Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

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What does it REALLY mean to forgive?

“Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past”

Not sure who wrote that…


….but whoever wrote it was spot on. If you have been living life as the full contact sport that it is, there’s no doubt you have been slighted or hurt or shamed and you might find yourself still carrying that person or incident on your shoulder like a weight… or a trophy.  There might be a few contenders for top spot on your trophy shelf depending if it was a push out of the way to get the ball or a full-on tackle to the ground, the only question to ask is…. “How do I feel about this now?”.


Do you go to re-hashing the details about why they shouldn’t have done what they did, how it affected you life… or even some deeper emotional pain rises? Chances are you’re still carrying the poison of resentment.


I get asked a lot about forgiveness and the question “Should I forgive him/her?”. The misunderstanding is that to forgive does not mean you are saying the behaviour was OK. It clearly wasn’t. But it happened.


We can’t erase the past. It already happened. Don’t waste one more second of your present life wishing it were different… to argue with the past is complete insanity.


The second misunderstanding is that somehow you have to become friends with the foe again, maybe even invite them for a coffee to discuss things. Wrong. It might be that you do end up reconciling, but forgiveness does not demand it.


All forgiveness really means is that you have fully expressed, felt, screamed, shouted, cried your feelings out about it and now it is time to reclaim your energy and your present life. All it means is making a choice for your own health. Winston Churchill once said “If you’re going through hell, keep going”… so don’t stop, don’t accept resentment or negativity as a way of being… get the hell out! I’m not saying this is easy stuff and everyone will do it differently, but it is a process and only you can know when it is settled for you.


When we can fully understand that what other people do or say is a reflection of them, and not a reflection of us, there can be peace. People do things because of their own deep hurts, histories, personalities, upbringing, needs. How could you possibly have any control over all of that mix??  It may have been hurtful or deceitful, but it was their actions. If you have done something you’re not proud of then take responsibility for your part. Own it.


It helps to understand that we are all human beings making mistakes, hurting each other at times, some more than others. There have been many great wounds inflicted on people. Our only responsibility is to do what feels right for us now.  Sometimes understanding that is enough.  You may need to do more like get support, talk it out, or write a note to the offender and burn it. DO NOT WAIT for the other person to change or apologize if they haven’t already. Try not to dwell on it mentally. Feed yourself with good loving people and healthy relationships. Don’t forget that having compassion for yourself or for others releases oxytocin, a natural chemical that makes you feel good.

Go ahead… your life is waiting for you.

What do you think? Now you can like/comment on Facebook at the Mindful Living Now site….


“Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much” Oscar Wilde


But seriously……


“Holding on to anger, resentment, and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life”


Joan Lunden








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