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“Forgiveness of the present is even more important than forgiveness of the past. If you forgive every moment -allow it to be as it is- then there will be no accumulation of resentment that needs to be forgiven at some later time.” – The Power of Now

What does it mean to truly forgive someone? Why is it so hard to do?

We long to hear the words, “I forgive you” or “You’re forgiven”, when we’ve done something wrong, let someone down, or hurt someone else -whether it’s intentional or accidental. We want to know that our actions and words didn’t leave a lasting negative impact. When others don’t forgive us, it’s difficult not to let our minds ruminate about what we did wrong or how we can fix it. No matter how much we all may disagree, we want to feel respected. So when we feel disrespected by others we want them to acknowledge and apologize for it.

It’s become so crucial, especially in today’s society, to apologize for every offense. But it’s difficult to gauge what others will take personally -particularly online. It seems that anything people say or do can be taken offensively, out of context, or in the wrong way to any differing viewpoint. Despite this, we still expect others to apologize to us when we’ve been hurt or offended. So why is it still difficult, even after an apology, to let the pain and anger go?


Many of us have forgotten what it truly means to forgive. When we forgive we decide to stop feeling anger or resentment towards someone or some situation. It has no bearing on what the other person has said or done. It’s always easier to forgive someone when there is an apology. But if we let our pain and anger be determined by something outside of our control, then we’ll always have it in our lives. We can’t expect to receive an apology or have someone show remorse for hurting us. If we can’t learn to forgive them despite that, then we’ll just continue to hold onto that pain and anger.

When we decide to give forgiveness it’s because we know that any disagreement, pain, or struggle from anything outside of us doesn’t influence who we are as a person. So, by forgiving others we’re really gifting ourselves with happiness. We can decide not to hold onto pain and anger anymore. But how are we expected to forgive one another, nonetheless the whole of society, all of the time?


Once we realize that we don’t need an apology in order to forgive, it becomes much easier to begin the process. We’ll never get an apology from our ancestors for all of the pain and inequality they systemically created. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t decide now to forgive each other. Humanity keeps repeating the same mistake and expecting a different result. We continue to hold one another accountable for society’s past offenses, thus continuing the divide.

We need to come to the conclusion that in order to progress we don’t have to keep putting our negative energy into the societal institutions that have separated us. Instead, we can choose to forgive one another today, and every day, thus keeping pain and anger under our own control.

A person holding out to offer a light bulb filled with string lights in their hands


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