5 Myths About Forgiveness That Are Keeping You Imprisoned (and How to Break Free!)

Posted by on January 7, 2018 in Conscious Living, Inspirational, Thrive with 0 Comments

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By Mary Jaksch | Good Life Zen

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” ~ Buddha

Do you struggle to let go past hurts?


Would you like to be free of the burdens of the past but simply don’t know how to go about it?

Extending forgiveness is one of the hardest things we can do, but it is absolutely essential for spiritual growth and well-being.

Probably the biggest obstacles to forgiving are the unconscious myths we hold about the process of forgiveness. Learning to forgive inevitably involves exposing and debunking these myths.

Related Article: Learn How Forgiveness Can Transform Your Life in this Awesome Video with Louise Hay

If you’re struggling to forgive, one or more of the following commonly held myths may be holding you back:


1. The offender must ask for forgiveness first

Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine you were suffering from a debilitating migraine but had medication that would relieve your suffering. Would you wait for another person to give you permission to take your medication or would you just take it when you needed to?

The answer here may seem obvious but when we refuse to forgive because the offender has not asked for forgiveness, we’re basically waiting for their permission to relieve our own suffering.

Though forgiveness may involve pardoning a person who acknowledges their wrongdoing, the essence of forgiveness is about healing our own pain. It is only by addressing our own pain that we are then able to offer a sincere pardon.

2. Forgiveness means offering a free pass

Sometimes we withhold forgiveness in an attempt to punish someone who’s hurt us. But as the popular saying goes, “resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Forgiveness has nothing to do with condoning or accepting the actions of another person. It means choosing to let go of any internal resentment such actions may have precipitated.

Letting go, by the way, does not mean that you give up your right to seek reparations in appropriate circumstances—as long as you understand that seeking justice is not a precondition for letting go.

3. Forgiveness is about being reconciled with another person

While letting go of hurts may pave the way for repairing broken relationships, this is not always possible. Some mistakenly believe that if they’re unable to be reconciled with another person, either because the person is unwilling to participate or because they have died, they’re doomed to the prison of resentment, bitterness, or self-loathing.

Related Article:How to Forgive: Here Are the 8 Sacred Stages of Forgiveness

In his book Forgiven and Forgiving, Rev. William Countryman writes:

“Forgiveness means, among other things, that we’ve recognized the ultimate impossibility of putting the past fully ‘right.’”

The process of forgiveness means recognizing that, even in cases where broken relationships are repaired, things will never quite be the same as they were before the breach. This reality is ultimately freeing because it allows us to let go rather than wait for the right conditions to appear before forgiving others or ourselves.

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