How to forgive

“To forgive is to set a free a prisoner and discover that the prisoner was you” Lewis B. Smedes

I read this quote a couple of years ago. Honestly I don’t even remember where. I do know though that it something clicked. That day I found I was able to hold space between me and the person who (inadvertently) hurt me. 

I realized that after all it would not be possible to change what had happened, and that holding onto that feeling was only gonna weigh me down. What was even more interesting was I became aware there was a little Minos living inside of me.

As Thom Knoles says, rather than talking about forgiving, it is better to talk about forgetting. In this video he explains that when the act of forgiving implies recalling the event that triggered the discontent, and in doing so, we take for granted that our point of view is superior and certainly “more correct” than the one of the person who has hurt us and who wants to be forgiven.

According to a Vedic perspective, everyone is doing what they are have to do in the moment for their own evolution. Sometimes implies also actions that are not very elegant or pleasant for the other person involved; yet these actions happen and they challenge us.  It is only over time, when we are able to embrace what happened that we can breathe again and think “Wow, I’m glad it happened the way it did”. Mistakes are functional to growth: it’s like when we learn to ride a bike, or walk, or any new activity.In the great gym of life, mistakes are (mandatory) functional to evolution.

to forgive
“To forgive is to set a free a prisoner and discover that the prisoner was you”

This does not mean we are allowed to offend people: awareness makes the difference. What if things would have gone differently? It doesn’t really matter. They happened and we cannot change them. So in this case a useful question to ask ourselves is: what do I want to do with this information I have been given? If a person has unintentionally hurt me and I feel having a hard time forgiving them, what can I do?

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover that that prisoner was you.” Do we struggle to forgive the other or do we struggle to forgive ourselves? What’s holding us back ? Isn’t it that perhaps we are overly judgmental and chase an idea of perfection (where the person | right | doesn’t hurt) that doesn’t exist? And so maybe, we don’t accept any mistakes cause we don’t allow ourselves to make mistakes in the first place?

I have been asking myself after a discussion I recently had with a friend. I was feeling hurt. I was able to see that although on a mental level I was aware that he had nothing to do with how I was feeling (we spoke about it and his intentions were far from hurting me) my body was antsy and anxious. On one hand I was feeling hurt and wanted him to acknowledge it; on the other I was aware he had nothing to do with the way I was feeling; I knew that I had been triggered by him on something I already experienced before.

to forgive is to be free

Owning your own narrative is key to forgiveness

Everyone has their own experience and story. Yoga, meditation, and therapy are tools that help us become aware of our narrative. Owning and recognizing it allows us to understand why and what can trigger us. People become mirror to situations already present in our lives that weighs us down. Therefore, forgiving frees us as it becomes an opportunity to let go of that burden.

Forgiveness can be an act of love toward ourselves and an act of faith toward humanity. We give the benefit of the doubt to the other and allow ourselves to be human. 

This is my personal perspective on forgiveness right now. I’m aware there are many other reflections and considerations on this topic. I’d love to hear your opinion. Please comment, reflect and share this article if you like it.


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