In detail

Forgive, do we know how to do it?

Forgive, do we know how to do it?

One of our best friends just "betrayed" us. We can get in any situation. Imagine the pain we feel when someone close to us does something that prevents us from continuing to maintain friendship as before. We would never have imagined that this person (friend, partner, family member, etc.) would do something like what he has done to us. We feel immense pain for the act and especially for disappointment. At this time, It is necessary to know how to forgive, but what is forgiveness? Do we know how to do it

Throughout the article, we will discuss what it means to forgive, both what it is to forgive and what is not. We will also discuss what is the best way to ask for forgiveness. Although there is no exact way that we will always be forgiven, we can find a series of steps that can make it easier for someone to forgive us. Finally, we must not forget that sometimes forgiveness is towards oneself. Let's get started!


  • 1 Forgive, what is it really?
  • 2 How to ask for forgiveness
  • 3 Conclusion

Forgive, what is it really?

There is a general belief that forgiveness is forgetting. But is this true? When we forgive, do we forget everything that has happened? Or rather, when we forgive should we forget everything? Forgetting amounts to not remembering something, so if we consider that we have memory, forgetting an important event will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. It is true that we forget phone numbers, addresses, the content of an exam; but forgetting something that has impacted us emotionally, to date, is too difficult.

"There is only forgiveness where there was something unforgivable."

-Jacques Derrida-

So, if forgiveness does not imply forgetting, what is it about? Forgiveness is an exercise through which we are at peace with ourselves and with others.. If someone breaks our trust, forgiving this person does not consist in forgetting what he has done to us, but in understanding why he has been able to do it and not "throw firewood". The fact that they hurt us is already too painful to rummage through the wound, so the perdoning is accepting what has happened and deciding not to turn around what happened for days, weeks or months.

What is not to forgive

Forgiving does not mean that a friendship or a relationship must necessarily follow. If someone acts so incorrectly that it can be harmful in our lives, perhaps the best we can do is get away. In the case of a friend, we would move away from him; In case of a relationship, we can put an end. Forgiveness is not a passive act, it is not resignation, it is not about accepting everything that happens to us without doing anything. If someone treats us badly every time he gets angry, we can forgive and understand him, but do we have to endure yes or yes such situations? Obviously not.

Fred Luskin (2008), director of research related to forgiveness at Stanford University, says that forgive is not:

  • Accept cruelty.
  • Forget that something painful has happened.
  • Excuse bad behavior.
  • A religious or supernatural experience.
  • Deny or block pain.
  • Reconcile necessarily with the offender, or stop feeling.

How to apologize

Is there any magic formula to ask for forgiveness? Not really, however, yes there are a series of steps to make our forgiveness more sincere and more effective. It is possible to say that it is a deep and inner act. If we want to be forgiven, our words must be authentic, so if our posture is superficial, they will have little effect. Among the highlights, three can be highlighted: apologize, repent and change behavior.

Ask for forgiveness

Asking forgiveness means apologizing for what happened. We know that we were wrong and we want to solve it, so our first bridge to the resolution of the conflict is express our discomfort and lend a hand by way of apology. In this way, the other person will know that we have noticed our mistake and that we intend to correct it.


Repentance is not synonymous with psychological torture. Repentance consists of aware of the extent of the damage we have done and propose not to do it again. The damage can be to ourselves, to one person or to several. Repentance is of no use if we only fuss about what happened. In this case it is a reflexive posture. If it is towards ourselves, we know the damage we have done ourselves. If it is towards others, we try to put ourselves in their situation and feel their pain.

Gradually, with this practice, we will be increasingly aware of how others feel when we carry out unfortunate actions. Thus, we will increase our empathy and be more aware of the damage we may be doing.

Behavior change

Behavior change is the demonstration that we have understood the damage we have caused and our commitment not to carry it out again. It can also involve some kind of compensation. For example, if we have caused material damage, we can repair it or pay for the settlement. If the damage is emotionally, we can be closer to that person and show him that we are really interested and want his happiness.


Forgiving is an act that we carry out with ourselves to be serene and enjoy inner calm. If we continue with the inner fire of anger, resentment or hatred we cannot reach any state of tranquility. That is why it is so important to learn to forgive, even when the one who has offended us is not ahead or is not already alive. A large number of people need to forgive a deceased father or mother to be at peace with himself.

To say "I forgive you" and to do it sincerely, implies that this flame of inner rage is extinguished and we leave hollow to well-being. Nothing consumes us inside, and nothing takes away our joy. Forgive, without a doubt, is an act towards others, but above all, with oneself to be happy again.


Luskin, F. (2008). "To forgive is to heal". Norma editions. S.A: Bogotá.