How Do You Forgive Someone?

Written by Christine Kane

At the retreats I facilitate, I’m often asked, “So, how do you forgive someone?” I’ve also been asked by several readers of this blog to write about forgiveness.

This is not always a comfortable subject for me — mostly because there are so many levels to it, and so many ways to interpret and misinterpret it. I’ve also noticed that people sometimes want to hold on to the idea of themselves as “victims” of something or someone – and they will fight to keep that victim identity alive by fighting any notion that challenges that identity. This is the socially accepted place of our culture.

Forgiveness challenges that identity. Self-responsibility challenges that identity. The Law of Attraction certainly challenges that identity.

So, I’ll simply say that I’m beginning a conversation with you here. This is my experience of forgiveness. It has evolved over time, and it will continue to evolve. You can continue the conversation in the comments…

Forgiveness and Judgment

Things that happen to us or in our lives only have the meaning we give them. The very idea of forgiveness implies that you first believe that someone has done you wrong. (She left me for someone else!) It implies resistance to the present moment or to a past moment. (This should never have happened!) It implies judgment from either a God outside of us or from us. (She’s a bad person for ruining the value of our relationship and family!) And it implies a belief in sin or wrong-doing. (She’s wrong for breaking up with me!) Our egos get stronger when we feel we have been wronged, or that something should’ve happened differently. (I am right. She is wrong. Therefore, I am better than she is. And that feels good.)

My sense of forgiveness is that it is ultimately an act of release or surrender. It is actually done for the forgiver, more than for the person who is forgiven.

I have compassion for the hurt and grief that may arise when something “bad” happens or “is done” to us. And, though I’m certainly not always capable of living at this level of thinking, I don’t necessarily believe that there is a wrong thing. And I know that this is not a popular way of seeing the world. The further I go on my path, the more challenged I am with the idea of sin. The word “sin” has been translated in different ways. The Greek word “hamartia” is usually translated as “sin” in the New Testament — it’s an archery term, and it means “to miss the mark,” or “to miss the target.”

I see plenty of unconsciousness, or missing the mark. But I don’t see sin. I have behaved unconsciously, and I have certainly missed the mark. But, I don’t see myself as a “sinner.”

Forgiveness and Sin

Back in elementary school, all us Catholic kids had to take CCD once a week. One year, I had a CCD teacher who taught us about sin in this way: She dragged the chalkboard on its big wooden stand into the center of the room. She erased it. She said, “This is what your soul looks like when you’re born. A clean slate.”

Then she made a big chalk mark on the board.

She said, “This is what a sin looks like on your soul.”

She made another mark and said, “This is another sin.” Then, she frenetically slashed the board with her chalk. “These are more sins.” Finally, she shaded the whole board until it was white. She concluded, “When your soul is completely covered with marks — that’s when you go to hell.” (Catholic Game Over.)

Even though her theological nightmarish “this-is-your-brain-on-drugs” class scared the be-jeezus out of me at the time, it led me to ponder the idea of sin. After that class, I spent hours thinking about sin. If that chalkboard model were correct, would I get the same mark for stealing a piece of gum from 7-11 as someone who stole a car? How does God measure these things? I thought about this in bed late at night until I had created a continuum from the stolen gum into involuntary manslaughter, and across the line over into Hitler. I truly couldn’t find the place where any God would actually say, “Well, this sin is okay. But this dude totally crossed the line!” And what about kids who grew up in poverty on the street? What if they stole because they had no other model? It never made sense.

In college, when I was a theology major, I hung out with lots of Jesuit priests. One of them said to me that confession was more about your relationship with yourself – a way to get clear about your own consciousness and your own recognition of unconscious behavior. He added, “But God cannot forgive you. God never condemned you in the first place.” This was radical for me to hear at the time. (And would probably get the Jesuit ex-communicated if he had said it to anyone else.)

Forgiveness and Selfishness

I don’t believe in a God outside of me anymore. I believe in consciousness. I believe that this consciousness is energy. It is love. And it is infinite. If it is infinite, then it doesn’t stop at my skin or at your skin. It is all things.

