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FORGIVENESS - LETTING GO OF THE HURT

Updated on May 2, 2011

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” Robert Muller

Your spouse was unfaithful to you, or physically or emotionally abused you. Your best friend misunderstood you and or told you something hurtful. Your sibling did something to offend you. At some point in our lives, we have all been hurt by the actions or words of someone we love, that left us with feelings of bitterness and anger. What is the end result? Resentment, vengeance (in some cases) and hostility that oftentimes leave us feeling bitter and depressed. How can you forgive such terrible acts?

What is forgiveness? It is simply making a decision to let go of the hurt and pain caused by another, or the act of pardoning somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing. Of course you will always remember the wrong done, but when you forgive it will lessen the pain or hurt and help you to understand, empathize and have compassion for the person who inflicted the pain. It does not mean that you are justifying the wrong or excusing the act. Forgiveness will give you peace and help you to move on positively with your life. Refusing to forgive by holding on to the anger, resentment and hurt can make your own life miserable. When you are unforgiving it will be difficult to maintain a relationship and rob you of the chance of being happy, because you are so wrapped up in the past wrong that you cannot enjoy the present.

“Sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don't worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time.” Sara Paddison

So how should you go about forgiving? First, forgive yourself. Many times we blame ourselves or feel responsible for something someone else did wrong to us. We need to stop this - it is not your fault, but the fault of the person who did the wrong. Or sometimes things happen in our lives - another person may not be involved- but we blame ourselves and find it hard to forgive ourselves, and so we go around with this heavy burden or noose around our necks. If you cannot forgive yourself, then you cannot forgive someone else. Secondly, you need to get rid of the negative emotions of what happened. It is hard, really hard. Thirdly, tell the person you have forgiven him or her. This should be done preferable in person – face to face. If you think that you are going to be too emotional, then a letter will do. Let the person know that you were hurt, but despite this, you are willing to forgive. After you have done this, do not mention the situation or hurt again, in other words, do not bring it up if ever there is a disagreement.

There are times when there cannot be any reconciliation, even after you have forgiven the person who caused you hurt. This is especially so with a spouse who have caused you terrible pain and anguish. Forgiving your spouse does not always mean resuming a relationship. If your spouse refuses to meet you halfway or has been abusive, it may be better to forgive simply to make your own life less stressful, but continue to keep your distance.

For those couples who are willing to forgive and reconcile, then both must agree that they are willing to sit and discuss the issue. Both must be willing to LISTEN to each other and to refrain from pointing the finger or blaming the other. Then the offender should apologize and ask for forgiveness. The offended person must then agree to forgive and not to use the issue in the future as a weapon in other misunderstandings.

Remember, forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, as it releases you from the burden of anger and pain. So choose forgiveness instead and live in the present and not the past.

“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.-Bryant H. McGill

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    • profile image

      femi 5 years ago

      Dr. Ope i do understand the concept of forgiveness however it is a process. Thanks for such kind advice. I am trying. thanks.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you for visiting femi. Yes, forgiveness is a process. It is not easy to forgive, especially when you have been hurt badly. It takes time, but it should be done to promote healing.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      Great hub, Dr. Ope! It has taken me awhile to accept the concept of forgiveness and to live in the present and not in the past. I get better each day. Thank you!

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you Dexter. Keep working at it, it will get easier. All the best.

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 5 years ago

      Excellent hub. Holding a grudge hurts no one but the grudge-holder. I find it very easy to forgive, because I accept that mankind has flaws and no one I've ever known is worthy of that much of my energy.

      voted up/useful

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you Fay. Agree with you, no one is worth that energy, it is easier to forgive. Thanks for the visit and Take care

    • Olojo Oluwasegun profile image

      Olojo Oluwasegun 5 years ago from Lagos Nigeria

      FORGIVENESS IS RENEWAL OF LIFE. GOOD WORK

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you Olojo, I do agree with you. Thanks for stopping by.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Thank you Dr. Ope - How does a person forgive another who was indirectly a cause of someones death? And the same question goes to forgiving a church for contributing to a persons death. I love your beautiful hub on forgiveness. I lost my son to cancer, but I feel he could have beat the disease if not for the stress he went through. I truly want to forgive. . .I just can't.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Hi vocalcoach, thank you for your visit. I know that it is sometimes hard to forgive, especially in a case as mentioned. One day you will find it in your heart to forgive - it sometimes takes time- when your heart heals.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I read your hub three times. As I was thinking about all that you have said on forgiveness, I began to feel something different within myself - very deep inside. I began to "let go" of my judgemental feelings toward those I have partially blamed for my son's death. I realized that I must rise above my negative feelings if I am to be a loving person. Thank you, with all my heart for bringing me to this point. My heart is now lighter.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      vocalcoach. I am happy to know that my hub helped you to find forgiveness in your heart and to let go of the pain and hurt. Forgiveness is good therapy as it 'makes the heart lighter". All the best to you.

