Forgiveness in 7 Simple Steps

No matter what your goals—whether you yearn to feel free, become empowered, lose weight, be more loving or break a sugar habit—you may not be able to move forward or succeed until you forgive your loved ones, friends, yourself or even strangers who harmed and wronged you, whether deliberately or unintentionally. Here are seven simple, easy-to-remember steps to help you forgive others and yourself.

As I can personally attest, when you feel forgiveness in your heart, it’s easier to be happy, productive, accomplish your goals and be at peace with yourself. You see, absolving and pardoning another is really less about other people and more about being true, kind and respectful of ourselves. Likewise, humbly and remorsefully atoning for our sins and transgressions against others is a way to give ourselves the esteem and value we deserve.

Not forgiving someone else and not repenting for the wrongs you’ve committed can:

  • Rob you of your power and strip you of your dignity.
  • Keep you trapped in anger, indignation and resentment.
  • Make you feel helpless, stuck and frustrated.
  • Harm you physically or emotionally.
  • Stop you from enjoying relationships or reveling in your accomplishments.

On the other hand, forgiving others or asking for forgiveness can:

  • Free, heal, nurture and release you.
  • Fill you with lightness, compassion and good will.
  • Ennoble, empower and enliven you.
  • Bring you closer to God or goodness.
  • Refresh, reward and renew you.

I now invite you to try out seven simple steps that I developed, which spell out the word “Forgive.”

Face the facts.
Own up to the reality that you need to forgive another person or yourself. If you don’t accept that you’re stuck in a bitter, unforgiving, intolerant quicksand, you’ll never get out of your rut to live a sweet, fulfilling, enriching life.

Oust the anger.
Even if you feel that the other person’s offenses are real and your anger is justified, you should resolve to shed your fury, resentment and bitterness.

Remember the offenses.
Recall the harms inflicted on you. Mind you, I’m not suggesting that you wallow or stew in self pity. Instead, I’m recommending that you take some paper and recount all or your or another’s transgressions. State: “I fully and freely forgive _____________ (person’s name) for ______________” (spell out what the person did). Your list could go on and on, but always make sure to “fully and freely forgive” first. Now read your list out loud several times. Then take a match to it and burn it in the sink. (This is very freeing, but please be careful not to start a fire or hurt yourself!) Repeat this process, if desired.

Give the benefit of the doubt.
Realize that, in most instances, the person(s) who harmed you was probably being either selfish or self-involved and was not out to hurt you. But if she or he had underlying, callous, unkind thoughts, then shower that person with pity, kindness and empathy. Looking at these “sinners”—or even yourself—with this kind of compassion and understanding can help to release you.

Imagine what forgiveness feels like.

Now visualize yourself breaking free with forgiveness. Pray to God for forgiveness, too, if you wish. Then create and repeat forgiveness affirmations or mantras in front of the mirror. One such forgiveness affirmation could be:
“I fully and freely forgive ______________ (person’s name), and I am now released. Harmony, peace and good will reign supreme between ______________ (person’s name) and me.”

Value the experience.
Realize that forgiveness can be powerful and effective—perhaps as important as eating nourishing foods, exercising and believing in yourself. Acknowledge that letting go of your acrimony, animosity and antagonism can totally transform and improve your life.

Embrace forgiveness.
Approaching another to apologize completes your seven-step process and helps you to achieve a joyous, merciful frame of mind. (If the person is no longer on this earth, imagine yourself humbly asking forgiveness and the other person pardoning you.)

I hope that simply reading these easy seven steps to “FORGIVE” will begin to ennoble, educate and empower you. Now, I invite you to begin pardoning those folks who’ve affronted you. Remember, by forgiving someone, you’ll free up space in your heart and being for more wonderful things to arrive.

Copyright (c) 2007 by Connie Bennett, C.H.H.C. Reprinted by permission of the author.
By Connie Bennett, C.H.H.C.


Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Thanks for great article.

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga6 years ago

it is so typhical, the victim should beg forgiviness, when it is those that has harmed us that should do it. There are my crimes and abuse that cant be forgiven and those scum who do these things should never ever be forgiven. I had enough of the being forced to pray for forgiveness as christians, it was redicules i had done nothing wrong just being in the way for the abusers, bullies and rapist, but yet i should forgive, cause I am a bad person, that is abuse as well.

Rhonnda R.
Rhonnda REA7 years ago

Forgiveness is NOT easy when painful situations have been entrenched in your history and continue to haunt you via the family who is supposed to care about you. Problems and pain have been a huge part of my life since I was a child, all the way up to now, but I haven't been able to clear the air because there have been so many lies involved along the way and everyone else's bitterness is getting in the way. History and the truth hides a lot, but so does the death of many of the characters. I want everything out in the open, but 'they' hide behind abusive behaviour, denying the truths, shunning me completely, refusing my forgiveness and denying their own freedom from the pain of all our problems. How can you foregive others so easily, when they don't even know what is going on and hide behind their own bitterness and confusion? I don't want to cling to the past, but it has to be dealt with in order to become on equal terms again,...'they' have created even more problems by avoiding the truths and building walls of stories to hide their problems behind. Their pain is my pain, but they refuse to acknowledge my pain and I cannot bare to be the terrible creation that they have made me out to be. Honesty, to a fault, has always been my strength, but now, my only family doesn't want to know the truth, rather to enjoy the bitterness and abuse they throw at me. Forgiveness, here, is fighting a real battle to stay in the picture and may be, sadly, about to lose! God help us!!

Paul E.
Paul egan7 years ago

I am paul 's wife, cathy h.-e. i am a survivor of kidnapping and multiple rapes during one weekend in September of 1983. I have come a very, very long way since that point in time;my emotional, psychological, and physical well-being has improved significantly(thank God!) But all of the horrors that that "excuse of a human being" subjected me to still haunt me. Yes, I have been able to forgive said person to some degree, but I still need to forgive him...for my own health's sake. Unless you have actually lived "in my own shoes," you cannot possibly relate to what I am sharing here. This is the most agonizing self-help journey, ever. Except that I am also dealing with the disgusting and terrifying and sickening fact that my Dad incested me when I was a little girl----and my Mom knew all about it...and did nothing at all----I genuinely need to forever free myself from these past emotional/psychological shackles; and forgive all? If someone can honestly relate to me, please send me a positive note. I really need to read to read other's words of compassion, empathy, wisdom, and the forgiving of their own rapist(s). Thank you, and God bless you.-------

Val Leishman
Val Leishman7 years ago

thanks, much needed today

gail d.
gail dair7 years ago


Susanne Dawn P.

Thank You

Renee Walters
Renee W9 years ago

I have a person in my life that has hurt me over and over for 3 years now. I am having trouble forgiving even though I know this person has changed. It has upset my life and my childrens drastically. How do I forgive and move on? My life is miserable because I am so angry and so are my kids. Please Help!!!!!

Shania Twain
Shania Twain10 years ago

If someone you care about, nevered hurt hime and always made him feel that you love him more than any thing in your life..For me dhe is my friend...if she hurt me after all i did to her ,,can i forgive her that easy...?is that so easy?? i don't think so..Why doesn't she ook for any way to make me fprgive her..she is the first that started,,,i'm sorry forgivness isn't so easy like that,it can't be done withen only "7Simple Roles"