How to Learn Forgiveness

Step 1: Move on to the next act

Your past history and all of your hurts are no longer here in your physical reality. Don’t allow them to be here in your mind, muddying your present moments. Your life is like a play with several acts. Some of the characters who enter have short roles to play, others, much larger. Some are villains and others are good guys. But all of them are necessary; otherwise they wouldn’t be in the play. Embrace them all, and move on to the next act.

Step 2: Reconnect to spirit

Make a new agreement with yourself to always stay connected to Spirit even when it seems to be the most difficult thing to do. If you do this, you will allow whatever degree of perfect harmony that your body was designed for to proliferate. Turn your hurts over to God, and allow Spirit to flow through you.

Your new agreement with reality in which you’ve blended your physical self and your personality with your spiritual God-connected self will begin to radiate a higher energy of love and light. Wherever you go, others will experience the glow of your God consciousness, and disharmony and disorder and all manner of problems simply will not flourish in your presence. Become “an instrument of thy peace,” as St. Francis desires in the first line of his famous prayer.

Step 3: Don’t go to sleep angry

Reiterate your “I ams”, which you have placed in your imagination, and I remember that your slumber will be dominated by your last waking concept of yourself. You are peaceful, you are content, you are love, and you attract only to yourself those who are in alignment with your highest ideals of yourself.

Step 4: Switch the focus from blaming others to understanding yourself

Whenever you’re upset over the conduct of others, take the focus off those you’re holding responsible for your inner distress. Shift your mental energy to allowing yourself to be with whatever you’re feeling — let the experience be as it may, without blaming others for your feelings. Don’t blame yourself either! Just allow the experience to unfold and tell yourself that no one has the power to make you uneasy without your consent, and that you’re unwilling to grant that authority to this person right now.

Tell yourself that you are willing to freely experience your emotions without calling them “wrong” or needing to chase them away. In this way, you’ve made a shift to self-mastery. It’s important to bypass blame, and even to bypass your desire to understand the other person; instead, focus on understanding yourself.

By taking responsibility for how you choose to respond to anything or anyone, you’re aligning yourself with the beautiful dance of life. By changing the way you choose to perceive the power that others have over you and you will see a bright new world of unlimited potential for yourself and you will know instantly how to forgive and let go of anything.

Step 5: Avoid telling people what to do

Avoid thoughts and activities that involve telling people who are perfectly capable of making their own choices what to do. In your family, remember that you do not own anyone. The poet Kahlil Gibran reminds you:

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you . . .

This is always true. In fact, disregard any inclination to dominate in all of your relationships. Listen rather than expound. Pay attention to yourself when you’re having judgmental opinions and see where self-attention takes you. From that moment on, you’ll be free of frustration with those who don’t behave according to your ego-dominated expectations.

Step 6: Learn to let go and be like water

Rather than attempting to dominate with your forcefulness, be like water: flow everywhere there’s an opening. Soften your hard edges by being more tolerant of contrary opinions. Interfere less, and substitute listening for directing and telling. When someone offers you their viewpoint, try responding with: “I’ve never considered that before—thank you. I’ll give it some thought.”

When you give up interfering, and opt instead to stream like water—gently, softly, and unobtrusively— you become forgiveness itself.

Picture yourself as having the same qualities as water. Allow your soft, weak, yielding, fluid self to enter places where you previously were excluded because of your inclination to be solid and hard. Flow softly into the lives of those with whom you feel conflicted: Picture yourself entering their private inner selves, seeing perhaps for the first time what they’re experiencing. Keep this image of yourself as gently coursing water, and watch how your relationships change.

Step 7: Take responsibility for your part

Removing blame means never assigning responsibility to anyone else for what you’re experiencing. It means that you’re willing to say, “I may not understand why I feel this way, why I have this illness, why I’ve been victimized, or why I had this accident, but I’m willing to say without any guilt or resentment that I own it. I live with, and I am responsible for, having it in my life.”