My judgment of you is just that. Mine. It says more about me than it does about you. Your judgment of me is yours. When we forgive, we are actually being selfish and self-responsible. We are releasing ourselves from judgment. We are releasing the thought that we know the way it should’ve gone, or the way it should be. We are freeing ourselves. As the saying goes: “To choose not to forgive someone is like drinking poison and hoping they will die.”

Some people say that this way of thinking is egocentric. I know that it makes me the most empowered person I can be. I know that it makes me responsible for my own life and my own actions. If I take responsibility for everything that happens to me (or everything that happens, period!), then as I change, the outside changes too.

Forgiveness and Willingness

So, what happens when you’re in a place of anger or pain, and even though you “get” this whole idea of how forgiveness is selfish – you can’t forgive someone? Can you will yourself to let go? Can you force yourself to forgive?

My experience has shown me that you can begin with willingness. You can work with “wanting to forgive.” (Or even “wanting to want to forgive.”) It has to start with the intent to see things differently. Or even the willingness to stop seeing yourself as the victim. Willingness has a lot of power.

Years ago, I went through a break-up of a relationship. My former partner was bad-mouthing me to a lot of people, including many in my professional life. I was so angry that the only thing I could do was to write in my journal every morning, “I am willing to forgive you, John.” (Not his real name.) I wrote that over and over each day.

Slowly, I got a great lesson. The week I began that writing practice, someone randomly gave me a set of tapes by Caroline Myss. The message on those tapes opened up my heart and my mind in a new way. I clearly saw my role in this situation. I took responsibility for my part. The forgiveness began. But I don’t think I could have forced it. I only watched the growth unfold. It was messy. It was uncomfortable. And I held onto the willingness throughout it. It took a long time. Now, I am grateful for the whole experience.

There are obviously many paths to forgiveness. That was one path for me. The question of how to forgive someone can only be answered by each person who chooses to forgive. Forgiveness is an act of creativity. As such, it will have nuances and lessons that could only come through its creator. For a while, it may feel messy. It may feel ugly. But as Caroline Myss says on one of those tapes, “You have this choice: to get bitter, or to get better.”

If you've ever believed it was impossible to be totally authentic AND make lots of money in your business - then you're not alone. Purposeful entrepreneurs want it REAL - and I promise to deliver! Get my FREE VIDEO, and I will walk you step-by-step through my own Uplevel Fast Track Formula for making money... on your own terms and in your own way. Enter your email and let's get started!

Email This Post

{43 comments ... read them below or add one}

Self Improvement and Law of Attraction Link Love, Volume 29 | Today is that Day
September 14, 2007 at 11:17 pm
Self Improvement and Law of Attraction Link Love, Volume 29
August 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm
Quora
October 25, 2012 at 9:55 am

{43 comments ... read them below or add one}

Rodney September 10, 2007 at 3:21 am

Yep, all of the above. Well stated & spot on.

[Reply]

Elaine September 10, 2007 at 3:44 am

A very powerful post…thanks Christine. The chalkboard experience is frightening. I can only imagine the impact of this on a young child – Scarey!!

I agree I don’t think it’s egocentric, it’s about taking responsibility and as you say the inside changes the outside.

[Reply]

Alvin September 10, 2007 at 5:44 am

This post is so spot on, Christine, and something I’m struggling to learn at the moment.

There’s someone I know whom I just discovered has been bad-mouthing me for the last few months – which opens my eyes to a lot of things he’s been doing.

At first I was bemused at how much attention this lad was paying me and how little I’d been thinking of him at all.

But little by little I found myself starting to hate him – hate him for all the little things about him I found annoying.

Talk about Freudian moments! I know at some point that I am projecting my own faults onto him – I’m ‘drinking poison and hoping that someone else will die’.

Knowing that hate will only dis-empower me, I realized I needed to forgive him, but it is easier said than done to take the high ground. Yet in moments when I have, I feel this incredible feeling of compassion and lightness. And in moments when I don’t, irritation and competitiveness.

Forgiveness. Sounds weak but actually takes so much strength to do.

[Reply]

sheista September 10, 2007 at 8:32 am

Excellent!
Working on forgiveness is part of my daily intention. Right now I am feeling messy and ugly. Your insight brings me renewed thinking.

