Forgiving and forgetting (letting go)

  • What is forgiving and forgetting in a relationship?

    1. Forgiving is allowing another person to be human for faults, mistakes or misdeeds. Forgetting is putting these behind you; they are no longer brought up and no longer remain a barrier to your relationship.

    2. Forgiving is letting another know that there is no grudge, hard feelings or animosity for any wrongdoing. Forgetting is the lack of further discussion, with no ongoing negative references to the event.

    3. Forgiving is letting the other person know that you accept as genuine the remorse and sorrow for actions or words that hurt or disappointed you. Forgetting is promising that this deed, whether of omission or commission, will not be brought up again.

    4. Forgiving is accepting the sincerity of penance, sorrow and regret expressed over a grievous personal offense; making it sufficient to clear the air. Forgetting is your commitment to let go of anger, hurt and pain over this offense.

    5. Forgiving is giving a sign that a person's explanation or acceptance of blame for a destructive, hurtful or painful act is fully accepted. Forgetting is the development of a plan of action between the two of you to heal the scars resulting from the behavior.

    6. Forgiving is the highest form of human behavior that can be shown to another person. It means being vulnerable to being hurt or offended in the future, yet setting aside this in order to reopen and heal the channels of communication. Forgetting is is also a noble human behavior; it is letting go of the need to seek revenge for past offenses.

    7. Forgiving is the act of love between you and a person who has hurt you; the bandage that holds the wound together long enough to heal. Forgetting is also an act of love; in rehabilitation therapy, helping the wounded return to a full and functional life.

    8. Forgiving is the God-like gift of spiritually connecting with others, touching their hearts to calm the fear of rejection, quiet the sense of failure and lighten the burden of guilt. Forgetting is the God-like gift of spiritually touching others' hearts with the reassurance of a happy and full life with no fear of recrimination.

    9. Forgiving is the act of letting go of temporary ill will, disappointment or the disgust that arises from the break in your relationship. Forgetting is bridging this gap in the relationship, eventually strengthening it against such a break in the future.

    10. Forgiving is an act of compassion, humanity and gentleness by which you let another know that he is indeed a child of the universe upon whom a variety of graces and blessings have been showered and that current or past offenses need not be a barrier to goodness. Forgetting is the act of encouragement, support and reinforcement by which you assist the other person to rebuild, reconnect and re-establish a loving, caring, healthy relationship with you and the world.

    Negative consequences of the absences of forgiving and forgetting

    In the absence of forgiving and forgetting, the partners in a relationship run the risk of:

    • Continuously being hurt with pain and suffering going unresolved.

    • Unresolved guilt and remorse for offenses committed.

    • Chronically seeking revenge and paybacks from one another.

    • Being caught up in unresolved anger, animosity and bitterness.

    • Defensive, self-protective and distant behavior.

    • Blaming, negative and non-growth oriented behavior.

    • Being stuck in a battlefield stockpiled for future offensive attacks.

    • Being lost in a festering wound that never realizes the revitalization of healing.

    • Secretive and non-communicative behavior.

    • Fear over making a mistake or of having the mistake revealed.

    • Being overwhelmed by fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of non-approval, low self-esteem, fear of conflict.

    • High stress.

    Signs of the absence of forgiving and forgetting.

    Lack of forgiving and forgetting in a relationship can result in:

    • Irreconcilable differences between people.

    • Indifference toward one another.

    • An emotional vacuum in which little or no emotions are shown or shared.

    • Chronic attacks or angry outbursts.

    • Addressing or interacting with one another disrespectfully.

    • One-upmanship: competition as to who can out do whom in terms of eliciting sympathy, compassion or understanding from outsiders.

    • Seeking revenge from one another.

    • Pitting the parties in the relationship against one another through coalitions and taking sides.

    • Chronic recalling and reminding of past hurts and offenses.

    • Suspicions about the others' motives, behavior, attitudes or beliefs.

    • Chronic depression.

    • Chronic hostility.

