Creating Resilient Cultures in Healthcare

The Freedom to Forgive

Nothing throws up more limits in our lives than holding onto resentments and anger about past events. Forgiving means surrendering to what actually was and your lack of the ability to make it any different, instead of holding on to the intense emotional charge around how you wanted it to be. When you forgive yourself for not knowing any better and forgive the person who has hurt you because he or she didn’t know any better either, you set yourself free.

Setting yourself free can be as simple as writing the person(s) a letter articulating what you are forgiving and including acknowledgement for any part you may have played in their behavior. You can also list the gifts and positive things they have done for you in your life.   The most important step is to destroy the letter and allowing the burning or shredding of the paper to symbolize the burning or shredding of your hurt.

Remember your forgiveness is for you, not the other person or people, and allows you to let go of any expectations you have of the person responding to your forgiveness. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, but it releases you from the torment and suffering. We must let go of the past to truly live in the present. Forgiving is freedom.

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