Una's Blog


85 Forgive everybody – for everything

graphic-1by Una Hearne.

The title is a quote from Iyanla Vanzant from her forgiveness course. (Excellent course, not for the faint hearted! Available through www.oprah.com).

Forgiveness is one of the hardest lessons we have to learn in life. It is also one of the most rewarding to master.

Here’s what I’ve learned about forgiveness so far:

  • Forgiveness IS NOT for the benefit of the other person (or people). It is for you, it gives you back your power, energy, peace of mind and freedom.
  • Forgiving someone does NOT mean you are condoning or endorsing their behaviour in any way. It does not mean you are ‘letting them get away with it’.
  • It does NOT mean that you have to reconcile with the person, have a relationship with them, or indeed, have them in your life in any way.
  • Forgivess IS letting go of the toxic negative emotions you carry around as a result of someone else’s behaviour. The anger, hurt, resentment, pain, shame and guilt. All of it. ‘Holding on to toxic emotions is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die’ to paraphrase Malachy McCourt.
  • Forgiveness IS accepting that whatever happened, happened. It is accepting fully that you cannot fix or change what happened in the past. Oprah put it beautifully: ‘Forgiveness is giving up the wish for the past to be different’.
  • Forgiveness IS realising that you have the power to choose how your experience shapes you and your life now. This means taking responsibility for the meaning you attach to experiences. Other people’s behaviour and what they say is ultimately not about you, it’s about them. You get to decide what it means to you and what beliefs you hold.
  • Forgiveness IS embracing the learning from experience. The tougher the experience the more learning and layers you can uncover over time. All experience contains gifts for you. It’s just some are more obvious than others!
  • The most important person to forgive, for everything, is yourself.

One of the things that makes forgiveness so difficult is that it is so wrapped up in our habitual and mostly unconscious thinking. The little hurts might be easy to let go, the big stuff can take a lot of time. Forgiveness is a practice, it requires being conscious of our thinking and changing thinking that isn’t working for us. There are no rules in any kind of inner personal development, it is a unique journey for each person. What works for one person might not work for the next. Try everything and use what works for you. The first step is a choice, a decision – Do you want to change the effect that something in your past is having on your life today and transform it into something that affects your future positively?



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