“May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change …”

Continuing further with topic of letting go, I think that sometimes forgiving someone for a previous transgression may be a necessary step in order to be able to let go of a painful event in the past that can’t be changed.

Forgiveness really isn’t about making the other person feel better for harming us, although they may be very grateful to know they are forgiven. Forgiveness happens within ourselves alone.

It is about getting rid of the pent up anger, sadness, fear, bitterness, disappointment, resentment, or other painful feelings that are stuck, churning inside ourselves, and possibly making us sick.

There is no point to purposefully hanging on to the hurt and anger associated with being wronged for years and years.

For example, if one’s spouse or lover left for someone else, no doubt it hurts tremendously. But why keep hurting oneself by hanging onto that pain forever?

Carrying that feeling of being wronged like a badge of honour may make one feel more righteous than the other person, but the venom inside is only harming the person carrying it.

As in the past example, forgiving can be extremely difficult. If someone close to you was murdered, how is it possible to forgive the murderer? I am not suggesting that by forgiving a murderer that that person should be allowed to roam the streets. Forgiveness is about freeing ONESELF of negative feelings, letting go, and moving on.

Even in far less severe circumstances, being able to truly forgive is really hard. I find that wanting to let go and being able to let go are two very different things. For me it is easy to forgive on an intellectual level, but getting that shift to happen at the gut level can at times be staggeringly difficult.

Sometimes our nervous system and neuropeptide system have linked so much pain to a situation, that we feel completely blocked emotionally. Being unable to forgive at an emotional level holds one hostage to the past, making it difficult to move forward in life.

I don’t have any real answers on how to overcome this kind of emotional baggage, except to suggest that everyone is doing the best they can considering the state-of-mind, information and ability they have at any given time. If any of you have any other suggestions, please share!

Please do keep the comments coming on my blog. If you want to share this article, go to the blog post and scroll to the bottom and click on the “share this” icon. If you want to search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

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Katie, Byron Loving What Is Three Rivers Press, New York NY, 2002.
Rosenberg, Marshall B., PhD Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life Puddledancer Press, Encinitas, CA, 2005.


  1. ursula ekk said,

    June 20, 2006 @ 8:00 pm

    HI Frainy
    Thanks for your wellness tips, i really enjoy them. On the topic of forgiveness, you express it so well. That deep down hurt that keeps on churning . Someone said that it was like giving poison to myself but waiting for the other person to get sick.
    It keeps on turning and and does not go away. I had an experience where i was so hurt that i became sick and that went on for a few days.
    I found out that i could not bring up the power to let go especially because it was so painful, until i realized that God must feel the same hurt when i push him aside in my life and he still loves me and wants me to connect with him. So how does he do that? I found out that HE is the one that can give me the power when i come to him and declare bankrupcy , i told him i needed him and YES, he did release me completely. I am free and i can honestly say that i can love that person again with no churning inside and no sickness. We are made with a vacuum inside that only Jesus can fill, and research shows that people who accept that inivitation have better wellness with the body , soul and mind issues.
    It is clear to me that this is the only way i can truly forgive people and mean it. I know in my heart that it is true, and the evidence backs it up. I hope this is of some help.

  2. Mae said,

    November 8, 2010 @ 12:45 am

    Hi Frainy,

    Forgiveness is the best gift you can give to yourself.

  3. Robert said,

    January 22, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

    Thanks for this article. I was in limbo for 6 years, couldn’t let go. My problem was I was trying to figure out why they betrayed me. Then I realized they’re just like that and would do it again if they had the chance. I also learned it’s OK to not like someone, not hate, but dislike and that gave me peace. My religion has always told me to love my enemy. I say no need, just move on and not think about revenge.

  4. Sue said,

    January 23, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

    You mentioned one way to clear emotional baggage in the sources. Byron Katie’s ‘The Work’ process can help you question your thoughts about an event or action that caused an emotional issue or stress. Just go to her website ( and go through ‘The Work’ process in the Resource section (right side).

    Another possible solution is EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique. You tap on specific meridian points while making statements. I have found it useful when I’m feeling a bit anxious. It may work well for shifting blocked energy to do with forgiveness issues.

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