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

Written by on July 18, 2016 in Conscious Living, Inspirational, Thrive with 4 Comments

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By Laura Hollick |

Nothing has challenged me more than forgiveness. It is something you can’t make happen, or logically contrive when it will happen.

Forgiveness is a transformational journey that repairs the separation from love. Each step along the way is a miracle, a true blossoming of the sacred medicine of the heart.

To grow the flower of forgiveness we must be willing to face love in all its stages.

You know you’re in need of forgiveness when your hurt feelings are suffocating your spirit and holding back your capacity for growth. You know you are ready for forgiveness when your heart calls to you and says “It’s time to come home”.

Related Article: Release Your Resistance Through the Power of Forgiveness

Liberate yourself with the 8 stages of forgiveness and witness the wings of your love take flight.

8 Stages of Forgiveness

1. The Incident

The incident is ‘the thing’ that happens that creates the need for forgiveness. It is the moment where you separate yourself from the awareness of love.  The incident can be as simple as someone cutting you off in traffic, it can be as deep as sexual abuse, or it could be something someone said that hurt your feelings. It is a moment, or series of moments, that rips your sense of connection to shreds and leaves you traumatized in some subtle or swooping way.

What incident, or incidences, happened that created trauma for you?

2. Awareness

When something happens we don’t always realize we’re traumatized. We can go straight into a fight or flight response and get swept away by our reactions rather than actually being aware that healing is needed.  In order for the seeds of forgiveness to begin to take root there must be an awareness that something isn’t right, we’re off in some way, we’ve lost our ability to love freely and it hurts.

Related Article: 6 Self Awareness Activities Everyone Needs to Try

Where is your love not flowing freely?

3. Create Safety with Sacred Space

Trauma flings us far from home. Forgiveness is a form of healing that calls us to return to love and find our way home again. The journey back to love isn’t always graceful or pretty. It requires a safe, sacred space to allow the hurt, the anger, the upset, and the fear to be expressed and processed without judgement, and without fear of being re-traumatized, or hurting someone else in the process.   A safe, sacred space can be as simple as a private journal that is just for you to say whatever you want. It could also be a place you go to where you feel safe such as a special trail in the forest, a beach, a special room in your home, or a therapist.

How can you create a safe, sacred space for yourself?

4. Honor your feelings

Your feelings are the map on the journey home. You must honor how you truly feel if you’re going to find your way home.  If you edit, down-play, sugar-coat or pretend you feel other than you actually do, you will find yourself in a never-ending loop, because you are not actually allowing the energy to move, you’re just spinning in denial. Trauma creates feelings. To heal from trauma and invite the possibility of forgiveness you must give your feelings the chance to be heard, acknowledged, expressed, respected, and honored for the guidance and depth of insight they offer.  If feelings are not honored and processed, they will repeat again and again in order to get your attention.

What do you really feel?

5. Practice Self Love

When things happen in our lives that separate us from love, we experience the ugliest versions of our ourselves and others. On the journey home to love, we will surely face these ugly expressions, our hate, our rage, our petty nit-picking, our disgust, and our outright disrespect.  With a safe, sacred space you can begin to process these darker emotions and honor their expression and the gifts they offer. But ultimately it is your ability to love yourself that will even give us the chance to embrace the possibility of healing.

The practice of self-love is the foundation for healing, it is the soil that holds you in the womb of transformation. If you love yourself, you will want to heal. If you love yourself you will not tolerate the prison that hate creates. Your self-love is the healing balm that starts to soothes the trauma.

How can you practice self-love?


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  1. Sam Damiano Sam Damiano says:

    I didn’t read the article. I’ve forgiven things because they don’t mean enough to me to weigh me down. Never give someone that much power.

  2. Julie Hayes Julie Hayes says:

    Excellent healing tool for those in crisis!

  3.' Christian Burlando says:

    Let go of the past. Avoid dwelling on the past as you move forward with your relationship. Continuing to think about the past will limit your trust of the person, leading to a stifled relationship. You do not necessarily need to “forgive and forget”; instead forgive and learn from the experience. If your partner cheated on you and you have chosen to forgive them, understand that you can now recognize the signs of possible cheating, or you can think about what may have caused the infidelity in the first place and not let that happen again. Let each event be a learning opportunity to make your relationship stronger. When you catch yourself dwelling on the past, focus on the present moment instead. Be mindful by taking a deep breath and focusing on exactly what is in front of you; the smell in the room, the conversation with your friend, etc…

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