[Reply]

Diotima September 10, 2007 at 9:03 am

Great post, Christine! And to take your comment about God a bit further; if there is no God outside of us, if we are all part of a unified ever-present and ever-expanding Consciousness, then we all play our part in co-creating the reality we experience. We can’t help creating – we do it just by being a conscious being. So if we choose not to forgive – or at least to work on being willing to forgive – then we choose to hold an energy of anger and resentment close to our hearts in our reality – and who needs that!?

I went through the former lover bad-mouthing me to all who would listen experience, too. Finally realized I just didn’t want to feel like that anymore, I wanted to laugh and be free and open to new experiences — and I couldn’t do that while I was all constricted with anger and hurt. And the only way to be free was to take responsibility for my own emotions, and learn to let go. So I did. What an eye-opener!

Thanks for the thoughtful post.

Dio

[Reply]

Joy September 10, 2007 at 10:18 am

sometimes when i read your posts i am in awe of the profound wisdom you express. always you are “spot on” as some of your commenters say – whether it’s about cleaning out your space or giving up dairy or forgiveness. your writing has a clarity that creates these amazing gifts you give all who read your blog! and, i love that you speak from your own experience. i don’t feel like i’m being preached to.

[Reply]

Judy September 10, 2007 at 12:04 pm

Thanks Christine. It’s funny, yesterday I came across a quote from Tony Robbins. I printed it out and posted on my wall as a reminder that every day occurences are opportunities to practice forgiveness. The quote is: “Nothing has meaning but the meaning you give it.” I find that I am learning a lot about adopting an attitude of forgiveness with my partner–he’s teaching me how to let things go when I want to hold on.

[Reply]

Colin September 10, 2007 at 12:05 pm

Fellow responders, here is my food for thought: Hamartia states that there is a mark to be missed, and the further implication is that that mark has been established by something, higher, before, and outside of us. Some who responded spoke about forgiveness being the “high road”. How is high or low determined if there is no unconscious or conscious perception of an absolute? If it is all a personal interpretation, do you have the right to ask to be forgiven? Great subject to examine our belief systems, CK!

[Reply]

trista September 10, 2007 at 2:03 pm

Christine — this is so appropriate for me right now. The idea of forgiveness being more for the forgiver than the person you are trying to forgive makes it more palatable. I’ve found that the my anger is more about me than the one I am trying to forgive; I need to also forgive myself for falling into the unhealthy situation I’ve been so angry about. Thank you for your wisdom and insight.

[Reply]

randy September 10, 2007 at 3:29 pm

The God of the Bible is a loving God, “angry, wrathful, vengeful, jealous” ONLY when those He desires to help or who believe in Him are “wronged”- in a very damaging and usually physical sense – by others. For believers His Spirit is within them.

To say that there is no “wrong” and that reality is only ascribed to the things or thoughts to which WE decide to give meaning is naive. Your experience in Catholic school and throughout life are very similar to most people’s experience in different context – at the end of the day thankfully very benign and educational toward resolving direction in life versus the impacts of someone who does physical, social wrong to us, our children, to society as a whole.

As part of life’s journey and openness to all philosophies, please take a fresh, enlightened look back at God, unencumbered by the past hurts “taught” by those who themselves decided to make Him/define Him in their own image regardless of the “uniform” they wore or the philosophy they urged.

Lot’s of love, and you are forgiven!!

[Reply]

Christine Kane September 10, 2007 at 3:59 pm

hi all! alvin – I’m with colin when it comes to the idea of taking the “high road.” and colin – you’re right about the whole “hitting the mark” idea. there might not actually BE any mark. the way i look at it is a deeper “hitting the mark.” for instance, if i were to steal something… what i’m actually missing is the truth that this is an abundant world. and i’m choosing to put my faith in scarcity. that’s where i would miss the mark. does that make sense?

and thanks randy for contributing your thoughts here too – as different as they are from mine. respectfully, i just can’t see god as a “him” — nor can i view the whole idea of vengeance and wrathful…

[Reply]

matt September 10, 2007 at 4:39 pm

“For all have ‘marked on their chalkboard’ and have ‘missed the mark’ of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. fortunately God forgives us when we ask. (Therefore we can forgive others) He is real and wants to have a relationship with us. I always enjoy reading your blog Christine. All the best to you.

