Why Forgiving Others Doesn’t Really Matter

I’m going to say something very controversial in self-help circles. This isn’t a popular viewpoint, but it is something I have discovered through my years of practice. I’m going to tell you that all those people who have done you wrong, hurt you, betrayed you, stomped on your heart, and called you names – don’t forgive them.

Let go of the fight inside.Forgive copyWhat?

“But isn’t being spiritual about forgiving everyone and loving them? Isn’t that what being a good person is?”


Here’s the thing, forgiveness is incredibly important. I would argue that it is the most important aspect of healing there is. My entire healing practice is based on forgiveness and I have witnessed people’s lives changes instantly with just a small dose of well-placed forgiveness. But here is my secret: it isn’t forgiving others that matters, but forgiving yourself.

The mind is a funny thing. When we go through difficult experiences, even if we logically know those experiences aren’t our fault, some part of us forms a belief that what happened is our fault. Our mind likes to take everything personally. We want so desperately to understand why something happened, and the mind’s logical conclusion is that we must have done something wrong or that we are bad in some way.

I’m not sure why the mind is wired this way, but it is. And it isn’t a problem, if we know how to bypass the mind and get back into our loving.

We do this through self-forgiveness.

The next time you are in a difficult situation, I want you to try something. Just for a second, forget about the other person or people involved. I want you to place a hand on your heart, close your eyes, and say to yourself:

I am so sorry you had to go through what you did.

I love you.

Please forgive me.

I forgive myself.

And take a deep breath. Forgive yourself for just having had to go through what you did.

You will likely feel a release in your body and the return of joy.

The really exciting thing is, that once we forgive ourselves, oftentimes forgiveness towards the person who wronged us starts to happen spontaneously. We don’t have to force it, or make ourselves forgive someone when we are still struggling with real hurt.

All we have to do is reach into that part of ourselves that was hurt, and offer ourselves the love and forgiveness we think we should be offering to another.

Love and forgive yourself first and foremost.

Once you have forgiven yourself, it might feel natural to then do a similar forgiveness process with the person who harmed you. Feel free to if it feels natural. But please don’t force yourself.

Love yourself so much that you offer yourself forgiveness and acceptance above all. Stay gentle and soft with yourself, letting yourself know you will never betray yourself by offering forgiveness to someone else when you aren’t ready. Just keep loving yourself and forgiving yourself for where you are at. The rest will take care of itself.







Self-forgiveness: The Key to True Healing that You’ve Probably been Missing

There is a lot of talk in the healing world about forgiveness. We all know that to truly let go of a situation or person that has disturbed us, we need to forgive. This world is a tough place and all of us are at one time or another, the subjects of mean words, traumatic accidents, gossip, criticism, and sometimes even physical, emotional, or sexual violence. Life as a human being can be hard!

Often times when difficult things occur, a piece of ourselves gets stuck in the negative event. While this society can be pretty harsh, we aren’t taught how to really release and integrate a difficult experience. This leaves many of us walking around with minor or major PTSD – anxiety, depression, flashbacks, general unease, etc.

One thing we are taught is that we need to forgive others when we’ve been the victim of some kind of perpetration, whether minor or major. And it is true, forgiveness can radically help a healing process. But I have found that for mysForgive yourself and forget about(1) copyelf, even once I’ve forgiven someone who has hurt me in some way, I still feel hurt. I still spend time and energy thinking about the event and I still feel anxious that the event could happen again. When I forgive another, I feel better, but I usually don’t feel great.

It wasn’t until I stumbled onto the power of self-forgiveness that I realized it was even possible to feel great again. I was doing my M.A. and had started working with an incredible spiritual teacher in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He led me through a series of self-forgiveness exercises that completely transformed my life. In five or ten minutes, I was able to once and for all, heal some situations that were still hanging out in my body and mind. He led me through a process to recover the parts of myself that had gotten stuck in those negative events. And at once, I felt my entire body soften. I felt joy and inklings of happiness again. I started to feel like me, the real me. Self-forgiveness turned out to be a magical process that changed my life forever.

Through working with my spiritual mentor, I realized that we’ve had it wrong this whole time. Forgiveness of another is not the way to fully heal, forgiveness of yourself is. In working with hundreds of clients, I have witnessed firsthand the power of self-forgiveness. I would even be so bold as to argue that forgiving others doesn’t matter, but forgiving yourself does. I would also say that once your forgive yourself, forgiveness of another happens spontaneously and without any effort.

