Last Updated on January 2, 2020
Forgiving someone and learning to say sorry can be challenging for some of us. If you’ve been deeply hurt, how do you begin to forgive the other person? How do you begin to be kinder to yourself through forgiveness?
Forgiveness is often a difficult topic. Emotions and feelings need to be processed. Perspectives must be considered. It’s also about the question on whether and how you should forgive a person. It is about the choices that you need to make and the effects that these will have on you and on others.
The True Meaning of Forgiveness
There are many misconceptions about what forgiveness is and the most common notion is that forgiveness is something you do for others. But you need to learn this is not the true meaning of it. Forgiveness is not something that you do for someone else; it’s something that you do for yourself.
Also, forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting the hurtful incident happened. It doesn’t mean that you have excused or are willing to forget the other person’s actions. Forgiveness is about removing the negative effects caused by all the hurt. It is about letting go of the weight that holds you down.
The Effect of Practicing Forgiveness
Why is there a need to forgive? Because forgiveness is an act of kindness to yourself. Holding on to a grudge is like imprisoning yourself while your spirit festers with bitterness and resentment. Allowing your anger to turn into bitterness can have debilitating effects on your well-being.
Feelings of hurt and disappointment can put an enormous physical burden on an individual, which can escalate into serious health risks such as heart disease and diabetes. Letting go of anger and of grudges can have a positive effect on your health.
What does it mean to truly forgive someone? To forgive is to set yourself free. It gives you the opportunity to have healthier relationships and improved mental health. Practicing forgiveness can also lead to physical benefits such as lower blood pressure and improved heart health and immune system.
Learning How to Truly Forgive
Anger is a powerful emotion. If you’ve been hurt, chances are, you’ve held on to anger, pain, and resentment at some point in your life. Letting go of these feelings, especially anger, can be a difficult choice to make. But how do you let go and begin to truly forgive those who hurt you?
Think About What Happened
Think about the incident that caused you to feel angry and hurt. Give yourself enough time to process and understand your feelings. Although it might be difficult, you need to learn how to accept and acknowledge the fact that the incident happened. Also acknowledge the feelings you had and the actions that you made during the incident.
Learn to Take Responsibility
You must learn to take responsibility for your part. This includes not blaming anyone, especially not yourself. This allows you to learn more about yourself and your feelings. It’s also about giving yourself some much-needed peace of mind.
Decide to Forgive
Forgiveness is ultimately a conscious decision you need to make. This means giving up any negative or vengeful behavior on your part. The decision to forgive is also a decision to let go of negativity, hurt, and anger.
Work to Forgive
Empathizing with someone who has hurt you deeply will take some serious effort on your part. But empathy is part of forgiveness. Put yourself in their shoes and try to figure out what their motivations were behind their actions. What made them do that hurtful act? What kind of battles are they facing?
Knowing that they have their own struggles to contend with and that they are more than the mistake they committed against you. As part of being able to forgive, think of what you can do for this other person. You can show them a small gesture such as a smile or a handshake the next time you see them to indicate forgiveness.
The act of forgiveness is often difficult. It takes time. The beauty of it, though, reflects the human spirit. You can forgive time and again and see yourself grow into a better, more understanding person.
Here are 90 quotes on forgiveness to inspire you to begin the process of letting go.
- “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” – Oscar Wilde
- “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi, All Men are Brothers
- “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” – C.S. Lewis
- “The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You
- “Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- “Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this. Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.” – Robert Jordan
- “I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
- “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” – Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
- “One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.” – Rita Mae Brown
- “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” – Corrie Ten Boom
- “True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.” – Oprah Winfrey
- “We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness.” – Ellen Goodman
- “Last night I lost the world, and gained the universe.” – C. JoyBell C.
- “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
- “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.” – Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
- “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain
- “Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” – Will Smith
- “We are all mistaken sometimes; sometimes we do wrong things, things that have bad consequences. But it does not mean we are evil, or that we cannot be trusted ever afterward.” – Alison Croggon
- “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” – Nelson Mandela
- “Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.” – Criss Jami, Salomé
- “I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.” – C.S. Lewis
- “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” – John F. Kennedy
- “Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim – letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” – C.R. Strahan
- “To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.” – Confucius
- “To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” – G.K. Chesterton
- “When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God’s light shines upon you.” – Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
- “Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” – Marvin J. Ashton
- “Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.” – Henri J.M. Nouwen
- “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” – Thomas Szasz
- “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” – Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies
- “A heart filled with anger has no room for love.” – Joan Lunden, Wake-Up Calls
- “What I cannot love, I overlook.” – Anais Nin
- “Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Trust requires a track record.” – Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
- “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” – Abraham Lincoln
- “But we can’t go back. We can only go forward.” – Libba Bray
- “Love like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with a soaking joy. But sometimes under the angry heat of life, love dries on the surface and must nourish from below, tending to its roots keeping itself alive.” – Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