[Reply]

m September 10, 2007 at 6:15 pm

The most difficult form of forgiveness is not to other people but to oneself. I find that I can understand and make sense of other people’s behaviours and in some sense ‘forgive’ them but its forgiving myself for what I feel are mistakes and wrong turnings is the really hard part.

[Reply]

MK September 11, 2007 at 1:44 am

I think I asked you this very question at the last retreat. Thanks so much for this – it’s superb. I read it this morning and a few hours later picked up the October issue of Pure Inspiration and saw that there’s an article there addressing this topic. If you want a copy I’ll send it to you.

[Reply]

Talat September 11, 2007 at 4:06 am

Why do you have to tie the idea of “wrong” with sin? Wrong is something so simple. If I just go and kick someone sitting there, what I did is wrong to him.The idea of “wrongness” need not come from the concept of Christian sin, in fact I never take wrong that way.

[Reply]

Christine Kane September 11, 2007 at 10:09 am

thanks matt – i never saw that romans quote before! :-)

m – yes, that’s a biggie. but these same principles apply. most of us are harder on ourselves than on other people. i think lots of holistic clearing/energy work helps with some of the stuckness…

talat – i don’t necessarily believe the idea of wrong OR in the idea of sin. at the highest level. kicking someone is unconscious behavior – and can be either a reaction or an aggression – and the motivation has to be looked at. but i don’t think it needs to be given our human label of “wrong” or “right.”

[Reply]

Danny September 11, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Christine, I am with you on the concept of Source, or God, or [insert your label of choice, here], being EVERYWHERE and the essence of everything. I consciously go through life looking for the beauty in people and their beliefs. It feels good to have at attitude of gratitude that I can find beauty in our differences.

On forgiveness, in my experience, forgiving myself is a powerful thing and often opens the door to be able to forgive others, and feel good. I have processes that I go through, but I never gave enough thought about the processes that others use until I started studying the Law of Attraction several months ago.

“…confession was more about your relationship with yourself – a way to get clear about your own consciousness and your own recognition of unconscious behavior.”

Having never been Catholic, I always wondered about the role of going to confession. Recently, while speaking to a friend who is catholic, that point became clear to me. She was speaking to me about a difficult time she was having and how she needed to go to confession, and THEN, suddenly I understood.

It was quite an eye-opening revelation, to see such a beautiful mechanism in her faith. She needed that process in order to forgive HERSELF for what she perceived as a horrible transgression.

Once I realized that, I could see that once a she had been through that process, she felt better about herself, and then attracted more of that feeling good. Just another example of the Law of Attraction at work.

Thanks, as always for sharing with us!

[Reply]

Mindi September 11, 2007 at 2:09 pm

My mom is a counseling psychologist and has done a lot of research on forgiveness, including leading workshops. One thing she said that stuck out for me is that “forgiveness is not the same as trust.” When we’ve been hurt by another, it can be hard to forgive if we think that means we have to completely trust them again, especially when we have been hurt physically, or hurt by someone else’s destructive behavior. It doesn’t. We can forgive those who have hurt us while at the same time honoring ourselves, recognizing that each of us have faults and that this person, even if they do not intend to, may hurt us or another again. We can forgive them for what they have done to us, freeing ourselves from the pain and anger on our side, without having to blindly trust them not to do it again.

Forgiveness allows us to let go of our own bitterness and anger, to deal with our own emotions, not the emotions and actions of others, because we cannot control what they can do–we can only control ourselves. We all know people who hold a grudge–they become defined by that grudge. Forgiveness lets us let go of that hold on our lives to define us by what someone else has done to us, and frees us to define ourselves by our own actions.

Great post! Lots to think about.

[Reply]

Debra Roby September 11, 2007 at 4:27 pm

Perfect timing. Thank you. I’m still working through the issues of having been abused by my mother. The idea of forgiving her seems so wrong… but the idea of releasing the judgement about her behavior (I know she did the best she could), and accepting my responsibility for what happens to me now. THAT I can do. That’s what I’m working on.

I can work on not seeing myself as a victim; and not seeing myself as a victim anymore.

I just removed “hell is for children” from all my music media. It is a song that can fire me with energy, but it’s angry energy which really damages me more than helps more.

