Be the change you want to see in yourself

Inspirational thoughts, ideas, quotes, and articles.


Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 23, 2007

picture by © cloud9999


When we are angry at people in are life. When we aren’t talking to people in our life. When we hate people in our life. When we are doing these things, we are weakening ourselves, we are hurting ourselves, we are hating ourselves. That is because, when we don’t forgive, we are allowing our heart to be weighed down with negativity. But, we already know that. So why do we do it? Why don’t we forgive?

My theory is; that we really don’t know how to forgive. I mean, saying you “forgive” someone, isn’t really “forgiving” them, is it? What if there were actually steps you could take to forgive? Kind of a “12 step” program for forgiveness, only with less steps. See if this works for you. Because, when you forgive someone, you are pushing anger out of your heart and making more room for love to get in, and love is what really matters.

STEP ONE: WHY ARE YOU ANGRY AT THIS PERSON? You would not believe how many people are angry about something and don’t even remember why. So get a piece of paper out and write down why you are mad at this person. It may be one thing, or it may be a whole list. Just write it all down.

STEP TWO: THE GOOD THINGS. On another piece of paper write down all the good things this person has done for you over the years. (ie: If it’s your mother; she gave birth to you, that’s a pretty big one.) Did this person ever make you happy? Do anything nice for you? Make you smile or laugh? Be a good friend? Help you out of a jam? If so, write it down….all of it. This could be a long list or a short list, just make sure you make it an “honest” list.

STEP THREE: HOW DID I CONTRIBUTE TO THIS? On a third piece of paper write any way you may have contributed to the conflict. Be honest with yourself. It doesn’t help to think that you are totally without any responsibility in the situation, even if it is just a tiny bit. Write it down.

STEP FOUR: CONTEMPLATE. With all three papers in front of you, take some time to really think how important this person is to you. Are they someone you wish was still in your life? Is it someone that you could never feel good having in your life anymore. Are they family? Ex? Depending on “who” they are to you, will depend on what type of relationship you choose to have with this person after you forgive them. Remember, you are forgiving this person for yourself, not for them. So, if you think it is better for you not to see this person, then so be it. You may decide that for the sake of your children or your family it would be better to allow this person back into your life. Or, you might realize you have been miserable without this person in your life and want them back.

What ever the case is, spend a significant amount of time thinking about it. You have probably spent a significant amount of time being angry, so a little extra time trying to figure out what is in your best interest regarding this person won’t hurt.

You may want to stay on this step for more than just a day. Maybe a week. Or more. It doesn’t matter how long you are on this step. Just put the papers in a place you can review them. You might even want to do these steps with someone else in your life. If forgiving hasn’t been your “thing”, you may have a lot of people to do this exercise with. That’s OK, don’t be hard on yourself, just take the time and do the work, and in the end you are the one that will benefit.

When you are ready continue to Step Five. No rush.

STEP FIVE: FORGIVE. Forgiving doesn’t mean “forgetting”, a lot of people don’t quite understand that. We are not computers, we can’t just hit the delete button and erase our past history. Although, at times many of us wish we could, (me included). We are talking about forgiveness, so you can forgive and let the anger go (for your own sake and sanity), remembering is o.k. though. Remembering might even prove to be quite helpful. You may find yourself in a similar situation one day, and remembering might help you choose your reaction differently than you had before this happened. This is where the saying “learn from you mistakes” came from. It’s not a judgment on your behavior, just a reminder that you handled something one way and it didn’t turn out quite the way your would have wanted. So the next time, you might do something much differently based on your increased understanding.

So, to get back to the final step, STEP FIVE. Now that you have all the information in front of you, and you have given it all quite a bit of thought, and figured out what is in YOUR best interest. Now it’s time to FORGIVE. LET IT GO. LET GO OF THE ANGER. LET GO OF THE PAIN. Let go of allowing this to keep putting negative thoughts in your head. You need that room for positive, healthy, loving thoughts.

Maybe, even take some time to close your eyes and meditate on letting go of the anger and pain. If you don’t normally meditate; Just close your eyes for a few moments in a quite place. Try to let go of your thoughts for a moment. Now picture in your “minds eye” all the negative thoughts and anger leaving your head, like vapor evaporating from a pot, slowly but consistently, until there is no more to let go.