If you take responsibility for having the experience, then at least you have a chance to also take responsibility for removing it or learning from it. If you’re in some small (perhaps unknown) way responsible for that migraine headache or that depressed feeling, then you can go to work to remove it or discover what its message is for you. If, on the other hand, someone or something else is responsible in your mind, then of course you’ll have to wait until they change for you to get better. And that is unlikely to occur. So you go home with nothing and are left with nothing when peace is really on the other side of the coin.

Step 8: Let go of resentments

What causes annoyance and anger after a dispute? The generic response would be a laundry list detailing why the other person was wrong and how illogically and unreasonably they behaved, concluding with something like, “I have a right to be upset when my [daughter, mother-in-law, ex-husband, boss, or whomever you’re thinking of] speaks to  me that way!”

Resentments don’t come from the conduct of the other party in a disagreement—no, they survive and thrive because you’re unwilling to end that disagreement with an offering of kindness, love, and authentic forgiveness. As Lao-Tzu says:

“So when all of the yelling, screaming, and threatening words have been expressed, the time for calm has arrived. Remember that no storm lasts forever, and that hidden within are always seeds of tranquillity. There is a time for hostility and a time for peace.”

Step 9: Be kind instead of right

There is a Chinese proverb: “if you’re going to pursue revenge; you’d better dig two graves”, which is saying: your resentments will destroy you.

The world is just the way it is. The people who are behaving “badly” in the world are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. You can process it in any way that you choose. If you’re filled with anger about all of those “problems,” you are one more person who contributes to the pollution of anger.  Instead, remember that you have no need to make others wrong or to retaliate when you’ve been wronged.

Imagine if someone says something to you that you find offensive, and rather than opting for resentment, you learn to depersonalize what you’ve just heard and respond with kindness. You are willing to freely send the higher, faster energies of love, peace, joy, forgiveness, and kindness as your response to whatever comes your way. You do this for yourself. You would rather be kind than right.

Step 10: Practice giving

In the midst of arguments or disagreements, practice giving rather than taking before you exit. Giving involves leaving the ego behind. While it wants to win and show its superiority by being contrary and disrespectful, while you want to be at peace and live in harmony. You can reduce your quarrelling time to almost zero if you practice this procedure:

Wherever you are, whenever you feel strong emotions stirring in you and you notice yourself feeling the need to “be right,” silently recite the following words from the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Be a giver of forgiveness as he teaches: Bring love to hate, light to darkness, and pardon to injury. Read these words daily, for they’ll help you overcome your ego’s demands and know the fullness of life.

Step 11: Stop looking for occasions to be offended

When you live at or below ordinary levels of awareness, you spend a great deal of time and energy finding opportunities to be offended. A news report, a rude stranger, someone cursing, a sneeze, a black cloud —just about anything will do if you’re looking for an occasion to be offended. Become a person who refuses to be offended by any one, anything, or any set of circumstances.

If you have enough faith in your own beliefs, you’ll find that it’s impossible to be offended by the beliefs and conduct of others.

Not being offended is a way of saying, “I have control over how I’m going to feel, and I choose to feel peaceful regardless of what I observe going on. When you feel offended, you’re practicing judgment. You judge someone else to be stupid, insensitive, rude, arrogant, inconsiderate, or foolish, and then you find yourself upset and offended by their conduct. What you may not realize is that when you judge another person, you do not define them. You define yourself as someone who needs to judge others.

Step 12: Don’t live in the past – Be present

When you find it difficult to forgive, often it is because you are not living in the present, and instead, you assign more importance to the past. You assign a good portion of your energy and attention lamenting the good old days that are gone forever as the reason why you can’t be happy and fulfilled today. “Everything has changed,” “No one respects anyone else like they used to…” This is assigning responsibility to the past for why you can’t be happy today.

Step 13:  Embrace your dark times

In a universe that’s an intelligent system with a divine creative force supporting it, there simply can be no accidents. As tough as it is to acknowledge, you had to go through what you went through in order to get to where you are today, and the evidence is that you did. Every spiritual advance that you will make in your life will very likely be preceded by some kind of fall or seeming disaster. Those dark times, accidents, tough episodes, break ups, periods of impoverishment, illnesses, abuses, and broken dreams were all in order. They happened, so you can assume they had to and you can’t un-happen them.