    • Name calling, belittling and demeaning one another.

    • Responding to present behavior as if they were past behavior.

    • Unwillingness to change and/or unwillingness to seek the help necessary to change.

    Beliefs shared by people who refuse to forgive or forget

    • I was hurt so much; how could you ever expect me to forgive and forget that?

    • I never deserved the treatment I received, and I do not believe that forgiving and forgetting is deserved in this situation.

    • I am sick because of that treatment; how can I ever forgive or forget that?

    • There are people who are inherently evil, and they are despicable. No forgiving or forgetting will ever change that.

    • People are vicious and cruel, and you always need to protect yourself because of that; so why try to forgive and forget what they have done?

    • It is a sign of weakness to forgive and forget.

    • It is just "giving in" to the others' power and control to forgive and forget.

    • There are some things you can never forgive and forget.

    • I never forgive; I just get even.

    • Revenge is the best way to heal wounds.

    • Don't cross me and I won't cross you; but if you do cross me, watch out!

    • Only God can forgive and forget, though at times I don't believe He does either.

    • I have done nothing for which I need to be forgiven.

    • It is easy to say "I'm sorry." You can never trust anyone who says "I'm sorry."

    • You are just seeking my forgiveness so that you can come back and hurt me again.

    • You do not deserve any kindness, compassion or forgiveness for what you have done to me; I'll see to it that you are never able to forget it!

    • All people who do wrong deserve the worst life has to dish out.

    • I resent everyone who has hurt me, and I believe that this makes me a stronger person so that I will not be hurt again.

    • Anyone who could treat another person that way is undeserving of being forgiven, loved or cared for.

    In order to forgive and forget, you need to practice:

    • Letting go of past hurt and pain.

    • Trusting in the goodness of mankind.

    • Letting go of fears for the future.

    • Allowing yourself to be vulnerable to growth.

    • Taking a risk.

    • Letting go of hostility and resentment.

    • Working out your anger.

    • Reducing competition.

    • Overlooking slight relapses or steps backward.

    • Developing a personal spirituality.

    • Developing an openness to the belief that people can change.

    • Developing trust in others.

    • Facing conflict head-on, resolving it on the spot.

    • Open, honest and assertive communication with others concerning hurts, pains and offenses experienced.

    • Seeking professional help when necessary to resolve the distance and coldness in a relationship.

    • Recognizing your part or role in setting up hurtful experiences.

    • Identifying and replacing the irrational beliefs that block your ability to forgive and forget.

    Steps to develop forgiving and forgetting in a relationship.

    Step 1: In order to increase your ability to forgive and forget, you need to recognize what this behavior involves. Answer the following questions in your journal:

    a. What do you mean by "forgiving and forgetting in a relationship?"

    b. Have you ever been forgiven in a relationship? How did it feel?

    c. Has anyone ever brought up something from the past to remind you how you hurt a person? How did that make you feel?

    d. What role do you feel forgiving and forgetting has in your relationships? How could you improve?

    e. How has the absence of forgiving and forgetting affected your current relationships?

    f. What are the signs of the absence of forgiving and forgetting in your relationship with your family of origin, current family, significant others, spouse, children, parents, relatives, friends and co-workers?

    g. What beliefs block your ability to forgive and forget? What would be necessary to change these beliefs?

    h. What new behavior do you need to develop in order to increase your ability to forgive and forget?

    i. What role does the existence of spirituality play in your ability to forgive and forget? The lack of it?

    j. Who do you need to forgive? What do you need to forget?

    Step 2: Now that you have a better picture of what is involved in forgiving and forgetting, you are ready to extinguish blaming behavior.

    Letting Go of Blaming

    It is easy to point the finger of blame at others for the pain you have suffered. This activity is intended to get you to point the finger of responsibility at yourself, to be better able to forgive and forget when you feel hurt by another's behavior. Answer the following questions in your journal:

    (1) List an incident for which you are unable to forgive a person(s) and therefore are unable to forget.

