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Forgiveness: A Process for Healing

Updated on October 25, 2016
Forgiveness can lighten our lives through a feeling of peace.
Forgiveness can lighten our lives through a feeling of peace.
Forgiveness leaves you with a feeling of peace and better health.
Forgiveness leaves you with a feeling of peace and better health.

In life, some things don't always come easy, and forgiveness is often one of those things. When someone hurts you, especially someone close to you, it can be difficult to forgive them. Often we become angry when others hurt us, and that anger can build into resentment. Like a wound left untreated, the anger and resentment worsen and infect our whole being. Before we let anger infect and affect us, we need to learn to forgive.

What is forgiveness?

Simply put, forgiveness means to stop being angry with someone who has hurt you; to pardon someone. Forgiveness means letting go of the feelings of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness means not holding a grudge. Forgiveness does NOT mean forgetting or condoning what a person did to hurt you.

Why should we forgive?

Many studies have been done on forgiveness and why it is important. Generally, studies indicate people who forgive have lower blood pressure and reduced stress levels. Also, people who forgive show fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression and reduced chronic pain. Overall, people who forgive experience better health, both physically and emotionally. They also experience a more positive spiritual well-being. Basically, people who learn to forgive others are happier than if they had not forgiven.

How do you forgive another person?

Forgiveness is a process that occurs over time. It may be easier to forgive someone who is sorry for causing you hurt, but people don't always offer apologies. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive others who are not sorry for the hurt they caused you, and forgiving under these circumstances can be extremely difficult. Yet, in order to find true peace and happiness, you must learn to forgive, even the people who've hurt you the most.

We find peace when we forgive.
We find peace when we forgive.

Books on forgiveness

Giving a gift to you:

Helpful video on forgiveness:

The Process of forgiveness.

To heal from hurt, one must begin to forgive. The process of forgiveness starts at acknowledging anger and moves toward feeling a state of peace.This process may happen quickly, or it may take years, depending on the nature of the relationship and how the person hurt you. In any event, it's in your best interest to start the process of forgiveness.

  • Identify your feelings. First acknowledge your anger and/or feelings of resentment. It's normal to get angry when someone hurts you, especially if that person is close to you. But to hold on to the angry feelings over time helps no one; it just makes the situation worse and the relationship more strained. If you are holding a grudge against the person who has hurt you, recognize that you are indeed holding a grudge and that by holding on to those feelings, you are making yourself feel bad. It may help to write a letter to yourself about how you feel; sometimes feelings are easier to identify if you write them down.
  • Reflect on the facts. Sometimes when we hang on to anger and it turns into resentment, we lose track of the situation and what actually happened. Over time in our minds we make the act which needs to be forgiven worse than it actually was. This in turn causes our feelings of hurt to deepen. Take a hard, long objective look at the situation and re-evaluate your response. Does the action that caused you hurt merit so much of your time and energy?
  • Move toward realization. Realize that when you spend so much time feeling hurt, you are playing a victim role. When you fail to forgive, you are becoming a slave to your anger and resentment and losing your ability to be at peace. Life is far too short to waste time feeling angry about something that happened in the past. That does not mean you should forget the past and what happened; instead ackowledge your feelings about what happened and try to learn from the situation. Put aside grudges, and focus on other positive aspects of your life. Take charge of you and how you react to the situation that caused you pain.

Forgiveness can be difficult, but it is necessary if one is to find peace. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can control how we react. The best gift you can give yourself is giving yourself permission to forgive even when you have been hurt deeply.


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    • josiejossy profile image


      8 years ago from Nairobi Kenya

      Mhhh i like every bit of it espcly this; Life is far too short to waste time feeling angry about something that happened in the past. Nce hub everyone should learn to forgive by change of altitude..

    • akune profile image


      9 years ago from Surrey, England, United Kingdom

      Thank you for your hub. I also learned that forgiveness was no longer requiring the hurters to pay for their actions. Truly letting them go free.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      9 years ago from Wales

      A great hub on a very sensitive topic.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Take care


    • Dovay Lee profile image

      Dovay Lee 

      9 years ago from China

      Learn much from it. I will follow you all the time. Good luck to you in 2011

    • Gigi2 profile image


      10 years ago from UK

      You can forgive, but it is impossible to forget. A lovely hub, I have just written about my experiences of forgiving, without which I could not have the life I have today. Thank you for your insight.

    • Julie A. Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

      Marina Rosa, Yes, I agree forgiveness does equal freedom. So glad you discovered your own power. Thank you for your insight. Julie

    • Marina Rosa profile image

      Marina Rosa 

      12 years ago from Southern California

      You make a wonderful point. Thank you. For me, Forgiveness = Freedom. It is another great paradox that in forgiving the wrongs done to us by others those wrongs lose their power to hurt or control us.I had to become willing to give up my role as "victim" in order to discover my own power.

