30 days of self love – forgiving others

Posted: September 27, 2010 at 9:00 am

Good morning!! Can you believe that we have only three more days of September and the 30 DSLR messages after today? With utmost sincerity, I hope these messages we have shared and discussed together brought good things your way. I look forward to reflecting on it for myself this Friday. ;) Until then, let’s keep grooving and get to today’s message: forgiveness of others. And be sure to check out the weekend’s posts!

GIFTS OF THE BODY PART 4 / MOVING PAST THE NUMBERS (<--- a must read)

We 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 and will continue to forgive those times he hurts me and lets me down still (which those times come a lot lot less often).

I will never forget the things he said (that he despised me and to go ahead and kill myself) or did (punching me in the face on our family vacation). 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. As my pastor says:

“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? How have you seen forgiveness of others make your life better or worse?

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42 Comments to “30 days of self love – forgiving others”
  1. Lisa says:

    You are a very strong woman Tina. I cannot imagine going through what you have and being able to forgive. That is amazing and really speaks volumes at just how strong you are.

    Forgiveness is something I do have trouble with. I have a hard time letting things go. Before I would never let myself feel anger. I would hold it back, which caused it to constantly linger around me. Now I let out what I am feeling to someone who will listen and I move on. It truly does help.

    • Tina says:

      I think that’s what is so powerful about forgiveness. Because its truly letting go. And it doesn’t always have to be explicitly declared to the person who hurts you with an I’m sorry. Simply acknowledging for yourself that you are ready to move past it and not hold onto the anger anymore is enough.

  2. Eliza says:

    I think that forgiveness does not mean forgetting or condoning. It doesn’t mean that a person shouldn’t still be held accountable. But it does allow us the space to move forward.
    As a survivor of sexual violence, I found that eventually, after I had spent years healing, what I really needed to do was try to forgive and understand my perpetrator. It allowed me to let go of this anger that I held, and in that way she lost the last bit of power she had over me.
    Being able to forgive people who have done horrible things to us is a way of being open-minded to the possibility that people are never bad, they just make bad choices, and that no matter what people have done, they deserve to be treated humanely.
    That said, i think that victims have a right to refuse to forgive for as long as they want or need to, even if that is forever. In group work on victim empathy with offenders, I’ve always reminded them that sometimes saying “I”m sorry” does more for them than it does for the victim, because it places the victim in the situation of feeling obligated to forgive.
    Forgiveness is powerful, but it is personal, too, and I’ve worked with many survivors of domestic/sexual violence who might never want to forgive, and I think they are totally justified in that. Nobody’s experience will be just like my own, where forgiveness helped me heal.

  3. I need to be better at forgiving people. It’s tough, but I have to remember that so many people have forgiven me for things I’ve done and I’m no better than them. Great post!

  4. Tina, I can’t believe this month is nearly over. I’m sitting here thinking back to all of the wonderful things you shared with us and the daily encouragement you gave us to slow down and give a ourselves a little bit o’ love! It’s been wonderful. :)

    Your family story shakes me to the bone. I can only imagine how difficult it has been to bring yourself to the place where you can forgive your father. Similar to what Eliza said earlier in her comment: forgiving is not forgetting nor is it a message of “what you do is alright.” Rather, forgiveness is a process where you can learn/try/hope to understand the reasons behind the action. And doing this in a way that allows you to move forward.

    I went through a horrible falling out with a close friend last year. It changed our friendship forever. I was finally able to truly forgive her but now we have to move forward in a new way, a way that feels true to me and true to what I value. That is the process of forgiveness. Sometimes it means that everything changes and nothing is ever the same.

    • Tina says:

      Yep. Trying to understand others is important. I think understanding the other things and issues my dad was experiencing helped a lot.

  5. I find your capacity for forgiveness incredible, Tina. Thank you so much for sharing…I hope to one day achieve the same amount of forgiveness towards others who have hurt me.

  6. It makes me so sad to hear about your struggles with your Dad, but I think you’re so brave for talking about them on your blog. Pug Hugs.
    Where has September gone!?!?! I can’t believe it’s almost over!

  7. Tina thank you for sharing more of your relationship with your father — that must be so hard, and yet I hope you know I really appreciate your honesty.

    I do forgive, and I agree that it doesn’t really mean that “I feel ok about the situation and its not that big of a deal” — things can still hurt but you don’t have to dwell on it and live in a negative state. I think time is what helps me forgive others — eventually I get over it and feel better about our relationship, but it still stings, you know?

