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  • Writer's pictureSusan Pattis

The Power of Forgiveness (Part I)

Updated: Jan 22, 2023

I would like to talk about the power of forgiveness over the next few weeks, many readers have asked me to share my perspective on the subject having been prompted by the recent topic of compassion, and self-compassion.

What is the true meaning of forgiveness? Why is it important to forgive yourself and others? What are the steps to forgive and to heal?

Please share your views, stories, and reflections on forgiveness with me.

It is challenging to define forgiveness because it is dependent on stance and context. Scholars usually consider forgiveness to be a deliberate and mindful choice of letting go of the emotions and feelings relating to resentment, anger, hate, or vengeance towards others who have hurt you; whether it be intentional or unintentional, regardless of whether those people deserve your forgiveness. In the religious context, forgiveness is about releasing sins by absolving everyone and everything thereby showing one's obedience and thankfulness towards God. Psychologists claim that forgiveness reduces stress, depression, anxiety, and anger. Forgiveness helps people to be more positive, compassionate, and optimistic.

We are all familiar with Shakespeare’s famous plays about the incredible price paid for revenge. Hate and resentment does not reduce the hurt that has already happened. The painful emotions of the bad experience or incidents linger in people’s minds for a long time. The urge to get even or seek revenge takes away the ability to live a happy life or find inner peace. The biggest challenge is to forgive the wrongdoing of others without forgetting our own values and principles. There are no easy answers to this task, but we can do our best to rescue ourselves from falling into the dark trap of hate and resentment.

Forgiveness is very much needed because we cannot escape from being hurt or harming others with or without conscious thinking in our daily lives, especially with parents, siblings, children, peers, friends, clients, and other associates. Implementing forgiveness with our loved ones is more challenging because we often take each other for granted without knowing the hurt or harm to others. Forgiveness is a highly complex concept in many cultures. For example, in Asian culture, most parents never consider saying "sorry" or "please forgive us" to their children because they justify their behavior as being with good intention and with love and care.

It would be best if you forgave without resentment under the following circumstances. In a car crash, you should pardon the other driver if you know the harmful incident was a genuine accident; of course, you can file a claim through your insurance. It would be best if you forgave the parties, such as children and people with mental issues because they do not understand the harm they are causing. It is crucial to accept apologies and offer complete forgiveness to those genuinely sorry for hurting you; those who are willing to take full responsibility for what they did without using excuses. It will harm your wellbeing and happiness if you don’t accept their sincere apology if they wholeheartedly ask for forgiveness.

Forgiveness with tolerance and watchfulness is essential in a loving relationship, especially with family members and those that are precious to you, if you somehow caused them to act harmfully or badly, assuming they offer authentic apologies to you, and you care about your relationship. It is wise to use the strategy of “forgive but not forget” with your loved ones because you would never cut off ties with them; even if their actions or words are far from your expectations. They are still and will remain, important to your life.

To Be Continued.


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