    • Sun-Girl profile image

      Sun-Girl 5 years ago from Nigeria

      Nice and wonderful article on forgiveness which really has a deep meaning attached to it. It think i believe all you said on forgiveness especially the one you quoted that "there is no love without forgiveness" Nice article which am voting up! Thanks for sharing this Bravo.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thanks for reading Sun-Girl. I am happy that you found deep meaning in the article. Yes, for us to truly love, we must forgive. All the best!

    • Brinafr3sh profile image

      Brinafr3sh 5 years ago from West Coast, United States

      Hi Dr.Ope,

      This hub is beautiful. I can forgive and release, with letting of the burden of pain and anger. Awesome

    • Brinafr3sh profile image

      Brinafr3sh 5 years ago from West Coast, United States

      Hi Dr.Ope,

      This hub is beautiful. I can forgive and release, with letting go of the burden of pain and anger. Awesome

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you Brinafre3sh. forgiving someone is good therapy. All the best

    • profile image

      kevstar007 5 years ago

      Dr.Ope you have done well in this hub,I am in the process of many issues surrounding self-forgiveness. And forgiving others is a horse of a different color. Please understand they are different processes all together. I have grown to the point that I have forgiven the man that killed my sister without ever meeting him, knowing it was though foolishness and street mentality. Something I did myself paying the price. I haven't forgiven myself for the years of drug abuse and blaming others for my situation. The step down from a leadership role under pressure, my greatest resentment. Thank you.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thanks for the visit. Yes, forgiveness is very hard and I am glad that you are working at forgiving yourself. If you cannot forgive yourself, then it will be hard to forgive others. Good luck with the process, it will take time.Be patient.

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

      Beautifully done and right on the mark as always. Great work!

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you Phoebe Pike! I need to pay you a visit.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Great hub about an important topic that's often misunderstood.

      I love the wisdom in your last sentence: "Remember, forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, as it releases you from the burden of anger and pain. So choose forgiveness instead and live in the present and not the past."

      I agree that we ourselves gain peace and the quality of our lives improves if we are able to forgive and release the pain that others may have caused us. Difficult, yes, but so is holding onto all that anger and pain.

      Voted up and useful.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you Happyboomernurse. Yes, forgiving someone who has hurt you is really hard. But living with that hurt is even harder. Forgiveness brings peace to the soul.Thanks for reading my hub and all the best!

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi DO, thank you for a helpful look at hurt and the way we deal with it. I agree that forgiveness is the most effective course. Key in that is the acknowledging that you choose to forgive and you choose to release them from what you considered a debt owed to you. All my best. =:)

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you Winsome and all the best to you too!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is a great hub! It's so true that forgiveness begins with forgiving oneself. Getting rid of the negative emotions is difficult. Journaling can help. I hope you will write a hub about the subject of purging negative emotions in the future. Thank you!

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you vespawoolf. Yes indeed, forgiveness begins with forgiving oneself. I will take your advice on writing that hub. All the best to you and thanks for the visit!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Sara Paddison's quote stuck me as a powerful truth in forgiveness. We can't judge others, we must let it go and allow them to deal with wrong (or to heal) in their own time. I know people who held onto unforgiveness for years and it manifested in some form of illness. Great hub topic and voted up!

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thanks for your vote teaches12345. Yes, holding a grudge is very burdensome, I know this from experience. There is this 'light' feeling that comes with forgiveness. All the best to you and I will pay you a visit soon.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Dear Dr Ope ~ Thank you for finding me and becoming a friend on Hubpages. These words have touched many deeply, as 'forgiveness' and 'forgiving' are keys to healing in all ways. Thank you for the reminder. Blessings, Debby

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thanks for your visit DebbyBruck. Yes, forgiveness brings healing and peace. All the best to you.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      I do believe in forgiveness and about cleansing my mind now and then so that only positive thoughts remain there

      Thanks for a wonderful hub

      Sharing

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S 5 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      You are right! Forgiveness helps us to heal from our past hurts. We need to let of the past and move forward than holding grudges. Good Hub! Voted up and shared on twitter.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      thumbi7 you are most welcome. Thank you for stopping by and all the best to you.

    • Sneha Sunny profile image

      Sneha Sunny 5 years ago from India

      Forgiveness is one of the best qualities a person can have. By my own experience I can say that forgiving someone actually makes you feel light and happy. Thank you for this amazing hub.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Anamika S thank you for agreeing with me, we can only move on if we forgive. Thank you for your high vote and for sharing on twitter. All the best to you.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you Sneha Sunny. I am happy that you have experienced the happiness and lightheartedness that come with forgiveness. Thanks for your visit and all the best to you and yours.

