What is forgiveness and how do you do it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-09-2002, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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No matter what religion/spirituality you are, I've always heard that forgiveness is a really big part of being happy. But what I want to know is what exactly does that entail? If you are wronged, are you just supposed to say "that's okay. forget about it?" How can you ever forget the really bad things. How do you become the type of person who can brush things off more easily?

I'm asking this because I am really trying to become better about not holding grudges or taking slights from people too personally but it seems really hard. Is forgiveness not forgetting necessarily but letting go of the hurt feelings you have about an incident? My dh and I went through a very rough patch over the last two years and we have been through counseling separately and together and things are mostly really great now but sometimes a remark or action will bring back hard feelings again. If this happens, does it mean I haven't completely forgiven him? And if not, how do I do it?

does this make sense to anyone? Suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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#2 of 8 Old 12-09-2002, 02:38 PM
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I like you had trouble with grudges & holding on to hard feelings. I always felt that if I "forgave" someone, that that meant it was "ok"..it being whatever that person did or said. So for many years i was angry or sad at a person. Eventually I figured out that forgiving someone, in no way makes what the person did ok. what it does do, for me, is releive ME of the burden of anger. And, no, i cant forget what was said or done, but i feel a world of relief. And like you, sometimes things are great but a certain word spoken or tone will "trigger" those feelings, somethimes as strong as the day it really happened. so not only do i forgive, but sometimes i have to forgive again....and again, and again. know what i mean? sometimes several times a day.

it also depends on the actions involved. meaning, i would have a rough time forgiving infidelity. it would take alot of effort on my part, no matter how apologetic and humble my husband was. time does help i think to heal as well as the forgiveness on my part.

It seemed to me, it was easier for me to be pissed than it was to forgive. My mother in law gave me a hell of a time, and i finally forgave her, i didnt tell her i forgave her, i just did, and i am sure she doesnt even know it, but i do. and i feel so much better!!!
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#3 of 8 Old 12-09-2002, 10:26 PM
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I think so, too.

When I forgive someone, I let go of my feelings of being wronged. It doesn't mean that what they did was ok or that they can do it again. I just no longer hold onto the issue. Sometimes it's bigger than that and I need to forgive and put asside the wrong thing. Somtimes I am the only one with a problem, so forgiving is merely me getting over myself.

I have a conflict with my dad. I forgive him for being a jerk and I don't hold it in my heart, but I also don't associate with him because he's still a jerk. For me to allow him back into my life would cause me more pain and so I had to get over what was already there, and still allow myself to keep him out. Forgiveness doesn't have to mean you confront the person with a wrong thought or deed. It has to do with releasing the bad feelings inside you. (thoughts aren't wrong, per se, but they can be negative, and that's what I mean)

Theres more to be said for releasing bad thoughts and feelings than making someone else feel good about treating you like crap. That doesn't do you any good.


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#4 of 8 Old 12-09-2002, 10:48 PM
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For me, forgiveness has been the key to my "getting" my life back, or clearing the obstacles off my intended path.
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#5 of 8 Old 12-10-2002, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Great answers! From what I'm getting from you guys then is that forgiveness has to do more with yourself than with the other person. Very hard thing to do but I think sweetbaby3 was right, that time does help some of the hard feelings go away.

My dh and I didn't have infidelity issues, but we had a lot of other stuff going on and at one point I was so sick of the counseling and talking and dealing with it on an almost hourly basis that I said enough. I just want to get on with our life together and not think about this stuff all the time. And I was really able to let a lot of it go. I mean I truly let it go and I felt really happy. My counselor was very shocked and didn't believe I could do that. I think this might have been a true moment of forgiveness. We still have our moments but I didn't know if it was normal for some of the issues that you supposedly forgive to pop up now and then and feel like you have to forgive again. But it sounds like other people have had that happen too. I guess it's better than the alternative of holding on to the negative energy inside you. I've been trying to think of this in terms of what I can learn from this and from being with my dh. We thought of divorce many times but chose to stick it out for our son, at least in the short run. But now we have so much more together than just our son. We really have a life together again and enjoy each other again. I never thought that would happen when we were in the midst of our problems so deeply. I would pray to God every day for the strength to forgive and move on and I think one day I had just prayed enough and got it. But apparently it's not a one shot deal and has to be worked at still. That's quite an eye-opener for me.

Thanks for the answers everyone. It's an interesting topic for me.

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#6 of 8 Old 12-10-2002, 12:23 PM
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really great great topic.
I find that prayer and or ritual help too, like hitting your knees and asking for forgiveness to come or putting some incense on the alter, lighting a candle, whatever your path-
and T I M E
I also agree with the idea that forgiving doesnt mean forgetting, more like understanding and processing and letting go,
grant me the serenity to ACCEPT(forgive?) the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference
forgiveness does not mean you allow someone to hurt you repeatedly, just that you allow yourself not to be saddled with the pain from the hurt so thhat you can protect yourself in a healthy way from more hurt piling up too- like if you dont forgive someone for something ...for me anyways, it seems like things just keep piling up between me and that person...and it gets worse and worse, so I try as soon as I can to figure out when Im ticked off, why and so forth so I can let it go(forgive it)
-sorry for rambling, great topic
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#7 of 8 Old 12-10-2002, 04:02 PM
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You have some great answers here-
adding this thought-

It is a universal law-What you do to others comes back to you,what you sow you reap,etc.
So by forgiving others you are setting in motion forgiveness for yourself.
Make sense?????
I will check on EC 's thoughts,that is from me.

momma to 4
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#8 of 8 Old 12-10-2002, 04:18 PM
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I would remind you that forgiveness is not an action, it is a journey. I travel that road frequently and often find that something I thought I was over and had forgiven will rear it's ugly head up at me in a new circumstance and so I will now forgive the person from a different angle. DOn't know if that helps at all. I wish you peace and joy in your relationship with your DH.


Before you were conceived, I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were a minute old, I would have died for you. That is the miracle of life. ~Maureen Hawkins~
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