Problem with forgiveness

Dear Gillian,

I have read the book “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay and I have been trying many of the things especially the affirmations she suggests to good effect. However, I seem to be having a real problem with forgiveness. Some members of my family have treated me so badly in the past and continue to make my life difficult even now, to forgive them feels impossible, is it really necessary?

Dear Diane,

I am delighted that you have been using the affirmations and have seen the benefit. The “forgiveness bit” is extremely important and it is worth remembering that you are not condoning what has happened, you are simply choosing to release it and move on to prevent dis-ease in your own life.  It can be very difficult with relatives, it is those closest to us that can hurt us the most. You have not given me any information about the way you are being treated but if you are being abused in anyway (verbally, physically or emotionally) that is unacceptable, you must be and feel safe;  and if necessary you need to distance yourself from the individuals concerned. As you have been using affirmations I would suggest that you now affirm that all your relationships are healthy, loving and harmonious. I would also start the forgiveness process by just affirming “I am willing to consider forgiving….(whoever it is)” and by doing some clearning exercises like the one below.


Forgiveness Exercise

Do this exercise with a partner if you can or alone (but out loud) if that is not possible.

If possible take a few minutes just sitting quietly focussing on your breath and when you feel calm and relaxed with your eyes closed just say “the person I need to forgive is……..(just imagine them sitting relaxed in front of you)…..and I forgive you for…….(you may have a long list or just a few comments). When you have completed all that you want to say and I suggest you say it as bluntly and directly as you can, then imagine them saying to you “Thank you and I set you free!”  Do this for as many people as you want to. It is particularly useful if you have a partner for them to say this to you when they feel you have finished what you need to say for each person. It is important that your partner does not comment or say anything else. When you have finished if you have a partner then give them the opportunity to do the same.