I’m working to move to a healthier energy place now.
(see ya in Berkeley…)

[Reply]

Rob September 11, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Christine, I can’t follow your logic in the stealing example you gave in a previous post. Should I not teach my daughter that stealing is ‘wrong’, as we commonly define wrong in our culture? If I tell her, “Honey, it’s just that there is great abundance in our universe, therefore it isn’t necessary to take what isn’t yours..”, then can’t she or somebody else reply “Yes, there is abundance in our universe..and here is an example- this thing I want right in front of me! So let me just reach out and take it!” Really, if there is no ‘wrong’, then I think her reply-question would be a good one…_Why Not_ just take it??

[Reply]

Christine Kane September 11, 2007 at 5:43 pm

danny – the way you connected the catholic idea of confession with LoA is great. and so true. thanks for the thoughts…

thanks mindi – your mom sounds cool. i would add that at the deepest level, i don’t believe things can be done TO us. (and this is the deepest level, or highest truth.) If i am living consciously and in the present moment, it’s just not possible. and i believe that trust is an inside job too. when you trust you, when you trust your own intuitions and presence, then trust isn’t the issue either.

debra – i love what you wrote about the music. i do the same things with songs that make my heart hurt remembering those pieces of high school drama in me. it’s weird that they can conjure up that old victim-y stuff. thanks for sharing all that.

hiya rob… very good point. how about this…let’s first take your daughter out of this picture. i can’t tell someone what to tell their kids – as I don’t have any of my own! you’re right – if you don’t use the word “wrong,” then it’s kind of hard to define ANYTHING. but it DOES go deeper than the concept of “wrong.” for me personally, i have to know the place from where I want to live my life…fear or love. the question of “stealing” will lead me to ask myself – okay, what is motivating me here and how do I want to live my life? is it fear? or is it love? is it scarcity? or is it abundance? stealing (in my experience of it – wrong or no) is motivated by fear/contraction/”get yours!”/ no need to honor other people! not to mention scarcity and powerlessness. (someone who steals doesn’t see how he/she can be powerful enough to purchase the thing or that there’s even enough in the world for him/her. this – by law of attraction – perpetuates itself until the person is in a tangle of that mindset. approaching the idea of stealing from this angle – in my experience – is a much more healing and wise approach than simply saying “it’s wrong!” but even deeper, it’s giving me so much more power in my own life. i approach everything from this angle. even stuff that happens “to” me.

[Reply]

lisa September 11, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Christine,
as always, THANKS for the gentle nudges back to The Center – which for me (also)is the choice between fear and love.

on this powerful anniversary for our nation, i sigh a deep and healing breath of all that’s Holy (whatever we call The Holy)and choose to be (as Kabir describes) “a slave of intensity” when he wrote “If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive, do you think ghosts will do it after?”.

yup, i choose love.

[Reply]

seventh sister September 11, 2007 at 9:42 pm

Beautifully said. A few years ago, a woman who had been rather “ugly” to me in a way that had not been acknowledged by either of us, looked me up and asked me to meet her for dinner. (We had both moved away for the town where we knew each other.) She was seeking forgiveness from me. I struggled with what I should say to her. What did she need to hear to help her feel better? I finally said something to the effect that she needed her own forgiveness, not mine and that looking me up any buying me dinner would probably be all that she needed. I hope it was.

[Reply]

Michelle September 11, 2007 at 10:02 pm

What a wonderful post. Too often we hold onto things that we should “just let go” Judy put it well in a comment when she said ““Nothing has meaning but the meaning you give it.”

A friend also once told me that “no one can make you feel anyway you don’t already feel about yourself.” If I feel I have been wronged it is either 1 of 2 things at play (1) I have been and I then need to choose how to deal with it (your article on forgiveness) or (2)I feel I am a victim and choose to perceive that I have been wronged when perhaps it was just a difference of viewpoint. Slightly off the topic of forgiveness but I believe very much intertwined.

The harder question for me is, “How do we forgive ourselves?” At the restless age of 25 I chose to on a whim go back to grad school to get me Masters in Teaching. Life took me on a different path but everytime I write out the student loan check I am angry that I made such a whimsical decision that is now financially preventing me from owning a home at this point (big loan) what I can’t see sonsistently is that the decision to go back to school also led me to the path where I met my now husband. How does one forgive themselves what they view as mistakes? Or is the real issue not forgiveness but how we view what we might or might not need to forgive…in ourselves or others.

