Self-Love Reflection: Forgiving Others

Posted: July 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm

In these reflections, I have already discussed achieving the capacity to forgive ourselves as a means to self-love. I know many of us struggle with that, some of us more so than others. For me personally, I knew I could not forget to include forgiving others as well. Forgiving others played one of the biggest roles in my growth as a person and in the process of getting out of the negative treatment of myself. Emotions and hurt dictated my life and who I thought I was for too long. Being able to let those go helped me to move on and pursue my best life.

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It is no secret that my father is the one I had to forgive. I openly share about our past and how greatly it affected the depression I felt and initiated my binging years. Yes, my family reads the blog and knows I will continue to openly share because I believe that my full disclosure can help others. Yes, my father knows how he made me feel. And yes, he knows I forgive him.

I will never forget the things he said or did, such as saying he despised me and to go ahead and kill myself. Despite those things, I still chose to forgive because I knew only then could I change my actions and treat myself the way I deserved. Forgiveness doesn’t condone the behavior or mean you feel okay about what happened. Forgiveness is not a feeling, but an act of will to lay aside your right to retaliate and not allow the anger to control your life.

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Forgiveness holds great power. Having the capacity to forgive displays strength, compassion, and beauty. When you forgive, you make a statement of who you are. On the flip side, when you withhold forgiveness, you cling to anger, bitterness, and harsh feelings. Those build up inside of you and, with nowhere to go, often turn against you so you end up defeating yourself. Sometimes, we hold grudges against someone who doesn’t even know what they did bothers us. Sometimes they know, but simply don’t care. Why should we continue to feel such negativity in our lives and let the person who afflicted us continue on without a care? We can choose to not live in such a dark place. Forgiveness and letting go of the pain comes first.

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Do you have trouble forgiving others? What do you think are the benefits (or negatives) of forgiving others?

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26 Comments to “Self-Love Reflection: Forgiving Others”
  1. There were (are?) two people in my past that I struggled to forgive FOREVER. In the end, I realized that it was eating me up inside and bothering me way more than them.. and so I finally let it go and forgave them. And you know what? It felt AMAZING.

  2. Forgivenss was once explained to me as this:
    4GIVE = It means you are taking what someone did/said to you & you are releasing that to God. In a sense you are “GIVING” it up to God. Then God can heal YOUR heart & you can trust HIM to take care of the person’s actions. It’s a burden we were never meant to carry.

    • Tina says:

      That’s exactly it. We can’t control other people and we can’t let them control us either. So why not give it away to the one who can certainly handle it?

  3. Jill says:

    This post brought me to tears. I so want to forgive but don’t know how. I can say the words, but then what? Will I feel better right away or does it take time and repeating the words until the feeling of release comes? I want to be the strong person who forgives- it is who I want to be. I just don’t know how. Can you help me with that?

    • Tina says:

      For me, it did take a lot of repetition. When I felt angry emotions start creeping back in I would have to tell myself over and over to let it go. A lot of faith plays into that too.

  4. lindsay says:

    forgiveness takes strength. Strength that comes from only one being…GOD. God definitel opened your heart to that TIna and sharing it with us is encouraging. Now we just need to learn to forgive ourselves, amen?!
    LC

  5. Julie says:

    I find it much harder to forgive myself than to forgive others. I’m working on it and I can tell my work is working :-)

  6. This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. My birthday is coming up and every year I always get really down on my birthday. I always thought it was just fear of getting older or something along those lines, but the other night I was able to put my finger on it (through tears with a very good friend) – it had much more to do with the fact that while I thought I had forgiven my dad for leaving (and only returning 4 times in 18 years – all on my birthday). I really thought I had. But the more she asked questions, the more I realized I had some unresolved feelings and it’s nothing I can talk about with him (I’ve tried) it’s something I need to do for myself so I can really move on. Thank you for this post today – your blog always uplifts me!

    • Tina says:

      glad you had that talk with your friend and were able to sort through those emotions, Kelly! I hope sorting through them now will help you fully enjoy your birthday and celebrate the beautiful place your life is at now. :)

  7. Anna Crouch says:

    Wow, this is such a great post. Forgiving people is not always the easiest thing to do, especially when the person has effected your life in such a dramatic way. I love the part where you said that your ability to forgive shows your true beauty. I think that is SO true. The most beautiful people are the ones full of grace, forgiveness and acceptance for other people…

    There have been a few people in the last few years that I’m still making a conscious effort to forgive. Well, I have forgiven them, but I still have to remind myself every now and then, that I cannot blame them for my past unhappiness, or certain past issues or struggles. I just keep moving on every day! And remember that God takes us through journeys for a reason

  8. Sarah says:

    Great post! I commend you for being so open with both your family and your readers.
    I don’t forgive for the person who wronged me. I forgive for myself.

