“I forgive you…” It’s something we say as kids, but not so much in adulthood. And as kids, we don’t really mean it…somebody just makes us say it. So, what is forgiveness, and how can it impact illnesses, disease, your body and your life?

Webster’s dictionary says:

1. To free from accusation, or the imputation of fault or blame; to clear from guilt; to release from a charge; to justify by extenuating a fault; to exculpate; to absolve; to acquit.
2. To pardon, as a fault; to forgive entirely, or to admit to be little censurable, and to overlook; as, we excuse irregular conduct, when extraordinary circumstances appear to justify it.
3. To regard with indulgence; to view leniently or to overlook; to pardon.
4. To free from an impending obligation or duty; hence, to disengage; to dispense with; to release by favor; also, to remit by favor; not to exact; as, to excuse a forfeiture.

The first thing that comes to my mind as I read the Webster’s definition is “I don’t think so…”

A wave of resistance just bubbles up in my stomach, my chest and my throat and I further resolve that I’m not going to let my perpetrator off that easily! They need to suffer! You want me to overlook what they did? Free them from blame? Release by favor? You gotta be kidding! They hurt me – they need to suffer.

In my mind, the hurt that they caused me validates my feelings of anger, hatred, disgust, blame and more. Every bad thing that happens to them just reinforces my need for justice, for payback, for revenge.

Here’s the question – is this what I want? Do I want to be angry? Do I like the thoughts that are going through my head? Every time I think about the incident, I feel more and more hurt and disgusted. My hate grows. What, exactly is that doing to me, physically, mentally and spiritually?

Physically I get tense every time I think about this person or what they did. Sometimes the tenseness is there even though I’m not thinking about it. My stomach, chest and shoulders tense up, my face frowns and my forehead creases. I may head to the refrigerator to find something to “stuff down” the feelings with, or maybe a drink to dull the emotions.

Mentally I am so out of focus I have a hard time reading a book, working or even cleaning. I keep thinking of the hurt which just brings a flood of emotions that are uncomfortable, so to cover the emotions I try to think of something else, absorb myself in TV or anything that can take my mind off it for a while. After a while, it becomes a habit to just do anything but think those thoughts that bring on the uncomfortable feelings. My focus is gone, my memory is touch and go and my communication becomes fierce and angry.

Spiritually – well, we’re not supposed to feel this way, so I feel distanced, separated, guilty, ashamed and maybe even mad at God, the Universe or whomsoever I believe allowed this injustice to happen to me in the first place!

And what is all this doing to my perpetrator?


That’s right. Nothing. Zip. Zero.

He’s sailing through his life, getting promoted at work, forging new relationships, enjoying his time, having fun with his family and not thinking an ounce about me and what he has done.

All my anger, bitterness, resentment and hatred has done, has been to hurt me.

“But HE hurt me…”

So I have to step back for a moment. It seems that the things I’m doing to myself now are hurting me more than he ever did. I have to ask myself if I’m seeing this for what it really is.

Did he hurt me? Did he do it on purpose. Did he mean to hurt me? If we act and react based on our inner, subconscious beliefs, what is it that he believes that could make him act that way or treat me in that manner. Is it about me? If someone else were there instead of me, would he still have done it?

And the answer comes. He’s reacting to life through his own beliefs. He is a factor of his environment, his beliefs, his choices and his results. He’s living his life in an unconscious state of his programming, running away from his feelings, hiding from anything he thinks might hurt him – just like pretty much everyone else. On the outside he’s searching for happiness, safety and love just like the rest of us. On the inside, his programming says he doesn’t deserve, he can’t have, he can’t be, etc. He’s not hurting me to hurt me…he’s hurting me because he’s unconscious of who he is. The things that have happened to him in the past to make him who he is have become the beliefs that run his life, and he doesn’t know how to change it. Poor man. It must be really sad to go through life like that – to have inner beliefs that sabotage your every move, to never know real happiness.

Would I want to be him? Would I want the life of any of the people who have really hurt me? No way. Not in a million years.

Do they deserve my forgiveness? Maybe, maybe not. Do I care anymore? No.

It’s not about them anymore. How can I punish someone who is already punishing themselves? When I know my anger has no effect on them – it just gives them the power to control me and my feelings. Yes, thinking about them, hating them, wishing destruction on them simply destroys me. It eats away at me from within, creating misjudgement, illness, distance. I need my control back. I need to free myself from this ugliness.

So I choose to forgive. I choose to feel it. Maybe I can’t love them, but I can cease to hate, I can forgive them for being who they are. I can forgive them for feeling how they feel, and expressing their hurt and fear in a way that threatened and hurt me.

I don’t hate him, I feel a bit sorry for him. I can see the truth…he lives on in unconsciousness. I set him free, and in doing so I set myself free. I reacted the way I did. I felt the way I did based on my own faulty programming. I stop judging. I stop punishing. I stop blaming. I forgive.

And I silently send these thoughts to him in my mind…”I truly forgive you. You don’t deserve it. You didn’t ask for it. But this is my gift to myself, to forgive you with the essence of my being, and by so doing, I take back any power I ever gave to you. I regain control of my thoughts, my feelings and my actions. From now on, you are just who you are, you are doing the best you know how to do based on your experiences, your knowledge and your awareness. You have no more power to hurt me. I see you for what and who you really are and I do not condemn you for that. I forgive you and set you free.”

With that, I feel a huge weight lift off my chest, and a sense of peace enter my body, my mind and my spirit. I will punish myself no longer.

Author's Bio: 

Tracey Burchard is a Certified Hypnotist, Life Coach and Stress Management consultant and has an active practice in the Orlando area. She provides Corporate Workshops’, Personal Sessions and Phone Sessions, and has authored a line of Self Improvement CDs and MP3s available on her website at www.bodymindhyposis.com.