The Freedom of Forgiveness

Your responses to our Facebook Page question:

“What did you feel like after forgiving someone
whom you once thought you could never forgive?”

Relief... and freedom. Forgiving someone doesn't mean that you have to accept their behavior or continue to associate with them, it means that you are no longer willing to carry the burden or pain. You are putting it behind you and making room for the next phase of your life. You can't move forward if you keep looking back.

He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over
which he himself must pass if he would ever reach
heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven.

— George Herbert

Peace. Freedom. Some things are unforgivable. I forgave anyway, bc I needed to own the space inside my own head. Now they hold no power there. Now there is no anger bond, tying us together. Things happened. It will never be ok. But I am free now. I am not what happened to me. Every time it comes up, I see it, I release it, and I am empowered more and more each time I do this. Every time I forgive, I feel that I am stronger in the choosing to let go — stronger in choosing to be defined by my choice, not my past experience. I've done it so many times, it's created a new identity. I am now an incredibly strong person. I have more proof every time I do it. If that doesn't convince you, then consider this: every time you say "I release you. My past has no power over me. You are gone from me. I wish you healing. (I know. Breathe!)," the memories hurt less. They hurt less and less and one day it's just part of your story and doesn't affect you emotionally. It took me 30 years, but consider this — forgiveness can make them nobody to you and that's the best revenge. After that, even revenge won't matter. Prove me wrong. I dare you.

One moment of true forgiveness can erase years of
guilt, pain, or fear.

— Alan Cohen

I finally had peace. I felt it. There was also a release of sorrow, pain, disappointment and hurt that had been with me almost all my life. Forgiveness work is hard work. I did not enter into it lightly. It was a long hard walk with myself through a forest of darkness. It made all the difference in the world and I am finally free.

Forgiveness is an act of self-love.
— Wayne Dyer

Fee yet conflicted. my ego felt slighted that my happiness was "dependent on them.” However, i had to correct my ego, it can be so spoiled and self centered, and remind it that it was I who made the decision to free myself. the object is not an integral part of the equation. my own personal growth is the objective.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute
of the strong.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Before I could forgive, I had to get to the place of compassion — walking in their shoes. What had these people experienced that controlled their life, and directed their actions. When I reached the place of compassion, I realized I had already forgiven. You remember and learn that lesson, but you keep your heart receptive to their good as well.

To heal the wounded memory is as natural to the
human spirit as it is for the cells of the human body
to heal themselves.

— Lewis B. Smedes

Yes, i felt free, as well. Free from the shackles of the memories of what happened. Also free from the weight of all the negative energy and feelings i carried around with me every waking moment. I agree that some actions ARE unforgivable but it is always possible to forgive the soul(s) of the perpetrator(s).

Forgiveness defies your mind. You have to break
through your mind to forgive. Without forgiveness,
a genuine healing cannot happen.

— Caroline Myss

It's a long road to forgive things that still happening into our lives, but I believe this is a process that liberate and open your soul for a next level of this existence!!!!

Someone may have stolen your dream when it was
young and fresh and you were innocent. If someone
has damaged the innocence of your dreams,
Anger is natural.
Grief is appropriate.
Healing is mandatory.
Restoration is possible.

— Jane Rubietta

Like I had just crossed a MAJOR chasm in my spiritual journey! Best feeling every...a major accomplishment/feat! (y) (y) :D <3

Forgiveness is a rebirth of hope, a reorganization of
thought, and a reconstruction of dreams. Once
forgiving begins, dreams can be rebuilt. When
forgiving is complete, meaning has been extracted
from the worst of experiences and used to create
a new set of moral rules and a new interpretation of
life's events.

— Beverly Flanigan

I think to forgive another you first forgive yourself...for me, it's a realisation that we are human, that everything is something we can learn from, that we only 'know' something when we have lived it, and once we have lived it we can recognise it in another… which breaks down barriers and that is where you discover unconditional love. Forgiveness is very freeing, and we all deserve that.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an
ocean. If a few drops are dirty, the ocean does not
become dirty.

— Mahatma Gandhi

I felt like I lost 1,000 pounds.

When we forgive, we set a prisoner free and discover
that the prisoner we set free is us.

— Lewis B. Smedes

Amazing!!! Unfortunately God took him anyway!!! Give it to God!!!

As long as you don’t forgive, who and whatever it is
will occupy rent-free space in your mind.

— Isabelle Holland

Liberated <3 And sad for the person I forgave. Saw them as the scared, anxious & unhealthy person they really were.

Forgiveness is holiness; by forgiveness the universe
is held together.

— Mahabharata

Free. I stopped dwelling on the hurt and started living in the now.

When we forgive we ride the crest of love’s cosmic
wave; we walk in stride with God.

— Lewis B. Smedes

I felt a weight lifted letting go and forgiving through spiritual eyes which did me good and I moved on.

”I can forgive, but I cannot forget,” is only another
way of saying,
“I will not forgive.” A forgiveness ought
to be like a cancelled note, torn in two and burned
up, so that it never can be shown against the man.

— Henry Ward Beecher

Freedom or like a heavy weight has been lifted.... Lighter.

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.
— Indira Gandhi

A million bucks.

Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the
other person to die.

— Malachy McCourt

Inner peace and freedom from a heavy burden I carried.

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be
punished by your anger.

— Buddha

A load lift off my shoulders

Forgiveness means to me that whatever was done to me
is no longer causing me such pain that I cannot be the
person I want to be.

—Eva Kor, Holocaust survivor

Relief, peace, love, growth, openness

When you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock

— Unknown

We attach our feelings to the moment when we were
hurt, endowing it with immortality. And we let it assault
us every time it comes to mind. It travels with us,
sleeps with us, hovers over us while we make love, and
broods over us while we die. Our hate does not even
have the decency to die when those we hate die—for
it is a parasite sucking
our blood, not theirs. There is
only one remedy for it.

— Lewis B. Smedes

Relief and appreciation

To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one

— William H. Walton

Unbelievable peace to this day.

For most people there is a big obstacle to forgiveness because
society expects revenge. Forgiveness is nothing more and
nothing less than an act of self-healing, an act of
self-empowerment. I call it a miracle medicine.
It’s free, it works, and it has no side effects.

—Eva Kor, Holocaust survivor

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This article appears in: 2017 Catalyst, Issue 16: The Psychology of True Happiness