    (2) How much energy, creativity, problem solving capability and focus on growth is sapped from you whenever you recall this hurt?

    (3) What feelings come to your mind and body as you recall this hurt?

    (4) How would you describe your role in this event? In what ways were you the victim, perpetrator, enabler, martyr, bystander, instigator, target, scapegoat, distracter, peacemaker, people pleaser or rescuer?

    (5) Why do you feel strongly over what happened and how you were treated?

    (6) What did this event or happening do to your self-esteem?

    (7) How dependent on others were you (or are you) to help you feel good about yourself? How positively self-affirming were or are you? Why do you need this person's affirmation to make you feel good about yourself? What beliefs about yourself were threatened by what happened to you? Reinforced?

    (8) How willing are you to declare yourself independent of the need for others to reinforce you and make you feel good about yourself? What blocks you from declaring this independence? What fears do you have of letting go of the need for others to make you feel good about yourself? How does this relate to your inability to forgive or forget in the incident listed in Step 2(1)?

    (9) What value is there in blaming the person(s) listed in Step 2(1) for the hurt and pain experienced? How responsible are you for the feelings of hurt and pain? How do these feelings relate to your dependence on others to make you feel good about yourself? How do you control your feelings of pain and hurt? What would change in your feelings about this past incident if you accepted the responsibility for your own feelings and perceptions? How do your irrational beliefs interfere in your ability to resist blaming others for pain and hurt you experience?

    (10) Look back at the past incident and the person(s) involved; reframe your thinking and feelings about it:

    • Who was responsible for my reaction to the incident?

    • Who was responsible for my feelings about the incident?

    • Who was responsible for my inability to forgive the person(s) involved?

    • Who is responsible for my inability to forget this incident?

    • How can I forgive the person(s) involved?

    • How can I put this incident behind me?

    • How can I forgive myself for being dependent on others for feelings of being worthwhile and good?

    • How can I avoid being so hurt when something like this happens again?

    • What do I gain by blaming others for my feelings?

    • What can I do when I feel hurt and pain? Where does the finger of responsibility need to be pointed?

    Step 3: Once you have learned how to let go of blaming in that one incident, repeat Step 2 addressing all the past or present incidents of hurt in which you need to forgive the people and forget the incidents (see Step 1j).

    When you have exhausted your list of people you need to forgive and events you need to forget, you will be on the road to forgiving and forgetting in relationships. If you have problems in the future, return to Step 1 and begin again.

  • HI all,

    I found this article online which I find very interesting.

    Hope I won't get into trouble by posting it here.


    Have a great weekend, friends.

  • That was great Emergence you know when you point a finger at someone always remember there are 3 pointing back at you . Delbertc

  • Have a great weekend, DelbertC!!

    Keep smiling!

  • Oh...what a good reminder this is. I always find exactly what I need when I come here. I thought I had forgiven but there were some fine points that were mentioned that I think I need a little more help

    Thank you so much for posting this Emergence. So many of us here need to see this. :0)

  • AuntBuck huney,

    You are so welcome. This is the least I can do, sharing with you people what I find interesting and valuable. You share so much with me and all of us here too and I will always be honored to have you in my inner circle.

    Lots of love x x x

  • I was feeling like I had forgiven and then after reading this yesterday I realized that I'm getting there but there's still some work to be done. I am after all human. I love being here and am so glad I found you and everyone that resides here. We all have something to give and by sharing...we only make things better for the whole. Lots of love to you too.

  • Awesome message and we so need to hear those reminders.

  • Thanks AuntBuck and RCDreamer,

    Whenever I sort of drop back into the reminiscing moments, I tend to read these messages again and reminded myself why I have let go. We sure do need to remind ourselves every now and then.

    Lots of love to you both.

  • Very nice post, Emergence, thank you for sharing it. Valuable lessons here. 🙂

  • Darkness angel,

    You are certainly welcome!

    I find it valuable too. I think I have let go but deep in my heart I know that I have not totally. Guts telling me to be patient.

    This article is a great help for me so far!

