Existential Psychology

Forgiveness Is For The Forgiver

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When we think about forgiveness we usually think about redemption for the person asking for it, as a sort of cleansing, a clean slate so that this person can move forward without feeling stuck. But the exact same thing can be said for the one doing the forgiving. Forgiveness if for the forgiver as much as it is for the forgiven.

Forgiveness is a tremendous gift that can only be given by the person who has been wronged, but in this process the giver also receives. When you forgive you free yourself from those burdensome feelings that impede your happiness and growth in the present just like they impeded your happiness and growth in the past.

Forgiveness is a letting go, and with this letting go a decision to move forward with your life instead of staying stuck in the past. There is nothing new for you in the past, just the same old betrayals and resentments. You were violated in some way. The heart of what makes violation so painful is that it makes you feel powerless. Forgiving is the ultimate act of power, and the result is liberation.

You don’t need to be asked for forgiveness to grant it. You certainly shouldn’t grant it verbally to someone who hasn’t asked for it, but you can still forgive this person in your heart and with this forgiveness set yourself free to live the life you were meant to live, and probably would have been living all along if not for the violation you experienced.