  9. Lee says:

    Sometimes I think I’m too forgiving. There are definitely things that people have done to me and that are not okay but I easily forgave them.

    • Tina says:

      Well, I don’t think its bad to be too forgiving. I think its still important to learn from those people’s actions and if they consistently hurt us to find a way to remove ourselves from such interactions or hurt. But forgiving is never bad in my mind. :)

  10. Melie says:

    Forgiving is definitely the mature thing to do and the best for your well-being. I was fortunate enough not to have to forgive too many people for serious things. The ones that I did have to forgive, I did find it in myself to do so. What I did not find in myself though is to forget. Or go back to some sort of a relationship with them. Once it was gone, it was gone… :-/

  11. Thank you so much for this post :)

  12. Awesome post Tina :) . I struggle to forgive people for things that they continue to do even though I have expressed how I feel about it. I guess I find it hard to forgive for the same thing more than once.

  13. Meg says:

    I think forgiveness is one of the most powerful posessions we have as human beings and yes, it takes so much strength to forgive (especially to forget as well…and sometimes we simply can’t forget.)

    I really love this post – for my own sanity, yours and others :)

  14. i do not have a problem forgiving others if it is something that can be forgiven…i tend not to hold grudges..however if you cross over and do something that is of clear disrespect…thats an issue for me!

    wonderful quotes :)

  15. Becca says:

    “Forgiveness is such a simple word, but it’s so hard to do when you’ve been hurt.”

    I have trouble forgiving others, sure, but I think I have more trouble forgiving myself. That eats away at me more than anything. I need to figure out how to give that to God and stop worrying about mistakes.

    After my best friend died, her mother was such an example. She forgave the drunk driver, became friends with her, and even fought to keep her out of prison! One Sunday after the accident, the sermon was on forgiveness, and our pastor had asked M’s mom to share. I didn’t realize until partway through her spiel that the drunk driver (who does have a name!!!) was with us in church that morning. After the service, one of the ladies in the congregation gave me a hug and mentioned that that was a touch example to follow. I still struggle with it some, but I’m trying to remind myself that holding a grudge only makes it worse. The gal needed forgiveness from us, but she also needed to forgive herself. I’m pretty she has now, and she’ll never make that mistake again, I hope. But that’s what it was: a mistake. One little action that turned everyone’s world upside down. M’s mom talked about how everything in her said to keep holding the grudge, until she thought of C (the driver), and she knew that God was telling her to forgive.
    They’re going to write a book together after C gets out (in October, I believe), so more of the story and their thoughts during the last three years will be out there. I don’t think I know the whole story just yet, but I know enough. And I need to constantly remind myself, when I think of it, to forgive.

    Long comment is long. Hahahaha. :)

    • Tina says:

      Wow! That is a powerful story. And so inspiring.

      I also agree it is so hard to forgive ourselves. But if God can forgive us…why shouldn’t we?

  16. Karolina says:

    Fabulous post!! I’m glad that you pointed out that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you’re saying the behavior is ok. I think that is a hang up for some people! I’m so happy you were able to find forgiveness. It’s a long and hard process, but necessary for our own growth and health.

  17. Amy says:

    Thanks for this post. I needed it, and it came at exactly the right time…

  18. Becca says:

    Forgiveness is tricky for me. In fact, I call it the “F” word. Sometimes for me, it means the same. But your post is dead on. Forgiveness is for ourselves, not for others.

    Still. It doesn’t make it easier. And as has already been mentioned, sometimes it’s harder to forgive ourselves and easier to forgive others. It’s something that I’ve been working on for a while. Hopefully I’ll get there one day.

    Great post!

  19. AMEN Tina! This post is AMAZING, and reminds me of this Bible verse: “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” ~ Colossians 1:13-14 :)

  20. Jen says:

    I needed to hear this Tina. I have no problem forgiving loved ones, but I’ve become bitter towards a few medical professionals who did me wrong months ago. Thank you for reminding me that I need to forgive in order to move on!

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