Eeeek sorry this was long.

[Reply]

Colin September 12, 2007 at 10:50 am

I see a string running through a great deal of the responses, and it frightens me. There is no one single religion, major or minor, which does not have at it’s base the concept of fear and pain. In the major one’s, fear is not at all defined as it appears in the posts, not is pain seen as opposite of serenity. It is only in the “designer religions”, “cafeteria religions” (“I’ll have a little of that and a little of this”) and “I am god” worldviews that seek to avoid pain at all costs, healthy fear of a “Creator who actually expects something of us” at all costs, and persue the “I can’t be wrong if I’m god. Not ‘I think therefore I am’, but ‘I thought it, therefore it is”.

[Reply]

monica September 13, 2007 at 8:46 am

Christine – one of my CCD teachers gave me an example that has stuck with me over the years (even though my current views seem to be more along the line of yours regarding a supreme being). There are many ideas and statements at the very base of “religion” that make sense for a peaceful, happy society. Anyways, my lesson was that your soul was essentially a board of wood and sins were nails pounded into the board. Forgiveness (in that case meted out by priests in a confessional) could remove the nails but a hole would still remain. So I’m with Mindi and forgiveness is one thing and trust (getting that ‘hole’ refilled) is another. Great topic.

[Reply]

Sue September 13, 2007 at 11:21 am

I think this is such a hard topic and so honestly discussed here! I have given this subject lots of thought in my life, out of a need to let go. I think what I have found most healing is, like Christine, seeing forgiveness as a surrender. It’s a gift. If I hold onto resentments I am basically harnessing my own pain to surround me like some ongoing torture session. I am the only one who suffers from not forgiving. It keeps negativity inside and when we surrender it, we make so much more room for light. It is freedom from the ‘damned if I will forgive him/her/them/myself place’. It takes so much energy to be so angry. There is a grace in truly forgiving that I have found almost nowhere else. I think trying to grow while refusing to forgive ourselves or others is like putting a plant out in the sun when you know the roots are already dead.

[Reply]

Christine Kane September 13, 2007 at 12:19 pm

thanks lisa and seventh sister for adding your experiences here.

michelle – it sounds to me like the issue of you being angry at yourself for being so whimsical is an obsessive thought that creeps up in low moods – more than an issue of unforgiveness. it’s a way to punish yourself through thought. (i once did a stupid tour to peru that cost me greatly and was the most miserable two weeks i spent in my life – and every now and then i’ll still roll my eyes at that dumb decision! typically though, it’s more of an obsessive thought that creeps up when i’m already in my self-flagellation space.) knowing that you’re always in the right place at the right time is a more pro-active space to be – rather than saying, “i need to forgive myself for this whimsical stupid decision.” who knows? maybe the whole point of having done that is so that you NOW get to teach yourself how to know you always have enough money – and to learn abundance thinking so that the loans are paid off easily and effortlessly..??

colin – “cafeteria religions”? “designer religions”? These are pretty harsh condemnations of working to become conscious, no? At the core of every religion is truth. And those truths are the same across the board – being in the now, loving the moment, etc — so if someone chooses to find those core spaces, as opposed to delving deeply into one religion, i don’t see why there would be an issue. As for the “I can’t be wrong if I am God” thought — that’s not at all what’s being said here. “Wrong” is one level of looking at a human’s behavior. It comes from a place of judgment. I prefer to look at behavior as either conscious or unconscious, and go from there. I DO believe that we are all manifestations of the divine – but I don’t see it from the ego space that you are assigning to it.

ooo monica – the board is quite the vivid one isn’t it? so, my question would be – why do the catholics think that the priest is the only one who could take the nails out???

thanks sue!

[Reply]

Chrissie DiAngelus September 13, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Ok, well, my kids (someday) will likely NOT attend CCD!!! I always thought those CCD kids got off scot free! An hour a week vs. my tortured hour per day?? Uh, Catholic education – it left me all sorts of confused on things by the time I reached college (particularly God’s forgiveness).

