• Jissette Nieves

The Gift of Forgiveness

What is forgiveness and the benefits of it?


Let’s talk about one of the most important keys to your happiness. It is a subject people talk about, but few understand or practice. Let’s talk about forgiving others who have hurt you.

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful practices we can embrace in order to live with an open and loving heart. It’s an often-misunderstood concept and, as a result, can be difficult to apply in our lives.

While our emotions around forgiving and the wrongs leading up to it can be some of the most traumatic in life, forgiveness can also be one of the single most important ways to process and grow from our experiences. It’s also completely in your control – and can allow you to take total ownership of a situation, no matter how hurt you have been by it.

I think we struggle with forgiving because we look at it as letting them off the hook or minimizing what they did. In actuality, forgiving has less to do with the person who may have hurt you and more with ourselves and the relationship we have with the actual offense, flaw, mistake, or transgression.

Forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees them from anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.


When we find the strength to forgive someone, we tend to feel better about ourselves. We can then reimagine our future and shape our story with calm consideration, an ongoing conscious decision to replace hatred and anger with compassion and understanding.

I'd love to share with you some benefits of forgiveness.

Stress Reduction- Forgiveness eases stress because we no longer recycle thoughts, both consciously and subconsciously, that cause psychic stress to arise. By offering our burdens for healing, we learn how to leave irritation and stress behind.

Healthier Relationships- When we make forgiveness a regular part of our spiritual practice, we start to notice that all of our relationships (with lovers, co-workers, bosses, neighbors, etc.) begin to blossom. There’s far less drama to deal with, and that’s a huge bonus in life.

Improved psychological well-being- A good life, full of quality relationships, service to others and fun, is something that most of us hope for without ever knowing how to create it. By releasing our grievances, we become more harmonious on all levels. Nightmares recede, and exciting new life visions become commonplace. We feel calmer, happier and ready to give compassion and love to the world.

Brings you peace- When we forgive someone, it may feel like we are doing it for them. By holding on to that hurt that you just can’t let go of, it may feel like you are getting revenge and hurting them back. But the person that you are forgiving may never know that you are still thinking of how they wronged you. The person that is hurting the most is you. One of the biggest benefits of forgiveness is the peace that it will bring to your heart.

Despite the benefits of forgiveness, it can be difficult to cultivate, particularly when the offense results in lasting or severe harm, when the offender refuses to take responsibility, or when the relationship and the offenses are both ongoing. What follows are some thoughts on how to cultivate forgiveness while maintaining feelings of safety and healthy boundaries.

Forgiving someone does not mean you need to allow that person to continue hurting you. You can release anger, bitterness, and the desire for vengeance while still setting limits. The limits, which will look different depending on the relationship, can range from severing a relationship altogether to limiting contact and setting guidelines for whatever contact you wish to maintain.

Mindfulness has been shown to have a number of benefits related to good mental health and can help foster self-compassion. Self-compassion means treating yourself with the same kindness, consideration, and acceptance you afford others. Self-compassion has also been shown to increase compassion for others—which can help you get to a place of forgiveness.

Remember you cannot heal another person, nor can you make them kinder, more self-aware, or more empathic. That said, you are also not responsible for the choices others make. Remembering these things can help you detach from the need to change others or how they feel about you.

When we find the strength to forgive someone, we tend to feel better about ourselves. We can then reimagine our future and shape our story with calm consideration, an ongoing conscious decision to replace hatred and anger with compassion and understanding.


Alternatively, to not forgive is to surrender oneself to the control of others and allow the present to be consumed by the past. If we choose not to forgive, we subject ourselves to the possibility of carrying anger, bitterness and resentment into future situations and relationships, as well as deprive ourselves of the peace of mind, health and happiness we deserve.

Forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees them from anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.

Once again, this is way easier said than done and it's going to take time, but forgiveness is a decision you have to make for yourself. At the end of the day, you have the ultimate say-so in whether you choose to live in the past or move forward with wisdom. Do NOT let someone's betrayal be the reason you become bitter and emotionally unavailable. Free yourself and allow yourself to grow. You owe it to yourself.