- “The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” – Marianne Williamson
- “Always forgive, but never forget, else you will be a prisoner of your own hatred, and doomed to repeat your mistakes forever.” – Wil Zeus, Sun Beyond the Clouds
- “Listen. Slide the weight from your shoulders and move forward. You are afraid you might forget, but you never will. You will forgive and remember.” – Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
- “Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive.” – Wm. Paul Young, The Shack
- “I want to be the kind of person who can do that. Move on and forgive people and be healthy and happy. It seems like an easy thing to do in my head. But it’s not so easy when you try it in real life.” – Susane Colasanti, Waiting for You
- “What was the point of being able to forgive, when deep down, you both had to admit you’d never forget?” – Jodi Picoult, The Tenth Circle
- “We don’t forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it—because we need it.” – Bree Despain, The Dark Divine
- “There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.” – Mark Twain
- “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” – Oprah Winfrey
- “An eye for an eye, and the whole world would be blind.” – Kahlil Gibran
- “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” – Siddh?rtha Gautama, The Dhammapada
- “Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions.” – Gerald G. Jampolsky, Love Is Letting Go of Fear
- “There is no forgiveness. For women. A man may lose his honor and regain it again. But a woman cannot. She cannot.” – Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
- “A broken friendship that is mended through forgiveness can be even stronger than it once was.” – Stephen Richards, Forgiveness and Love Conquers All
- “’I’m sorry about yesterday,’ she said. He hung on to his straps and shrugged. ‘Yesterday happens.’” – Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park
- “Sometimes you just have to regret things and move on.” – Charlaine Harris
- “They lie, you know. It’s not easier to ask for forgiveness. Not even a little.” – Michelle Hodkin, The Evolution of Mara Dyer
- “Forgiveness is God’s greatest gift.” – Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code
- “I guess forgiveness, like happiness, isn’t a final destination. You don’t one day get there and get to stay.” – Deb Caletti
- “One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.” – Socrates
- “Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.” – Emma Goldman
- “Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back. You’re done. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to have lunch with the person. If you keep hitting back, you stay trapped in the nightmare…” – Anne Lamott, Plan B
- “Forgiving men is so much easier than forgiving women.” – Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye
- “Life is grace. Sleep is forgiveness. The night absolves. Darkness wipes the slate clean, not spotless to be sure, but clean enough for another day’s chalking.” – Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace
- “Dear Lord, please show me everything I need to understand about forgiveness and surrender.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
- “To forgive is wisdom, to forget is genius.” – Joyce Cary
- “Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back.” – Anne Lamott
- “A life lived without forgiveness is a prison.” – William Arthur Ward
- “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.” – Corrie Ten Boom, Clippings from My Notebook
- “With friends, if you keep making an effort to reach out and you keep getting hurt, you eventually stop trying. But it’s much harder to give up on family. Somewhere deep down you want it to work so badly that you keep making the same mistake over and over again.” – Tori Spelling
- “All children should be taught to unconditionally accept, approve, admire, appreciate, forgive, trust, and ultimately, love their own person.” – Asa Don Brown
- “The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.” – William Hazlitt, Selected Essays, 1778-1830
- “Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.” – Ted Chiang, The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate
- “Love people who hate you. Pray for people who have wronged you. It won’t just change their life…it’ll change yours.” – Mandy Hale, The Single Woman
- “A mistake made with good in your heart is still a mistake, but it is one for which you must forgive yourself.” – Linda Sue Park, When My Name Was Keoko
- “Forgiveness is too easy. I can forget by indifference, but not forgive. I prefer revenge.” – Karl Lagerfeld
- “It is surely better to pardon too much, than to condemn too much.” – George Eliot
- “It’s all very well to tell us to forgive our enemies; our enemies can never hurt us very much. But oh, what about forgiving our friends?” – Willa Cather, My Mortal Enemy
- “I can forgive you for leaving, but not for coming back.” – Jonathan Safran Foer
- “In the bible it says you have to forgive seventy times seven. I want you all to know, I’m keeping a chart.” – Hillary Rodham Clinton
- “I want to undo this. To make it right. But I have no idea how. I don’t seem to know how to open up to people without getting the door slammed in my face. So I do nothing.” – Gayle Forman, Just One Day
- “Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else; it’s something you do for yourself. To forgive is not to condone, it is to refuse to continue feeling bad about an injury.” – Jim Beaver, Life’s That Way
- “Letting ourselves be forgiven is one of the most difficult healings we will undertake. And one of the most fruitful.” – Stephen Levine, A Year to Live
- “I’m not perfect. Remember that, and try to forgive me when I fail you.” – Elizabeth Lowell, Sweet Wind, Wild Wind
- “Sometimes what a person needs most is to be forgiven.” – Jennifer McMahon, Island of Lost Girls
- “Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” – Lewis B. Smedes
- “People in general would rather die than forgive. It’s that hard. If God said in plain language. “I’m giving you a choice, forgive or die,” a lot of people would go ahead and order their coffin.” – Sue Monk Kidd
- “Apologizing does not always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.” – Mark Matthews
- “Whores and writers, Mahound. We are the people you can’t forgive.” – Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children
- “There is a hard law. When an injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive. ” – Alan Paton
- “The dead don’t desire revenge, but the happiness of the living. To dirty your small hands would bring joy to no one” – Watsuki Nobuhiro, Rurouni Kenshin
- “In this life, when you deny someone an apology, you will remember it at time you beg forgiveness.” – Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut
- “… In love, everyone does things that hurt the other person, so there really is no ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’. You just have to decide what you’re willing to forgive.” – Yvonne Wood, Dead Beautiful
- “Buried beneath disappointment and fear, anger and pride, I just might find it in my heart to forgive.” – Emily Giffin, Heart of the Matter