Interestingly, I went to St. Joe’s University, a Jesuit school and it was there, mixed in with a few required theology classes, conversations with the priests, philosophers, and getting involved in service activities that my views on God, forgiveness, and spirituality really began to take shape.

I’m so grateful for those 4 years because they not only challenged my academically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually and gave me more of a foundation on which to stand than I ever had at my Catholic grade school and high school. I learned how to look inside myself during my 20s and make choices to not be a victim anymore – when a slew of related issues gave way to hurt, self doubt, insecurity and continuously feeling like a victim.

All of this took place over the course of 5 years and overlapped my college years but it still took me a lot of time during those years to forgive – others and myself (because I internalized EVERYTHING and blamed myself and figured a million ways I could have controlled the outcome). Once my anger subsided, I always had the willingness to forgive and let go of bitterness and anger surrounding so many hurtful times, to remember better moments, and remind myself that there was some reason I went through it (and because I believe in cycles, that if things were meant to come around again, they would and we’d all be better people). Truthfully, that was the easy part. Forgiving myself, learning to let go, to move forward, to grieve but not internalize – were my challenges because it was so easy for me to feel that somehow I was to blame, to assume no one else understood, or that some truth needed to be conveyed or that I was owed something.

My greatest freedom came when I was OK with forgiveness (of someone and myself) being the closure. This is a great post with terrific comments — leaves much to consider and think about :)

[Reply]

Sue September 13, 2007 at 12:51 pm

Ok, am I allowed to leave a reply twice in one day? (I’m supposed to be writing something for work, but this is much more important and fun!)Here’s my question..why is it that I can forgive nearly unspeakable things ‘done to me’ by others (ya know after years of wallowing in self-pity :)) but I find it hardest to forgive myself? I guess it is when I am already in a mood to review my latest ‘bad moments’ tape, but sometimes it is deeper than that maybe. Why are we hardest on ourselves? Am I purely a product of my also catholic guilt-infested upbringing? I so appreciated the chalk board-soul-CCD memory by the way!

[Reply]

Colin September 14, 2007 at 9:00 am

Implying that making a “judgement” is the same as closing one’s mind is silly and an a fallacious argument. We all judge, (that boy is NOT going out with my daughter; most music buisness people will NEVER understand what it is to be an artist; Colin is being harsh)and it is even sillier to say that all religions are basically the same at the core because a cursory look will tell you that they are not. Why do you view challenging another person’s worldview, since they “put it out there” publicly, as a challenge to their right to become conscious? It’s not even a Christian thing (by the way…Catholic-bashing is cliche and a narrow argument, and I’m not even Catholic); it’s a critical thought thing. Good grief, is it “if someone does not agree with you then they are against growth? Challenging is all about growth. Using the “J” word (judgement, in a negative sense) is a cheap shot and a poor assessment of my “consciousness”.

[Reply]

Christine Kane September 14, 2007 at 9:34 am

Thanks Chrissie, for your own experiences. I imagine that you’ll continue to evolve in your relationship with these ideas as you do have children!

Sue – I really don’t have a clear answer for this issue – at least not one that can fit in the comments. Like all kinds of forgiveness, I think that self-forgiveness has so many levels and paths to it. And may even go beyond the notion of “forgiveness.” I’ll try to articulate it into a post – but I’m not sure when!

colin – since you and i have had our share of theological debates in the past late at night after shows, it’s a little hard to go into this in the comments. I actually do think that judgment is closing one’s mind – and maybe that’s just how I’ve experienced it in my life among academics. I agree that we all judge – AND I find that I am most alive and in the moment when I can allow everything in and just accept the moment and each person for what it is and who they are. So, my experience of judgment is that it is THE block to living in the moment. Respectfully, I disagree wtih you about the core of religions. Granted, I am not the scholar that you are – but in my own personal experience and reading and studies – I have found there to be several core truths contained at the foundation of every religion – when the ego messages are peeled away. This post wasn’t about Catholic bashing at all — it happens that my experience of forgiveness was heavily molded by an experience I had in the Catholic church, in which I was steeped for 21 years of my life. I can’t exactly offer a Jewish perspective if I am to write about my own perspectives of forgiveness, can I? I apologize if I made a poor assessment of your consciousness – I just noticed that phrases like “cafeteria religions,” etc seem to take the energy of dialogue and turn it into something different – as if the thoughts of the people here are somehow “less than.”

