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12 Things Forgiveness IS (And Is Not)

what forgiveness is

“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” -Jean Paul Sartre

It’s been said that there is no more difficult task for us humans than to forgive. Whether it’s yourself you are holding something against, your parents, neighbor, or even circumstance. But it’s also the most liberating thing we can do for ourselves.

Forgiveness frees us from the tangles of anger and retribution, and from preoccupations with the past or with the running case in your mind about the person you’re mad at. It shifts your sense of self from a passive one in which bad things happen to you, to one in which you are active in changing your own attitudes.  It widens your view to see the truth of the many, many things that make people act as they do, placing whatever happened in context, in a larger whole.


Forgiveness IS:

-Accepting ourselves and others more freely

-Giving up hope for a different past

-The heart letting go

-An opportunity to understand the patterns we hold, and a chance to release them

-A chance to thank yourself for attracting the lesson, and then ignoring it until it got this difficult

-A great noble act

-An enormous blessing, especially when we are forgiving ourselves

-A release of burden

-A peaceful heart

-Moving on, letting go

-Not putting another person out of your heart

-An acknowledgement of your own inner pain


Forgiveness is NOT:

-An act of weakness but one of courage

-Condoning what happened


-Going to happen all at once

-Being chained to the past

-Papering over something (it’s a practice)

-Reconciliation. We must make a separate decision to reconcile with someone or move on without them

-Something we do for others – we do it for ourselves


Did we miss any? Please share!