    • Julie A. Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

      marisue, Rob does make a good point, and you make some very insightful comments too. I agree forgiveness is a journey--another curve in the road of life. Thank you. Julie

    • marisuewrites profile image


      12 years ago from USA

      Rob! Your comment about forgiveness being for the forgiver is so true. When we forgive, the pain of what the person did to us...GOES AWAY. What a gift!!! That is the design of frees you, and it's a gift to the one who caused the pain as well, but they have to accept if...and most don't.

      Great advice in this hub!! tips for living, pain free....and it IS a journey....=)))

    • Julie A. Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

      dayzeebee, Your welcome. and thank you for your enlightening response. The art of learning to forgive one's self often takes years to master, but it is so important if one is to be at peace. Thank you. Julie

      Rob, Thank you for your insightful comments. Forgiveness is so very important for both the person being forgiven and the forgiver. Forgiveness really affects a whole being--physically, emotionally, and perhaps most importantly--spiritually. Thanks for your positive comments. Julie

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 

      12 years ago from Midwest USA

      Great hub on an extremely important topic. As Maylinda pointed out, forgiveness is more for the forgiver than for the forgiven. I firmly believe that the ability to forgive is the single-most important quality we must grasp, learn, and do in order to be truly forgiven. Excellent work.

    • dayzeebee profile image


      12 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Julie, this is a great guide for a challenging act. it's one that sometimes takes years to process. the longest part for me was ,as dottie pointed out, forgiving the self. now that i have learned to see myself in the eyes of God, the process has become easier. thank you for another wonderful lesson.:)

    • Julie A. Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

      Maylinda, I think you are quite right--- in order to be healthy, both physically and emotionally, one must learn to forgive. Thank you for your comments. Julie

    • Julie A. Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

      Dottie1, Thank you. You bring up a very important point about forgiving ones self, too! Thank you for your insight. Julie

    • Maylinda Arons profile image

      Maylinda Arons 

      12 years ago

      Forgiveness is even healither for those who forgive that for those who are forgiven. It's necessary for peace of mind, I think.

    • Dottie1 profile image


      12 years ago from MA, USA

      Nice article Julie. As I get older I realize my failure to forgive is a drag on my life that I can't afford to keep. I try to remember to always forgive myself too.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      You're welcome, Julie. Thank you in return for a quality and thought provoking hub :)

    • Julie A. Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

      New True Reflections, Thank you for your positive comments, and you are so right--forgiveness can be a tough task, but so important. Julie

      Ananta, Thank you for your insightful remarks about communicating and continuing a relationship; I agree it's not necessary to stay in contact with a person that hurt you. Good point. Thanks. Julie

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      In addition to what talented_ink mentions (which I agree to), I would say that forgiving does not necessarily mean that you maintain the contact with the person that hurt you. Quite often people seem to think that forgiving is the same as continuing the relationship, but this is not necessarily true. Forgiveness is as ceounlimited says: letting go. As described in your hub it is about not holding on to your anger, feeding it, but rather acknowledgement and letting go.

    • New Reflection profile image

      New Reflection 

      12 years ago from The Real World

      Beautifully done! Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to accomplish, but definitely worth it.

      Great job!

    • Julie A. Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

      Veronica, So glad you enjoyed it! Thank you. Julie

      ceounlimited. You are blessed if you have your health. I'm glad you found it within yourself to let go of pain and regain peace of mind. Thank you for sharing your experience. Julie

    • ceounlimited profile image


      12 years ago from California

      Hi Julie, this is a real and timely topic. The most difficult battle I have ever had to fight was with my heart... convincing myself to stop savouring the essence of pain and to simply let it go. When I finally did... it was the most refreshing feeling I have ever had, my blood pressure returned to its normal rate and my migranes decreased from 5 to 6 times a month to 1 or 2 every couple of month or so. Nothing is worth my peace of mind or my health.

    • Veronica Bright profile image

      Veronica Bright 

      12 years ago from Nebraska

      Excellent hub Julie. I enjoyed reading it.


    • Julie A. Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      12 years ago from Duluth, MN

      talented-ink, I agree whole-heartedly--forgiveness provides a way for us to move on! Thank you so much for your insightful comments. Julie

    • talented_ink profile image


      12 years ago from USA

      This is a good hub and I agree with you about the power and necessity of forgiveness. I wrote a hub called self empowerment through forgiveness, and one big thing we overlook is that forgiveness isn't just forgiving a person for what they did to us, but forgiveness is also a way of us being able to move on from that wrong.


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