    Lots of love.

  • Thank you Emergence for the post. I think it has many great ideas and tools for everyone making the journey threw life. I have read similiar articals but in daily life I have lost sight of many of the great suggested actions in the articles. It feels, at times much more safe and comfortable to hold on to pain and anger than it is to let it go and forgive yourself and others. Thanks again

  • Hi Mellove,

    You are welcome. Just like you, I do read many articles on this issue but when it comes to practicing it, I tend to miss out a few steps. This is the reason I post this article right here, I know I can always come back here and give myself a checklist LOL. Hope this will benefit you too.

    Yes, is is easier to hold on to the pain and to let go and venture out. The reason is because we are comfortable in our "comfort zone". But I promise you, once you find the strength to break out of that "comfort zone", things will fall into the right places. The puzzle will be solve. Be strong!

    Lots of love

  • Hi friends!

    I believe this article can act as support on the previous article. We need confidence in carrying our our responsibilities etc. We need confidence in order to be able to let go...


    10 Ways to Gain Confidence

    One step at a time

    1. Be true to yourself

    We need to work on being true to our values, and not compromise them because of another person's demands or expectations. This means learning to stand up for ourselves, knowing our boundaries, and defending them if necessary. If we feel we are being disrespected, we need to speak up. If we're open and honest with people, we will respect ourselves more and so will others. Gaining a strong voice in our everyday lives can take time, but eventually it becomes habitual.

    2. Let go of past mistakes

    Berating ourselves for past actions gets us nowhere. We can't change the past, so we must accept it. Carrying emotional baggage creates disharmony and regret, which chips away at our self-worth. It's all a matter of keeping things in perspective. Life is full of challenges and adventures, and since we make decisions based on who we are at the time, it's a waste of energy and serenity to carry ill feelings about ourselves. Let's cut ourselves a break -- we're all human -- and as long as we've learned from these mistakes, we're better for the experiences.

    3. Don't compare yourself to others

    It's a fact that somewhere, someone is better at something than we are. If we're constantly comparing ourselves to others, we're doomed to fall short. When we do this, we're not honoring our own self-worth and strengths. Instead, we're allowing others to control how we feel by constantly trying to 'measure up.' When we focus on our strengths, we shine -- and whatever we choose to do, we do well.

    4. Plan steps that move you toward your dreams and goals

    When we're achieving our goals, we have a sense of satisfaction and pride in our lives. We feel better about ourselves, empowered by our successes. Low self-esteem is augmented by a lack of focus and unrealized dreams. Once we know what makes us happy, we can focus on achieving that. If the goal seems too big at first, break it down to little steps. The sense of achievement every day toward something great is a huge confidence booster.

    5. Surround yourself with supportive people

    We need to be aware of the people we surround ourselves with. Are we learning valuable things from them? Do they stimulate and motivate us? Whatever our goals are, we need people on our team to cheer us on -- not bring negativity, doubt or jealousy into our lives.

    6. Exercise

    When we engage in physical exercise, our bodies release endorphins which make us feel good, strong, and alive. Regular exercise will trim our bodies and tone our muscles, giving us healthier body images.

    7. Keep learning new skills

    It's self-empowering to feel useful -- and knowledge is power. With each thing we teach ourselves, the more capable we feel. A great confidence builder is having others rely upon or admire us for our skills and abilities. Take classes, master a subject area, learn a new language, perhaps acquire higher computer skills -- and reap the reward of increased self-worth.

    8. Do not look down on yourself

    Constant self-judgment mentally exhausts us and keeps our focus on our faults, making us feel inferior. Every thought we have creates an action. Too many negative ideas can make us feel so poorly about ourselves that we might continue making self-destructive choices. We need to give ourselves a break -- we're only human!

    9. Body language

    So often we are unconscious of how we're carrying ourselves and what image we're projecting to the world. When we hold our heads high and straighten our shoulders, we're telling ourselves and the world that we're a force to be reckoned with, that we are strong and confident. Even at first if we don't believe it, the 'fake it until you make it' idea can work here. Watch how differently you speak and act once you've corrected your slouched posture!