My hope is that one day we will all be taught the power of self-forgiveness and how to actually do it. If you are wanting to try self-forgiveness out for yourself, you can try this exercise (for simplicity sake I am using a female pronoun but this exercise works equally well for men and women).

  • Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes.
  • Call to mind a difficult event that still doesn’t feel resolved.
  • Look at the you who is in the event, experiencing it. We are going to gently work with that version of you.
  • Call that version of you over to you. Hold her, nurture her, put a blanket around her. Do whatever feels natural. Give her some love.
  • Look at that version of you and repeat this statement “I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I am so sorry. I love you. Please forgive me. I forgive myself.”
  • Take a deep breath and notice what happens in your body.
  • Give that version of you whatever love and attention she needs.

Ho’oponpono Basics

Ho’oponopono is very simply but extremely powerful healing technique passed down to us by the ancient Hawaiians. It has been used the Hawaiian priests to solve problems between individuals and tribal groups. Today, we use a modified version of this technique to bring peace to our internal and external realities.DSC_0219

This technique is so powerful, yet so easy. I’m convinced that if everyone in the world were to learn this process, we’d create world peace instantly. I for one have witnessed the sheer magic of how using this process can instantly change my inner emotional landscape while also creating some dramatic changes in the people around me. With this simple internal process, you can change lifelong patterns that stem from your own psyche or ancestral lineage.

The basis of Ho’oponopono is that we all create our own reality and are thus 100% responsible for that reality. Anything that we experience in our external reality is actually a mirror of our internal reality. With Ho’oponopono, instead of blaming or shaming other people or ourselves, we look inwards and find the part inside of us that is just like that other person or thing. We then forgive ourselves and offer love on behalf of ourselves and all our ancestors.

The minute we bring forgiveness into our lives, we open up doorways for divine grace to come in and dissolve any toxicity or negativity. More often than not, doing this process creates what seems like miracles.

The Process:

The process of Ho’oponopono is extremely simple. When you experience any annoyance, irritation, frustration, or other negative emotion towards another person, repeat the following either silently or out loud. You can do it while the person is in front of you or by using a mental picture of the person. The effect is just the same.

Look at the person and say:

  1. I’m so sorry.
  2. I love you.
  3. I forgive myself for anytime my ancestors or myself harmed you or caused you pain. Please forgive me.

Now take a deep breath.

Though incredibly simple, the Ho’oponopono process is very powerful. I use this technique at least a dozen times each day and have found that my outer reality is constantly changing for the better. One example is on a recent flight to California.

Flying these days is a challenging experience to begin with but on this particular flight, I found myself sitting directly in front of a very young baby and her grandmother. As our plane began to take off, the baby behind me began to shriek. At once, my seatmates began to express their irritation or annoyance with the crying baby. The young man to my left kept asking the grandmother to keep it down and he proceeded to complain about the baby to the older woman sitting next to me. She responded with comments about how young children really shouldn’t be allowed to fly and how irresponsible of the parents to allow their baby to disrupt the entire flight. Hearing their discussion, I was in shock at their apparent callousness and general rudeness towards this sweet grandmother and miserable little girl. At first, I got very angry and thought about confronting the two on their intolerance and general lack of respect. However, after I visually berated and insulted them, I caught myself and proceeded to do the Ho’oponopono technique.

Closing my eyes, I pictured both the young man and older woman and said, “I’m so sorry. I love you. I forgive myself for any time that my ancestors or myself have been intolerant and rude to others. I forgive myself for my own intolerance and rudeness towards this baby. I’m so so sorry.”

Within two minutes, their discussion had stopped. Two minutes later, the young man reached across the older woman and introduced himself to me for the first time during the entire flight. I had not said one word out loud. We then proceeded to engage in a very wonderful discussion about art and poetry and parapsychology and he did not make a single comment for the rest of the flight about the baby behind us. As a side note, the baby stopped crying as well.

This is just one instance of how Ho’oponopono can work to create more peace in your internal and external reality. I have had hundreds of instances similar to this one and I’m also baffled by how powerful this process can be.

You can start using it right now with any situation or person that is troubling you. Just look at the person or situation and repeat the phrases I listed above.