Embrace them from that perspective, and then understand them, accept them, honour them, and finally transform them.

Step 14: Refrain from judgement

When you stop judging and simply become an observer, you will know inner peace. With that sense of inner peace, you’ll find yourself happier and free of the negative energy of resentment. A bonus is that you’ll find that others are much more attracted to you. A peaceful person attracts peaceful energy.

Step 15: Send love

We humans do occasionally slip and retreat from our highest self into judgment, criticism, and condemnation, but this is not a rationale for choosing to practice that kind of interaction. You can only tell that when you finally got it, and you sent only love to another of God’s children whom you had been judging and criticizing, you got the immediate result of inner contentment.

Send love in place of those judgments and criticisms to others when you feel they impede your joy and happiness, and hold them in that place of love. Notice that if you stay steadfast, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Picture yourself at the termination of a quarrel or major dispute. Rather than reacting with old patterns of residual anger, revenge, and hurt, visualise offering kindness, love, and forgiveness.

Do this right now by sending out these “true virtue” thoughts to any resentment you’re currently carrying. Make this your standard response to any future altercations: to end on love, no matter what.


Source: drwaynedyer.com


The University of California, Berkeley states that according to Robert Enright, Fred Luskin, and other experts, forgiveness isn’t just for the deeply generous among us; it’s both a choice and a trainable skill that almost anyone can learn. Fortunately, research suggests that the capacity for forgiveness is an intrinsic part of human nature. Here are some research-based strategies for tapping into that capacity, whether you’re trying to forgive others, forgive yourself, or seek forgiveness from someone else.


  • View forgiveness as something for you, not a gift to someone else: In his Nine Steps to Forgiveness program, Fred Luskin emphasizes that forgiveness is best seen as something that will bring you peace, closure, and reduce your suffering.
  • Articulate your emotions: If you want to forgive or be forgiven, be willing to express how you’re feeling to others and to yourself. Ruminating on negative feelings is both unhealthy and unproductive.
  • Look for the silver lining: This can be a controversial tip, but research suggests that after someone hurts you, you can forgive more easily by reflecting on the personal benefits you may have gained through the transgression. Writing about those benefits might be especially helpful.
  • Make an effective apology: If you’re seeking forgiveness from others, studies suggest that apologizing will help—but weak apologies might only make things worse. Researcher Aaron Lazare has studied apologies for years, concluding that an effective apology has four parts: It acknowledges the offense, offers an explanation for the offense, expresses remorse or shame, and involves compensation of some kind.
  • Cultivate empathy: When someone has been hurt, they’ll be more likely to forgive—and less likely to retaliate—if they can sense or imagine the distress or remorse felt by the person who hurt them. This might explain why apologies foster forgiveness.
  • Humanize the other through contact: Research in Northern Ireland found that people on both sides of the violence there were more likely to forgive if they came into contact with someone from the other side, perhaps because it reduced feelings of anger and encouraged them to see the other’s humanity.
  • Seek peace, not justice: In his forgiveness program, Robert Enright emphasizes that forgiveness is separate from justice. The people who hurt you may never get their just desserts, but that shouldn’t prevent you from moving on with your life.
  • Understand that forgiveness is a process: True forgiveness doesn’t happen in an instant; instead, it takes time and energy to achieve, and might not come easily.


Here are some easy steps towards forgiveness:


  • Acknowledge your own inner pain.
  • Express those emotions in non-hurtful ways without yelling or attacking.
  • Protect yourself from further victimization.
  • Try to understand the point of view and motivations of the person to be forgiven; replace anger with compassion.
  • Forgive yourself for your role in the relationship.
  • Decide whether to remain in the relationship.
  • Perform the overt act of forgiveness verbally or in writing. If the person is dead or unreachable, you can still write down your feelings in letter form.