Positive Psychology: What Forgiveness Means for You

To understand forgiveness, you must get into the philosophy of what forgiveness means. These remarkable quotes are a good starting point to understanding what forgiveness means. As you go through this document, take note of quotes and phrases that stand out to you. Everyone is battling with a different circumstance, so what might work for you might not work for someone else.

Forgiveness Quotes from PsychologyTools.org:

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that prson or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” ~ Cathrine Ponder

“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” ~ Thomas S. Szasz

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~Lewis B. Smedes

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” ~ Bryant H. McGill

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” ~ Robert Muller

“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“Sincere forgiveness isn’t coloured with expectations that the other person apologise or change. Don’t worry whether or not they ­finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time.” ~ Sara Paddison

What Forgiveness Means for You

Well these three sources describe forgiveness like this:

  1. “Forgiveness is letting go of the need for revenge and releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment.” – PsychCentral.com
  2. “Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as revenge, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.” – Wikipedia.com
  3. “Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life.” – Mayoclinic.com

Religious Forgiveness or Not?

Now, while this is not meant to be religious; it is important to mention that forgiveness is something that has biblical and spiritual roots. According to an article on About.com:

“Two types of forgiveness appear in the Bible: God’s pardon of our sins, and our obligation to pardon others. This subject is so important that our eternal destiny depends upon it.”

The first type of forgiveness is seen a lot. People who sin going to confession, etc., the second part of the About.com article also says:

“We may resume a relationship with the person if we had one, or we may not if one did not exist before. Certainly the victim of a crime has no obligation to become friends with the criminal. We leave it to the courts and to God to judge them.”

From there you can determine that forgiveness means:

“Forgiveness is the ability release the negative feelings surrounding another person; it is the ability to release that person of any desire for ill-will, and it empowers positivity in your life.”  ~ Danielle Faith

Based on this information you can come up with your personal definition of forgiveness & don’t worry it doesn’t have to be perfect!

Reasons to Forgive

Why in the world would someone want to forgive someone then?

Also, the MayoClinic gives these reasons:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse

All sound good right? Here are more reasons to or why to forgive someone. Plus, they are selfish and that is ok.

  1. As an act of inner strength
  2. Forgiveness is in my control and power – I hold the keys
  3. It is a GIFT to my own self well-being
  4. Permission to myself to be free of hate
  5. Forgiveness is peace of mind that it is going to be okay from here on out

Also, forgiveness will help the other person feel better, but here’s the deal: I never am obligated to tell someone I forgive them, that is privileged information on a need to know basis. Forgiveness isn’t about the other person. Forgiveness is about YOU and coping with your own lengthy negative emotions of blame, hate, guilt, anger, etc., Forgiveness can be internal and external:

  1. You can forgive yourself and practice self-love
  2. You can forgive others for their wrongs and make it right for you

I think this map sums things up well:

Forgiveness means


Go from Self-Hatred to Self-Love with the power of FORGIVENESS Click To Tweet You can forgive others for their wrongs and make it right for you Click To Tweet Find out why in the world would someone want to forgive someone Click To Tweet
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Danielle Faith is a graduate of the The University of California, Los Angeles with a Degree in Cultural Geography. She know how your location in life (race, religion, economic status, etc.,) influences how you view the world. Today, Danielle Faith is freelance writer and marketing consultant. She specializes in new media marketing and self-improvement. Not to mention, she has a knack for clarity, and over ten years of experience. Danielle has personal experience with chronic pain and illness. Danielle is a survivor and optimist as well as persistent and driven. When she puts her mind to something it gets done. When she is not writing or checking what’s new on social media, she’s listening to music and relaxing with her dog.

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6 Comments on "Positive Psychology: What Forgiveness Means for You"

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Layla Wehr

Thanks for sharing this! Forgiveness is so important! It’s something I have personally been working on for a long time and it’s really hard! But I do feel it makes a difference to how I feel.

Chronic Mom

This is definitely something I need to work on, great write up.

Samuel Gray

Forgivness is something that has never came naturally for me. I am a generally stubborn person and usually hold grudges on people. As I got older and experienced more and more arguments/fights, I learned that forgiveness was one of the most important things you could do. Everyone makes mistakes and shouldn’t be punished for small things. Everyones learns from what they did wrong and because of that I learned that to “forgive and forget” was the best motto.

Robert Jones
I have really enjoyed reading this article. Many years ago, I really had learned what forgiveness met. One of my best friends and I had a terrible argument over something that was very small/unimportant. We refused to make up and we stayed angry at each other for weeks on end. We hadn’t talked for over a month, until one day I received a call from my mother that he had passed away in a head on collision. I was completely devastated and hated myself for not being able to forgive him. After that moment, I learned that keeping a grudge… Read more »
Kathleen Smith

These quotes are very motivating. Something that I have been working on for a very long time is to learn how to forgive. The quote that spoke most to me was of Mahatma Gandhi. I feel that it is so true and has a lot of meaning behind it. I also liked the paragraph in the beginning where it documents that you must understand what forgiveness is to be able to forgive. I really enjoyed how that was worded and how it expressed the article perfectly!


This is a fantastic write up and I love the fact that everything is all explained as to me , not forgiving people to me is like they are living rent free in your head . I love your blog babes and am happy to have connected with you here .