Complete Forgiveness: When the Past no Longer Hurts

· September 6, 2018

When someone hurts you, the immediate reaction is anger. You don’t want to forgive the person who did that to you. You’re offended, disappointed and sometimes in pain. However, this very natural and common reaction does have a downside. Complete forgiveness is the only way to find peace and happiness when someone hurts you.

It’s true that, in the short term, holding a grudge may keep you from getting hurt again. This is why you usually don’t want forgive the person who caused the pain. But holding on to a grudge for too long traps you in a situation that no longer exists. These intense feelings about the past can cause unnecessary suffering.

Two of the most negative states of mind are hatred and anger. These feelings can linger when you don’t know how to forgive. Seneca described hatred and anger as the most horrible and frantic of all emotions. In most cases, the damage that they cause is much worse than just letting go of the grudge, which can actually be beneficial.

However, forgiving someone who has hurt you is not as simple as just wanting to do it. Once you understand that holding on to anger and hatred is not beneficial, you’ll want to try to forgive. But the question now is, how do you do that?

Transparent woman near the sea.

If you come across a person who is shot with an arrow, you won’t stop to ask yourself where the arrow came from. You wouldn’t try to analyze what kind of wood it’s made from. No, you would try to figure out the best way to get it out to minimize the damage. You should do the same thing with suffering. Get rid of it as soon as possible so that it doesn’t keep hurting you. Some of the most powerful reasons to practice complete forgiveness are described below.


“If you do not forgive for love, forgive at least for selfishness, for your own well-being.”

-Dalai Lama-

Complete forgiveness is a sign of strength

In western society, patience and tolerance are important to a certain point. However, when someone hurts you, responding with patience and tolerance comes across as weakness. This is one of the main reasons why it’s so hard for us to give complete forgiveness to others.

Patience and tolerance are important components of complete forgiveness and love.  They are not signs of weakness. Acting with patience and tolerance is a sign of strength. Even in the face of betrayal, you hold strong to your values.

Responding to a painful situation with patience and tolerance is a sign of emotional strength. This strength helps you get closer to forgiveness than reacting with anger and hatred. Also, facing a difficult situation with an attitude of patience exercises control of your feelings, which gives you greater self-esteem and emotional intelligence. 

“You learn forgiveness when you need to be forgiven.”

Hand giving a flower to another as a symbol of complete forgiveness.

Complete forgiveness soothes the soul

Theory U teaches us that we can’t live in the future with the burdens of the past. Saying goodbye to what already happened and forgiving ourselves and others opens us up to new opportunities.

As Otto Scharmer, creator of the Theory U points out, energy follows attention. This is why you shouldn’t focus on what you’re trying to avoid. You should focus on what you intend to happen. Therefore, a person who resents the disappointments of the past will unknowingly look for the same results in future relationships. They stay in the loop of what happened and can’t adopt new patterns.

More about the Theory U

Theory U says that if we don’t let go of old fears and prejudices, there will be no space for anything new to come into our lives. If we don’t let go of the burden of the past, there will be no room for life to delight us with new experiences. 

As you can see, forgiveness after someone hurts you can be very difficult. However, it’s crucial to understand that we need to learn to forgive and forgive completely. You need to remember that it’s within your power to let go of the past. It frees you from heavy emotional baggage that doesn’t allow you to move forward.

“Forgiveness allows us to be happy and enjoy life, since it’s human to make mistakes.”