Do you feel better? If so, you did it right. You don’t even have to tell the person that you forgave them. The important thing is that you let it go, it no longer haunts you, it no longer consumes your thoughts. At this point you can either take steps to smooth things out with the person, and start from a healthier place…Or keep your distance if you have decided that was what was best for you. There is no right or wrong way to to do this. The right way is whatever works best for you.

If you realise you just don’t feel any better after STEP FIVE, then go back to STEP FOUR. You may just need more time, and that is OK. Remember….No pressure, this is at YOUR pace.

Once you feel confident that you have truly let go of this “in your head”, not just “in your words”. Once you realize that, rip up your paper from STEP ONE, maybe symbolically burn it, just something that helps you recognizes your accomplishment of putting this behind you. But, keep the other papers from STEPS TWO AND THREE. Just in case something comes up again with this person, and you want to go through this process again, you will still have all the more “positive” things saved.
Well, good luck. I hope this helps you let go of some of the negative feelings and thoughts that have been weighing hard on you. If these steps have helped you, please leave a comment, I would love to hear your success stories.











22 Responses to “5 STEPS TO FORGIVENESS”

  1. I would love to know how these steps have helped you make a positive change in your life. Please use this space to leave me your comments.

  2. Amy said

    This makes sense. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks “Amy”….I’m glad you found it helpful, and thanks so much for your comment.

  4. alojeda81 said

    Great tips, i will have a link to this to remember

  5. Thanks so much “Alojeda81”. I will check out your blog as well.

  6. Brilliant article, Forgiveness comes from deep compassion and compassion is by product of your awareness. IT is essential to forgive yourself before you forgive others. I enjoyed reading your blog. You have great work going on here!

  7. “Suresh Gendappa” — Thank you for you nice comment…it is very much appreciated.

  8. timethief said

    So often people act like forgiving someone is giving that person a gift. Awareness allows us to know it’s a second hand gift at best. Paradoxically forgiveness is a gift we give first to ourselves.

  9. I agree. Thank you so much for your insight.

  10. I beleive some of you will forgive within four steps itself.They world is not so cruel to keep on grudge

  11. dylanjones said

    Thank you for putting this great post in the open, which should benefit to many. For me right now, this is just what I need. I came across it yesterday “by accident”, but I straight away understood it was no accident. It’s just timing and grace. I was so angry yesterday and this morning I need to figure it all out. I’m going to use the steps, and it won’t be easy, because letting go is so difficult sometimes. But there’s no other route than awareness, if we want to get unstuck!! So thank you once more. I’ll link this post on my blog too.

    Dylan Jones

  12. […] and went to WordPress to write my post, WordPress’s opening page had a link to this post: 5 steps to forgiveness. Felt like it was no coïncidence. Just what I need right now, what many of us need at times. So if […]

  13. Thanks Dylan, I’m glad this post helped you, and thank your for comment. Be well.

  14. DSvT said

    1st thank to Dylan who let me know about this post…

    Emmm… 5 steps ya, I love the step 2, Many of us always forget that the person who we mad/angry about had done many good/nice thing to us. We also forget that we actually love that person very much when we are angry. We might lost the lost one due to all our feeling had been shut up by the anger.

    For me, Just accept everything in life as it is. Why we angry on others while we are not perfect too.


    p/s: I will add link to your post.

  15. Thanks “DSvT” — I’m glad you liked this post. Check back in an hour or so, I am going to be posting something else you might like.
    “Living In The Present Moment”….let me know if you like it.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  16. […] Meaningful/brilliant article Click Here […]

  17. Holding onto a grudge is hard work. Forgiveness is so freeing – like taking a heavy backpack off after a long hike. Thanks for sharing this.

  18. Thank you. I am very happy you enjoyed the article, and thank you so much for your comment.


    This is very important and often overlooked.

  20. i love this post,i did many bad things in my life and i regret some of them but not all

    once i cheated my employees and i really regret it

    but they deserved it because they stole from me

    then i lost money in an insurance fraud,i still hate those pple and im very angry

    but ur tips helped me relax a bit,there is a light at the end of the tunnel

    and maybe i contributed to it a bit

    what u do u get back

    cheat someone and someone will cheat u

    not always the same person but what u do will come back to u

    thank u cathy

  21. […] Meaningful/brilliant article Click Here […]

  22. raşit said


    […]5 STEPS TO FORGIVENESS « Be the change you want to see in yourself[…]…

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