. Once you set up any wall inside your heart, it’s harder for other things – potentially great things – to get in.

So at this point in the conversation, we talk about forgiveness and the importance of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is one of those concepts that gets a bad rap. And I do understand why. Why in the world would you ever want to forgive someone who has done something horrific to you? How can you “let them off the hook” like that? That person deserves anger being tossed their way!

I understand the trepidation, but forgiveness can be more about you than about the other person, because it is an act of release. It doesn’t have to be letting anyone "off the hook." In fact, you don’t even have to tell the other person you forgive them. You just need to forgive them in your heart.

Think about a situation where someone caused you great pain. Does it still bring up horrible memories and feelings of anger or sorrow concerning that person? If so, that experience (and that person) is in control of your feelings. The event - even if it happened many years ago - is still very much in the Present. Wouldn’t you like to let go of that pain?

Forgiveness is the key. Once you forgive the person who did this to you, you are no longer allowing them (and what they did to you) to control your emotions. You are taking back your personal power by saying, “I forgive you. I’m going to release these feelings of anger and pain concerning you. Whatever you do now is not my concern, because I am putting this behind me and moving on with my life.”

Another benefit of forgiveness is that it’s the first step to tearing down the wall you’ve formed around your heart. Without the wall in place, you no longer bring the pain of past experience with you into future experiences. You no longer place the face of the person who wronged you on the faces of others – some of whom might be trying to love you deeply. You start living Life again because you are moving forward with hope in your heart instead of anger. That’s a beautiful thing.

Don't let anyone tell you you're a victim. You have the power to change that.

EDITED TO ADD: I should have also said that just because you forgive someone doesn't mean you should completely forget. Many of these experiences are also life lessons - so you never find yourself in the same situation again. But that's another post for another time.


  1. So, what do you do when that person keeps doing the same thing (lying) how do you keep forgiving them when they turn around and do the same thing. Is it time just to cut your losses and move on? Wonder if you love them, how does that factor into the whole equation? I want to forgive this person, but how?

  2. That is an EXCELLENT question, Blowingfeather. And I'm going to use a personal example to give you my opinion.

    The two entries before this one talk about someone I was very VERY close to -- someone who I forgave more than once for their behavior towards me. I eventually came to a very painful decision. I decided that I had to end all communication with this person. But I still forgave. In my very last correspondence, I wished this person the best with their life and told them that I really hoped they would be happy--- but I just couldn't take it anymore.

    I believe it is possible to forgive someone and still not let them into your life. If the same thing keeps happening over and over and over again, this is a pattern you can't ignore. You have to do what you can to protect yourself. Wish them the best (in your heart, if you can't talk to them) and move on. It's painful, but you have to take care of YOU.

  3. Hi, Carmen! I can't even begin to express how was delighted to see you in my RSS feed this morning.

    There is a quote on forgiveness that I have found very stirring and helpful. I don't think it captures all that forgiveness is and can be, but it does outline a beautiful first step. I've seen it credited to many people, including Lily Tomlin. "Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past."

  4. Hi Elizabeth! Thank you for your kind words. I hope I don't make a habit of staying away for so long... I guess we'll see... lol.

    Thanks for sharing the quote! It's so true--- and it is a great first step in the process. You can't change the past, but you can definitely make choices for a better future.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.