  8. Angela says:

    Oh my gosh – I had no idea what you had gone through with your father. It takes a lot of courage to discuss it and even more to forgive. I actually used to hold grudges all the time. I never forgave anything, but at some point in my life I realized that this wasn’t healthy. I still struggle to forgive at times, but for the most part I don’t hold grudges. Life is way to short and staying angry doesn’t help anyone, especially yourself.

  9. there has only been one person i’ve ever had trouble forgiving…but honestly it just took time for me. it’s one thing to say you’ve forgiven them and another to actually do it. it took time being away from her and realizing that life was moving right along to finally, truly forgive. but i’m so thankful that i did!

  10. Tina your honesty and openness is truly what makes your blog stand out from the rest. Thanks for always being YOU. I can’t imagine what you had to go through with your father. But I too, am a believer in forgiveness of others. It doesn’t mean that you condone what they did, but it allows you to no longer let it victimize you.

    I’ve struggled with forgiveness. I’ve had my share of pain from others. But mostly I have struggled in learning to forgive myself for not being perfect, for not always doing the right thing, or for making mistakes.

  11. It used to be very difficult for me to forgive and I would dwell/rehash/relive what had already happened. Such wasted energy and time! Now that I’m in my 30s, have The Lover and children of my own, I find it is easier to forive and just move on. It makes me a happier person and that is good for everyone! :)

  12. Wow this is so big of you to share with us. My relationship with my father has been rocky, but I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have him say or do such things to me. You are very big for forgiving him.

  13. Natalie says:

    What an amazing post. Forgiveness is such an important step in letting go and allowing us to live our lives to the fullest.

  14. Forgiveness is a huge thing for me. I have learned to forgive so that my children are not without grandparents. If I were to hold a grudge, it would really only hurt me and my boys in the end. I will never forget though. I have taken these incidents and turned them into a learning experience for me. I don’t want to make the same mistakes others have made.

    • Tina says:

      I feel exactly the same! I forgave even more and let go of the last little bits of resentment I clung too after M. I knew I didn’t want to impact her relationship with my dad. And you know what? He’s a GREAT grandfather and M loves him. Which can sometimes hurt for me to see, but I know its best for the both of them.

      And I did learn a lot from my dad about many things. Some of which were learning what I didn’t want in a husband or what I didn’t want to be like myself.

  15. Shayna says:

    Tina, thanks for sharing and never glossing over the surface of issues!
    I don’t really have a situation for myself, but I’ve watched unforgiveness and a grudge tear apart my family. I have two close family members who’ve been angry at each other for 17 years now. Isn’t that incredible? And I know for a fact that the issue is minute. Being front row and center for that all my life has allowed me to learn from the mistakes of others and move on.

  16. Hallie says:

    Oh man. This is something I struggle with a lot! I hold grudges. I love what your pastor said, though.

  17. Holly says:

    I had something happen to me, and I only told a few close friends and asked them to keep it private. Well, one of these girls ended up telling someone who ended up telling SO many people. I had a really tough time forgiving this friend, and to be honest, we aren’t really even friends anymore partly because of it. I felt so betrayed, yet I know I needed to (need to) forgive her. I struggle with forgiveness when trust is broken, because it takes a LOT for me to trust someone. I definitely have seen and experienced how horrible it is when you don’t forgive others….I read a quote somewhere about how it eats away at you and actually does YOU more harm when you are unable to forgive someone. I think that is so, so true!

    • Tina says:

      I agree that holding onto it does you more harm than good. And forgiving her doesn’t mean you have to go back to being friends with her again. A loss of trust is a big thing to consider. It’s simply not feeling upset about it anymore.

  18. OMG, Tina … another post that hits close to home. I was a Daddy’s Girl until the summer before eighth grade when he had a car accident. It was pretty bad, and he was in a coma either for six months or six weeks (either way, the timeline would work out, because he came home around Thanksgiving. My brother and I were too young to remember specifics … all I know is it seemed like a really long time).

    I remember being so excited for him to come home … but when he finally did, he wasn’t the same. He had no short-term memory and no longer was able to work.

    I didn’t realize until years later, when he died in 2003, that I never forgave him for not being the same Dad I remembered. (My brother had a much better relationship with him because he was only 3 and didn’t remember Dad from before the accident.)

    Of course, by the time I realized it, it was too late.

  19. Lauren says:

    Thanks for your openness and vulnerability – that takes a lot of courage! You are a strong, wonderful woman :)

    I have struggled with forgiving people for a long time. I hold a grudge like none other! I had a roommate in college who basically dumped me as a friend when I was going through a rough time, and it took me years to get over it. As you mentioned similarly, I was bitter and angry for so long and I let it bother me. I finally realized one day I couldn’t do anything about it, so I had to let it go. I still wish things had worked out differently, but I definitely learned from it and take that knowledge forward in my other relationships today.