[Reply]

Brad September 14, 2007 at 11:47 am

Hey Christine,

I haven’t posted a comment in awhile. I’ve been busy with my alpha-male stuff…the start of football season, annual “guys weekend”, etc.! All important stuff in it’s own right.

But I just wanted to take a second to let you know that I am glad you are here! Your words and music do have an impact! :-)

I’ve always loved this quote by Marianne Williamson:

“Forgiveness is NOT what happens when someone has done something wrong, but you in your spiritual superiority have the magnanimity to forgive. That is not forgiveness, but judgment—supercilious and, at its core, self-righteous. REAL forgiveness, from a metaphysical perspective, means we realize that only love is real. The key to forgiveness is not to seek the innocence of the beloved but to assume the innocence of the beloved. Within each of us there is an innocent place, unchanged by our mistakes.”

[Reply]

Goddess of Leonie September 20, 2007 at 11:34 pm

thank you for this.
i am willing to forgive.
i am willing to forgive.
i am willing to forgive her, and i am willing to forgive me.

[Reply]

Katherine October 15, 2007 at 2:05 pm

Colin sounds like my partner and I wish i sounded as eloquent in my beliefs as Christine. Conversations (no, I mean conversations that turn into debate) about Judgement I have a hard time sustaining. He just doesn’t get it and I end up getting annoyed, every time, and feel like I am defending myself. Colin reminds me, perhaps that I need to practice more forgiveness??????Grrrrrrrrr

[Reply]

Katherine(changing my name to Katherine/ME because I see there is more than one K here! October 16, 2007 at 8:01 am

wanted to offer info about The Option Institute. This is a beautiful place in western MA where I first learned about the idea of Judgement. Spent a weekend with a group of people and I think all of us got it, in our own way, in our own time. My big break through came with extreme laughter at every thought I had and how that was a judgement. It was such freedom!
I learned in my late teens that having an opinion which translated to me as having a judgement, showed intellegence. So, being mindful that I wanted to come across intellegent, I was very judgemental.
I like the idea of unconscious vs conscious… (fear vs love, not allowing vs allowing). Sadly, the magic of that weekend some 10 years ago faded and I did not practice what I learned. But, this is all part of the journey. Thanks for helping me find my way back. I am still a bit lost in the woods, but I do believe I can see the path on which I want to be.
Anyway, the website is optioninstitute.com. Perhaps Christine, you could be a guest speaker there, or sing(!), or something. I have a sense you would loooooovvvvve it there and the folks who run the program. It is worth researching. They do a wonderful service for many people.
Peace,
Katherine

[Reply]

David R July 30, 2008 at 11:44 am

Chistine,
I want you to feel very good about yourself right now, the very moment you read this. You explained what I need to do very clearly, I can understand what is being said. You have helped me so much because I am in a very dark place right now, looking to find some light and rejoin the living.
How do I deal with all the regret that is coming from all the forgiving I am doing now. The people I need to forgive are not all at fault … I have a large part in the fault. Now I live in the past with all the regret and it hurts very badly to recognize all the loss i can’t go back and fix.

[Reply]

Ashlee Cottam January 9, 2012 at 3:05 am

Hi Christine.
Read your blog about firgiveness, after searching for ‘how do you forgive’, on a day where I recieved a reply email from the man who sexually molested me over 30 years ago. At a time where I now need to forgive in order to have closure. It’s not simple but after reading your post I have some sort of guidence and advice. Thanks.

[Reply]

sanare ole dikirr. March 9, 2012 at 5:24 am

hi good people,
today I was thinking on how best to forgive my wife, thanks to this site on forgiveness, the more I read this happenings on bad mouthing, bitterness and anger, the more beautiful she appears and the more relieved my heart becomes.
now where can I get the book by Stormie Omartian?

be blessed!

[Reply]

sanare ole dikirr. March 9, 2012 at 5:39 am

Hi good people,
yeah! I cannot stop reading; I drink poison, and hope someone else dies!

I just cannot stop! its forgiveness and forgiveness all over! people try it now it works! yes it does! ask me!

thanks you all.

[Reply]

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

© 2013 Firepink, Inc. All rights reserved.