    • Diana Mendes profile image

      Diana Mendes 5 years ago

      Great hub Dr Ope. I always want to know how to forgive. Thanks for the good advice. I try my best to forgive. I actually forgive from my heart but remember the hurts time & again. It keeps playing in my mind like a recording. God bless you. Thanks for sharing.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you Diana Mendes. I am happy that you found my hub useful. I know from experience that it is very hard to forgive, especially if someone hurt you really badly. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to be able to do this, but think about how much better you will feel emotionally and physically after you have forgiven some one. Trust me, the feeling is worth it. Thank you for your visit and all the best.

    • Loi-Renee profile image

      Loi-Renee 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Forgiveness does take time and it is the best and healthy way to go. But it can be hard to forgive someone when you are constantly reminded of the way they hurt you. Especially if they are the ones rubbing it in your face.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      An excellent article with good advice, your last paragraph really stood out for me and I have read it several times.

      Thank you for sharing and voted up.

      Best wishes Lesley

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Loi-Renee, yes forgiveness takes time, as it is very hard especially when you were hurt badly. Thank you for stopping by and all the best.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Thank you for your high vote and comments Movie Master. All the best to you.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

      I agree that forgiveness is for our own healing. Years ago I almost cherished resentment I held on so firmly to it - and I was unhappy. It was when I began to forgive that I began to grow truly happy and to experience deep peace.

      Very often what we think is wrong-doing isn’t even that - it’s action taken from confused beliefs. I grew up in a Christian household and though I am not a church-goer, I often find myself lately thinking of what Jesus said, “Forgive them Father, they no not what they do.” Forgiveness is a process, and one that’s worth persevering with.

      And I also agree that self-forgiveness is very important. You are right that we can only forgive others when we can forgive ourselves.

      A great hub!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Forgiveness and love go hand and hand. You have explained the process in a way most people can understand. I agree that forgiveness releases you from pain. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry! Voted up.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Melovy thank you for your kind comments. Forgiveness is hard,I must admit, but it only then that we will find peace. All the best to you.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      You are so right in this well-written hub of yours! Forgiving others help us in forgetting the past and concentrate more in the present & future peacefully & happily. I myself often find it hard to forgive people who did very harsh or blunt things to me. However, over time with my wise parents's guidance, I learnt to forgive. Your hub is a true eye-opener!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up & socially shared.

    • TINA V profile image

      TINA V 5 years ago

      This is a very insightful hub. I am sure that one time in our life, we have hurt somebody that that person also forgave us of our mistakes. I agree with you; a person must learn to forgive himself first before he can forgive others. Forgiving others is not easy and when I find it hard, I just remember that God has also forgiven me of my sins.

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      This is a wonderful hub. Thanks for sharing all this useful information. Thank you so much for being the very first one to sign in on my Fan Club. I am looking forward to more of your Hubs. Thanks again.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      iswaryaa22 thank you for your visit and for your high vote. Forgiving one for hurting you is hard and it takes a while. But the good thing is that we learn to let go and forgive - even if it takes a while. Your parents guided you well. All the best to you.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      TINA V thank you for your comments and visit. Yes, if we want forgiveness from God, then we have to learn to forgive self and others. All the best to you!

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 5 years ago

      Ruby H Rose, you are most welcome! Thank you too for stopping by for a visit and leaving your comment. Ib will visit you again soon. All the best on hubpages!

    • profile image

      SandCastles 4 years ago

      This is the best article that I have ever read on forgiveness.

      Sometimes it's not a good idea to tell someone that you forgive them. If the person is really abusive they could take your words as a sign to harass you further. In other situations, I think it is healing to say the words, "I forgive you".

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 4 years ago

      Hi SandCastles,

      Thank you for your visit and comments. Yes, abusive persons will sometimes take your words as a sign to further harass. The victim needs to be clear and let it be known that, "although I forgive you, it does not mean that I accept the abuse or harassment". Forgiveness is good therapy and it allows you to move on, especially in situations where you have been hurt emotionally.

      All the best to you.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
      Author

      Olive Ellis 4 years ago

      You are welcome! Sorry about your hurt. I know that it is hard to forgive. It is easy to say than to do. What I have learnt from experience though, is that, going around with that hurt and hate every day took a lot out of me. I feel so much 'lighter' when I "let it go". It doesn't mean though that you do not remember the hurt and pain, but it means that you will not let it control your life. Letting go means moving on with your life.

      You will learn to trust again. All the best to you.

    • Dr.Ope profile image
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      Olive Ellis 4 years ago

      Thanks for your kind words. I am glad that I was able to help in my 'small' way. I hope that your relationship will work out. I am glad you realize your strength as a woman. Use this strength to do positive things for yourself and your marriage. All the best to you.

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