  20. Maren says:

    This post is really hard for me to read. I didn’t even think I could comment. Some things happened to me a little over a year ago. I don’t know if I can ever forgive those people for what happened. They completely changed who I am and everything that has gone wrong (eating disorders etc) is because of them and how they treated me. I feel like at some point I’ll know I’m ready to forgive them, but I’m not ready yet. Do you think you ever feel “ready” to forgive? Or is it just a choice you have to make despite how you feel?

    • Tina says:

      I know for me I didn’t feel ready 100% because things still hurt. But I saw how holding onto those feelings hurt me and knew I had to try to let it go. It took time. It was a continuous process of forgiveness. I didn’t just wake up one day and think everything was peachy keen. With more and more time I didn’t dwell on it and could live my life without thinking about those hurts. I hope that makes sense.

  21. homecookedem says:

    You are such an amazing and strong woman. I’m so impressed with your attitude towards what happened to you in the past and that you’re willing to open up so that you might help someone. Forgiveness does show beauty and you my friend are beautiful. It’s not easy to forgive. I have a family member who I have some past issues with, but I’m finally moving past them and working to repair our relationship. It’s just SO hard to completely let go of the pain – even from long ago. But we must forgive b/c it is the only way we can bring peace to our lives.

  22. ashleigh says:

    I have trouble forgiving people. It’s something I really should work on. I have quite a few friends who have screwed me over and I still hold grudges against some of them. What’s the point really? Forgive, forget, and then move on. Great post today Tina!

  23. So true. Forgiveness is more for yourself than the person you’re forgiving. Holding on to anger and resentment… it does nothing positive. It’s hard to forgive sometimes, but so worth it.

  24. Tina, I have been away from internet from quite some time and was just getting caught up on your posts and i just want to, for the millionth time, say thank you. so often i feel like forgiveness is giving up part of me or caving yet i never regret doing it after. a weight is lifted, and gosh, life is just too darn short to go through it with negative feelings. so important.

  25. Sometimes it is best to forgive the person and then forget them depending on how much they have hurt you.

    Thanks for the topic. This is actually something I am going through right now and actually writing about it for todays topic helped me work through a very hard decision I needed to make.

    thanks!

  26. Looks like I’m behind! But I forgive myself. ;-)

    I think I am pretty good at forgiving people, in fact sometimes I forgive too easily for my own good! Sometimes I wonder if I am just naive, or don’t feel worthy of better treatment, but I tend to let people treat me badly (verbal abuse with ex-husband, allow myself to be taken for granted in other relationships, I don’t insist on respect) and keep believing that beneath all of that they are “good” people and really love me. Hmmm…so thoughtful! On the other hand, I do tend to carry around a bit of anger at God for taking people from my life…so I guess I need to work on forgiving God.

    I’ll have to think on this topic…

    • Tina says:

      That’s interesting about forgiving God. I know I’ve felt the same way before with things in the past.

      Also, forgiving others doesn’t have to be allowing them to keep doing the same things to hurt you. You can forgive but refuse to keep that person in your life if things are as hurtful as abuse in any ways or similar.

  27. slacker says:

    Great article , I am going to spend more time reading about this topic

  28. [...] and swear words!) I must confess I’m not particularly looking forward to today’s topic, Forgiving others, because there’s probably things I could write that would make me sound petty or could at [...]

  29. Deborah says:

    I don’t have a lot of major incidents for which I need to forgive others, rather: 1. because I am overly-sensitive and not good at confronting others; and 2. because other others can hurt without being aware they are doing it, or possibly mean to cause upset; I’ve said I need to continue to ‘forgive and forget’.

    At the moment I hold onto things too long. I seethe and simmer and – traditionally – I eat my anger. I feel disempowered and angry with myself as much as the person who deserves my anger.

    So… I need to harden up and be less sensitive and own my own responses and feelings. (That endeth my lesson for today.)

    http://dietschmiet.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/30-days-day-27-forgiving-others/

  30. [...] Yesterday’s ‘Reflection on Self-Love’ from Tina was on forgiving others. Check it out here. [...]

  31. Xandria says:

    I normally am able to forgive others easily. I only really hold on for a few days if I don’t forgive right away. But then I just let it go. But breaking up with my ex has really hurt me and messed me up a bit. I need to forgive myself for hurting my feelings because he can’t love me back. It’s not his fault. To a point we can’t control our feelings. We can’t control love. So I will forgive him today and see if this helps me move on more easily.

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