Most people would agree that forgiving others is a good thing to do but why?

In Situation A, you have a preference and someone in your life is not complying with your preference. In essence, he or she is simply living their life the best way he or she can. Do they need to be forgiven for that? Have they done anything wrong? You may have hurt feelings, but who is responsible for those feelings? No one can MAKE you feel something you don’t want to feel. I suggest you take charge of your feelings when you are experiencing an emotion you don’t want to feel and change it by changing what you are doing or what you are thinking. Remind yourself that this person has every right to live their life the way he or she wants to and you need to adjust so the actions of others do not cause you pain.

In Situation B, a person in your life is still doing what he or she wants to do seemingly without regard to how it will affect you. Is it really a person’s job to make decisions about their life based on what would make you happiest? Even if that person is your spouse, your parent, your child or best friend, he or she has the right to make their decisions on how they choose to live their life based on what’s best for them. Sometimes a person may pride him or herself on how kind they are thus causing them to choose the path of least conflict for others but they do this not because of your wishes but because that is the person they want to be. Does a person making difficult decisions in their life really require our forgiveness just because he or she didn’t choose the path you would have liked them to choose? I say not.


When we put ourselves in the position to forgive another, aren’t we really saying, “I’m better than you. You obviously did a bad thing and now I hold the power of forgiveness over you. You are in a bad place until I decide to ‘forgive’ you for wronging me.” There really is nothing to forgive. Again, if you allow yourself to be hurt by the actions of others, then isn’t your responsibility to right that emotional pain? What right do you have to bestow your forgiveness on another person. Are you God?

Now, I realize this last Situation C is a bit stickier. Imagining someone physically hurts you or someone you love intentionally with malice in their heart, do they require your forgiveness? I say there is nothing to forgive (realizing that if I were in that situation I am certain I would need to remind myself of this.)

Once we understand that everything that happens in our lives contains perfect balance, then there has been no injury. The worst thing that has ever happened to you, also contained elements of extreme positivity if you have a mind to find it. Tragedy also brings a gift, a lesson, or an opportunity for you when you open your eyes and look for it. When you can accept that all things are in perfect balance, then this wrong you are experiencing is neutralized with the equal positivity also contained within the event if you are willing to seek it.

When we believe there is something in our lives we must forgive, we are saying we have been harmed in some way. I say you can inoculate yourself from this harm by taking responsibility for your feelings and not giving that power away to someone else, and by recognizing the ultimate balance in all things. 

That being said, if you are carrying anger, resentment, and pain with you from the actions of others, I believe it is extremely important to rid yourself of that poison. If you see that as forgiving the person who wronged you, then so be it. But I believe you will be infinitely happier when you can awaken to the idea that forgiveness is no longer required because you have either allowed yourself to be hurt by another or you have neglected to find the balance in a challenging situation. When you do, you will realize there is nothing to forgive and you can proceed with a clear and open heart.

Stay in touch with Kim at The Relationship Center.


This article was originally published at InsideOut Empowerment. Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Kim Olver


Kim Olver, LCPC, has been featured in Whole Living, Women's World, Fitness Magazine and Counseling Today and is the best-selling, award winning author of Secrets of Happy Couples: Loving Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Life.

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Location: Country Club Hills (Chicago), IL
Credentials: LCPC, MS, NCC
Specialties: Communication Problems, Couples/Marital Issues, Empowering Women
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