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5 Reasons Why Forgiveness Is About You, Not Them.

By Dora Neo

5 Reasons Why Forgiveness Is About You, Not Them.

By Dora Neo


We’re often told to forgive others, to “turn the other cheek” and to be gracious to everyone, but in the aftermath of being wronged, forgiveness can seem like an impossible concept. 


From facing infidelity in a relationship to betrayal by a friend, it can feel unfair that we have to be the ones to do the work of finding forgiveness for the abuser. But just for a moment, forget about forgiveness for others. What about forgiveness for ourselves? 


Trust me, I know how hard forgiveness is. I’ve lived through some pretty dark days myself. But stewing in resentment stole me from the joys in life we were all created for.


So much of the emphasis on forgiveness is about making peace with the other person. What if it’s less about being the bigger person and more about giving your heart the grace you deserve?

1. Unforgiveness Imprisons Us 

Unforgiveness is fueled by rumination, we end up replaying sad experiences and get consumed in a never-ending spiral. We get stuck on delayed emotions. Anger and resentment begin leading our lives when we bear unforgiveness. We end up being the ones punishing ourselves. 


Based on my personal experience, unforgiveness causes us to become a prisoner of someone else’s behavior. But choosing forgiveness is like finally choosing to use the key that unlocks the prison from the inside, and sets us free from the resentment we inflict upon ourselves. 


2. Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Reconciliation 

Oftentimes, we think to forgive it is to give an abuser a license to continue hurting us. But here’s the thing about forgiveness: it’s not about reconciling nor restoring the trust and relationship. Forgiving them doesn’t mean we let them into our inner circle. It doesn’t mean they have earned your trust again - because that will take time. 


Instead, forgiveness is an internal process, a path for us to restore the peace within. It is a gift you give yourself before you give it to anyone, a gift to prevent your heart from withering. But all of this takes time, especially when we are wounded by traumatic life experiences or even a betrayal of a loved one. 

3. Forgiveness Frees You Up to Dream Again 

It is not easy but not impossible. To forgive, you have got to first embrace the aching sting that has been holding you. It can feel like a little gnaw at a past event or maybe even a looming anxiety just at the mention of a name. It’s okay. Embrace your humanness, embrace the present emotions. You can’t forgive without first extending kindness to yourself. Next, ask yourself, who are you without the resentment and pain? Perhaps, it is a starting point to start making space to start dreaming again. 

4. Forgiveness is a Process; Not one-off 

Personally, journaling has been a great help for me. Process and take your power back by rewriting your narrative. Forgiveness isn’t a one-time action, but a process. Our lives are like a play with several acts. Some characters who enter have short roles to play, some play the villains, some the good guys. However, not all are meant to stay on. You are the narrator and you always have a choice to make


Our pasts can't be changed, but the story we tell about them absolutely can be.

By releasing forgiveness, you are not sending the message that the villains have won, but that you are writing a bigger and a kinder story to yourself.


Martin Luther King thought of forgiveness not as an “occasional act” but more of a “constant attitude.” You choose it intentionally from moment to moment and one day, your heart will hold no sting. 

5. When You know You’re Forgiven, You Can Forgive 

Remember, you can’t give what you have not received. The willingness to forgive can only come from a deep inner reservoir of love. You deserve to have this kindness extended to yourself. You deserve to be at peace. You are not a victim and you have the power to choose the life you want to live.

Published on 01/12/2020

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