Posted by: Asa Don Brown on April 15, 2013 3:36 pm

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”
                                                                                     ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forgiveness is good, forgiveness is necessary, forgiveness stimulates the positive perspectives of the mind.  When we retain hate, anger, displeasure, or hostility towards another; we have allowed the negative to absorb into our mind, body, and spirit.  It is forgiveness that empty’s the soul, mind, and the body of the filth that we carry. 

Forgiveness allows the pathways of our minds to flow smoothly.  We are blocking the pathways of nutrition, healthy, and happiness.  Even if, we have the “right” to hold resentment towards another; any negative thought, deed, action or reaction only affects our person.  When we hold contempt for another person, we are essentially continuing the harm that was done by another. 


“What we don’t recognize is that holding onto resentment is like holding onto your breath.  You’ll soon start to suffocate.”  Deepak Chopra

The importance of forgiveness is that it reminds us that we can feel better, be better, and achieve more.  Forgiveness’s importance is unmistakable; real forgiveness can alter your perceptions and worldview.  If your worldview and perceptions have been based on the negative, then forgiveness refocuses your mindset onto the positive perspectives of life.


“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.” ~ Tony Robbins

“Why are we so concerned about making mistakes?  Why are we afraid of failure?  As a society, we are taught that failure is a remark of our character, our persona, our very worth.  From Hollywood to Bollywood we view movies and television shows that remark upon the negativity of failure. 

The Positive Aspect of Failure

If I fail, then I have a guidepost, indicating the areas with which I can improve. Failure has become the barometer of negativity, rather than a potential of opportunity.  Without failure, we could not relish in the achievement of our successes.  As a good parent, we should teach our children that failure is an opportunity for improvement and growth, rather than a blockade deterring us from our greatest potential.  Failure is no more than a mere challenge begging us to be better.” (Brown, 2012, Online)

Forgiving Our Person

Forgiveness of self begins the process of forgiving others.  If I choose not forgive myself, then I am also choosing to deny forgiveness unto others.  If I choose not to “fully” and “completely” forgive myself, then I am hanging on to the past negativity deeds, actions, and failures of my life.  Therefore my mind remains in the past, rather than moving forward to the present. 

Forgiving oneself is of the utmost importance.  If you cannot forgive your person, then how will you be capable of forgiving another.  Forgiveness is relatable to how we interact, relate to and connect our person to others. 


“Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:

1             Healthier relationships
2             Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
3             Less anxiety, stress and hostility
4             Lower blood pressure
5             Fewer symptoms of depression
6             Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse” (MayoClinic, 2013, Online)
7             If we choose to, then there is a greater probability of reuniting with the person (s) that we have held resentment towards.
8             An ability to fully focus on our minds on a positive perspective of life.
9             Decrease in somatic complaints
10         An empowerment of the individual

The benefits of forgiveness are limitless.  Forgiveness allows your mind to be free of the negativity that has possessed it.  Negativity has an ability to completely control and have power over your person.  Such ingrained negativity can and often does manifest in our speech, actions, deeds, and reactions.  The ingraining of negativity firmly embeds itself into our minds, rejecting the positive perspectives of our personhood.


Forgiving another person does not mean that you have to forget the negative deed, action, or communication.  If you have been harmed, you may have endured emotional, psychological or personal pain.  When the pain heals, there may remain a visible or invisible scar that is directly related to the harm.  While the harm may no longer exist, or the pain associated with the harm; the scar may remain.  Scars are nothing more than a reminder, but they are not the pain or the harm itself. “Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.” (MayoClinic, 2013, Online)

It is the forgiveness of others that allows you to live life to its fullest potential.  Real forgiveness allows you to focus your mind on other things.  If you hold onto the harm, then you hold onto the past.  It is the shifting of your mind that will transform your person.


Encouraging others to forgive, allows another person to move beyond his/her own negative past.  When you forgive, you are offering yourself freedom from your past.  When you teach others to forgive, you are helping them to find health, happiness, and wholeness. 


“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese

Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky calls forgiveness ‘a shift in thinking’ toward someone who has wronged you, ‘such that your desire to harm that person has decreased and your desire to do him good (or to benefit your relationship) has increased.’ Forgiveness, at a minimum, is a decision to let go of the desire for revenge and ill-will toward the person who wronged you. It may also include feelings of goodwill toward the other person. Forgiveness is also a natural resolution of the grief process, which is the necessary acknowledgment of pain and loss.” (PBS, 2013, Online) 

The Fundamental Principle of …(Forgiveness) is having a spirit of unconditional love, trust, respect, dignity, caring, and hope.  It is the knowledge that we will fail and succeed, but that our worth is not based on our failures or successes.  For who we are, is greater than our level of obtainment or achievement, or of failure or loss.  For who we are, is a person deserving of love, forgiveness, respect, dignity, and loyalty.  A child that is raised with such principles will intrinsically rely upon these principles in moments of need, desperation, motivation, and for personal inspiration.” (Brown, 2012, Online)

“Forgiveness is the experience of peacefulness in the present moment.  Forgiveness does not change the past, but it changes the present.”  Frederic Luskin

Forgiveness has the ability to transform our thoughts.  It has an ability to allow us to reconnect with others and have a deeper relationship with them.  Forgiveness cannot only have a healing affect for the individual, but its affect can go well beyond those initially involved in the forgiveness.

Author:   Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C.



Brown, A. D. (2012) Inspiring your child. Retrieved April 7, 2013 from

Mayo Clinic (2013) Forgiveness:  Letting go of grudges and bitterness.  Retrieved April 7, 2013 from

Public Broadcasting Service, PBS (2013) Understanding forgiveness; What is forgiveness?  How does forgiving another help us? And how can we cultivate forgiveness in our lives? Retrieved April 7, 2013 from

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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