    10. Overcome Fears

    'Do something every day that scares you.' This well-known quote is powerful because it's simple, yet so impacting. Our greatest fears may overwhelm us taken head-on, but if we challenge ourselves bit by bit, growing ever-stronger, we will find those big fears diminish in the power they hold over us. It's hard to look ourselves in the eye if we're afraid all the time. So, take baby steps, and soon that mountain won't seem so tall!

    Lots of love to all!

  • "Darkness angel,

    You are certainly welcome!

    I find it valuable too. I think I have let go but deep in my heart I know that I have not totally. Guts telling me to be patient.

    This article is a great help for me so far!

    Lots of love."

    Emergence, I'm in the same boat, lol. As for your second article, I have an ex-b/f who used to always say that his mother told him that the key to success was to surround yourself with happy, successful people. I truly do believe that your life reflects whatever surrounds you. If you're surrounded by negative people, then life's probably not so great, but if you surround yourself with happy, good people, life is better. Throughout my life I have weeded out the negative ones, and am finally at a place where the last negative people are finally being weeded out of my life. And what's happening is that good, positive, happy people are finally filling those slots. Life is looking brighter! 🙂

  • Angle of Sunshine i am glad you are doing better i hope you do not mind if i call you Angle of Sunshine i rather see the sun shinning in your life than darkness surround yourself with the sunshine and feel its warmth it will make you feel good . One of the things i pray for is patience and God gives me opportunity to practice it . Resentment is one things that can send me back to drinking it will kill me .I pray for forgiveness and he gives me opportunity to forgive.The first one i have to forgive is me .I pray for love and he gives me the opportunity to give love by having new friends i have met here and who have helped me so much and having the opportunity to give a little back that has been so freely given to me .and you all have renewed what i hold so dearly is trying to live by the principles of truth and fairness they have had a steep price but none i am not will to pay again with out them my life does not mean much they are my drive my passion my love they are what keeps me wanting to be a better man .When i pray for courage he gives me opportunity to face my fears.My hope today is to face and in joy the opportunity he brings today.Delbertc


    For me at this time the most important issue is for me to FORGIVE MYSELF.


  • Hi. When I was 18 and about 3 mos. pregnant w/ my oldest, My "best friend" lied to my then b-f that I had cheated on him. She was 20, getting back at me for something that happened when I was 15. (and that wasn't my fault) She was getting back at me fot the guy that she was with (who was cheating on his g-f w/ her) wanted to stay at my house. Where'd he have to sneak in the window and leave by 6a in the morning instead of just going to her house. So anyway, the end result was that he started hitting me and in the end, committed a murder/suicide. When I was about 23, I started talking to her. I decided to forgive but never forget. She is still my friend today. I forgave her. It was all stupid teenage crap. It just happened to have a real bad ending but none the less, it happened and it couldn't be changed.I forgave her but I'll never forget. That one incident, had a major impact on 3 lives. Mine. his, and our son's. But I definately was the more mature person. Either way, the moral to the story is, forgive but never forget. You have learned a valuable lesson if nothing else. You are the better person. Don't let anybody ever get you down. Just always learn from it and keep moving on. Once it has happened, you can't change it. But learn from it. At least some good will come from it. I hope my story has helped at least one person. God bless

  • Thanks Emergence for two awesome articles. I realize that I can have a hard time forgiving things, especially very hurtful things and it has been pointed out for me within this thread as well as others. I am progressing, albeit slowly but surely. Enlightenment is always the ultimate goal for me, learning is the ladder to ultimate enlightenment, growth and progression.

    Thank you again!!


  • Darkness Angel,

    You are right, I believe if we surround ourselves with positive people, laugher and fun, somehow we will be drawn to think positively. It takes positive energies to create more positive energies. We can also let positive energies get rid of the negative energies that are in us, if we want to.

    Lots of love to you!

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