What is forgiveness and why is it important?

What is Forgiveness and Why is it Important | My Inner Strengths

I’ve only started fully comprehending forgiveness recently. But my oh my, what an eye opener it has been!

I can promise you that once you understand letting go and start embracing it, your life will just not be the same. You will, and I absolutely mean you will, walk and breathe feeling much lighter and easier. It’s as if a whole lot of unwanted weight will fall down from your body.

A lot of people say that they’ve bid goodbye to severe chronic pain or miraculously healed a disease after releasing resentment. Sounds amazing, right? So let’s dive right in.

What is forgiveness?

Simply put, forgiving means letting go of the past to free yourself. Yes, it means letting go but don’t let this statement confuse you. Forgiveness is not about repressing, forgetting, or dismissing. It doesn’t mean that you condone an action you didn’t like, it does not mean that you become friends with the person who acted wrongly.

In fact, you can forgive and still take legal action against the person you forgave. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the person you forgive; it is only linked to you inside.

You’re only telling yourself that you won’t be disturbed by the past anymore and that you accept that what happened is in the past. Full stop. You are saying that the past is done and over with.

Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that you can change your past.

Usually, we all keep some sort of a mental record of the situations where we’ve been wronged. We remember what was said/done, how we were hurt, and usually, we carry this frustration with us through years and years, sometimes even decades.

Partly we store this hurt inside us as an internal protection mechanism. Somewhere deep down we believe that if we remember our painful past and not let the memories slip away, we won’t be hurt again. It’s our way to protect ourself.

But how illogical is this obsessive compulsion of holding on to stuff that should be released? How can we be protecting by causing ourself to remember and store painful stories?

Let’s use an analogy to understand forgiveness a bit more. 

What is Forgiveness and Why is it Important My Inner Strengths What is forgiveness and why is it important?
Let’s say someone gave you a stone to keep in your pocket. And let’s say that it really irritates you, it annoys you while you’re walking around. It is an unnecessary rock that bothers you, it’s bruised you and it doesn’t let you sleep well.

If you pretend that this stone has gone, it won’t solve your problem because the stone is still there in reality.

If you were to blame the person who gave it to you, regardless of how long you blame, you will still not rid yourself of the stone problem.

Yes, it’s true that you did not put the stone in your pocket, so you did not make your problem. But even though you didn’t create the stone problem, you still have to take ownership of it to let it go.

You need to recognize that the stone is a problem, understand that it is causing you pain, and then throw it away so that your problem can go away. Your bruises will clear away in time too after you’ve thrown the stone.

Letting go works the same way. You could be right in thinking that you did not cause yourself hurt, but you still have to take responsibility for removing the hurt that has been caused to you. 

Just as with the stone, after you’ve forgiven, the bruises could still be there. But once you’ve started the healing process, the bruises will disappear very soon too.

What is Forgiveness and Why is it Important My Inner Strengths3 What is forgiveness and why is it important?

Why is forgiveness important?

In all honesty, releasing the past is a tough deed. It takes determination and practice. Letting go of tragic experiences, unhealthy relationships, and people… And there is tons to set free. But, imagine how powerful and confident you’d be if the past didn’t bother you. There are many wonderful empowering reasons to let go.

1. No matter how many times you think about the past, you can’t change it.

What is gone, is gone…

There is no real benefit in remembering it. By wondering, “I regret that I did ….”, “Why did that happen to me?”, “How could do this?”, “I wish I had …”, we are only aggravating our suffering and achieving little else.

Sure, it might get us some sympathy from well-meaning friends and family, but in reality, the more we remember our past pain, the more frustrated we feel.

Past misery doesn’t do any damage to the person who wronged us, nor does it change the situation; it only makes us feel worse and worse inside. We feel frustrated and hurt and angry, and this pain continues building up inside us.

The past is done, the present is in your hands. You can choose not to suffer now, learn from it and take responsibility for your future.

2. By letting go, you create space for something new.

We need to clear out our old clothes before we can make space for the new ones. Similarly, we can only invite exciting new adventures into our life after we’ve freed ourselves up from past setbacks and fears.

We need to make room in our hearts so that we can find the new lover that is right for us, and we need to let go of trauma so that we can let the healing begin.

3. You’ll feel lighter, better and stronger after letting go.

By hanging on to our troubles, we add on to stress and anxiety in our lives.

The American Institute of Stress estimates that stress is the basic cause of 60% of all human diseases and illnesses. So, somewhere along the road, all our bottled up stress starts showing up on the outside as body aches and ailments.

Imagine for a moment how much lighter and freer you’d feel if you could lift off all this heavyweight from your shoulders! Imagine how proud you would be of your tremendous journey, and how incredibly empowered you’d feel inside. So it’s worth the effort, isn’t it?

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Hmm, this one has been a heavy post, hasn’t it? I hope you enjoyed it though and hopefully forgiveness will make your life easier and simpler.

Have you been forgiving recently? What’s worked best for you?

Please comment below. I read and reply to every single one, and if I use your comment in a post. I’ll be sure to mention you.

With love,


Forgiveness Affirmations My Inner Strength 150x150 What is forgiveness and why is it important?

Powerful Forgiveness Affirmations and Quotes





11 responses to “What is forgiveness and why is it important?”

  1. Forgiveness is when you release someone from their debt to you. This debt could be from a slight against you or a favor you did for someone. By forgiving the debt you are releasing the person as well as yourself.

    That said, you do not have to continuously take crap from anyone. When you forgive someone you must also set and enforce boundaries. That may mean that you decide not to loan somebody money anymore, or that you refuse to allow your sibling to visit your home because they have shown they can’t be trusted.

    Everyone deserves forgiveness. Everyone deserves a chance to become better. However, it is their choice to either remain as they are or to work on becoming a better person. If they choose not to work on themselves or better their lives, that’s not your problem.

  2. I have a hard time finding the difference between “I forgive you” and “it’s fine what you did to me”. I’m struggling with that.

    • It’s not so much “it’s okay that you hurt me” as it is “I accept that you did this to me. I wish you hadn’t and I hope you won’t do it again. But I’m not going to hold on to this pain forever.”

  3. There’s a buddhist teaching that says, (and I’m paraphrasing), “unforgiveness is taking poison and hoping it kills your enemy.” In that light, forgiveness is the decision to stop taking the poison. It’s the conscious practice of letting go of resentment, hatred, blame, and vengeance.

    As a practical note, I think it’s simpler to let go of those attachments by supplanting them with goodwill, than by simply ignoring them. Removing a harmful thought may result in another harmful thought taking its place, but actively replacing negativity with positive regard can kickstart a new response pattern that becomes routine. (For me, this works best if done without judgment, simply recognizing the peaceful stillness within and siding with it).

    “Forgiveness is for you, not for them” is partly true. But, I’d say it’s very much for everyone. You can certainly help yourself a lot by letting go of poisonous thoughts. And in turn, you help everyone else who encounters you, because they’re now in contact with someone who is more free of past suffering.

    • Thank you for this wonderful comment. I hadn’t heard the saying on unforgiveness before. It makes so much sense. Thank you for sharing.

      I love your idea of letting go of attachment​ as the other reader, Jony, said as well.

      And then, yes, forgiveness is for them too because we become more loving and compassionate beings towards everyone. Thank you for writing in!

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