3 Lessons in Forgiveness

True story: I have a best friend that I didn’t talk to for three years.

One day we got in a fight, and both of us — stubborn as bulls — never brought it upon ourselves to give in and apologize. Post-college and living separate lives, it felt easy to avoid each other. Like children with divorced parents, our friends spent time with us separately. For over three years it went on like this.

On my end, I know that every time I thought about the fight, I felt justified and in the right. I didn’t think that I needed to apologize. But every time I thought about HER and not the fight, I secretly hoped she was doing well. I felt horrible inside at the thought that we weren’t still friends. It was a waste of a good friendship, and not to mention, the ability to look someone in the eye and really know each other.

So one day, I texted her. I didn’t even bring up the fight. I simply said that what had happened was in the past, and that I hoped she was doing well. She felt exactly the same, and from there, we slid back into our old roles with far too much ease. It felt good to be around someone who — despite three years gone by — knew me so well. It went to show that life can go on and things can happen, but ultimately, your spirit remains the same. It is what makes you you, and it’s why when you connect to someone on a spiritual level as opposed to circumstantial level, you will find friendship that lasts a lifetime.

The whole situation was my first blatant lesson in forgiveness. It really changed my outlook, and in a way, I’m thankful that it happened simply for what it taught me. Especially on a day like today, it’s important to forgive. Take a minute to read through my three major lessons in forgiveness, and tell us, who in your life can you forgive? Do you have any lessons in forgiveness that you’d like to share? Please contribute to the conversation in the comments, and have a happy, forgiving Thanksgiving.


Lesson One: Forgiveness means letting go

The act of forgiveness doesn’t involve pointing fingers. It’s not about rehashing what happened. It’s about letting go. You might not even feel ready to forgive, but I encourage you to ignore all the back and forth in your head, and just do it. I’ll fully admit that I still held apprehensions when I texted my friend to make up. I had no idea what came next, whether we were going to be friends or simply civil. That wasn’t what was important though. The minute I reached out, there was an overwhelming sensation of letting go and a strong sense of relief. Reach out, have that conversation of forgiveness, you can always decide later what will come next.


Lesson Two: You don’t realize what you’re missing

Holding onto negative energy makes you blind. It’s really hard to acknowledge how your actions are affecting those around you, as well as how they inhibit your relationship with everyone involved. Our petty separation caused a tear in our group of friends so much so that we couldn’t even remember how strong we were as a whole. Sometimes our friends would avoid us both because they didn’t want to choose one over the other. It sent us all in separate directions. But once the we healed the scar, we were able to be a group of best friends again. The amount of support and love that came from that blew me away. Neither of us had any idea what we were missing.


Lesson Three: Sometimes, you have to forgive yourself

We’re all human. You don’t always look back on your actions and feel proud. I was honestly embarrassed that it took us so long to forgive each other, but I had to get past that. In order to allow everything to come full circle, you also have to forgive yourself. Everyone takes life in their own time, and some of us move to a different rhythm than others. Accept that about yourself, and ultimately, move on.

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9 years ago

I think I’m far too young to have the wisdom to have found these lessons on my own, so this post is very helpful for my future. But nonetheless, we all find little things to disagree over and this can impact our beings. There is a friend of mine who I got in an argument with about four years ago. Last year she randomly commented on one of my pictures– a nice and friendly note. And we’re friends again. Simply from that. I also should learn to forgive myself more often. Like you said, negative energy isn’t good, whether it be on other people or ourselves. So letting go, moving on and forgiving are three essential things. Thank you, Naomi and Happy Thanksgiving.


9 years ago

Thank you so much for this post. I am extremely stubborn and sometimes care more about the fact that I am right, rather on whether or not the argument is worth the time. I am also the queen of holding grudges… which can be a pretty lonely kingdom… and I have a hard time leaving what is in the past actually in the past. This is eye opening for me. Thank you and have a happy thanksgiving.
xoxo Kennedy
Northern Indigo

9 years ago

I’ve been (am?) through this and can completely relate to your story. Including the breaking up of an entire circle of people. But instead of three, 9 years went by! I hope I come around with forgiveness some day.BUt one thing you say is very important, sometimes we are thinking about a fight or facts and we get ready mad and if we think about the person we feel love. This is the kind of relationship we need, must bring back again. Love must win.

9 years ago

I like this.
“Sometimes, you have to forgive yourself.”
I think so.


9 years ago

This was a beautiful story with a very important message. I’m very stubborn too and only recently, after a life altering event, realized how important forgiveness is. Life is fleeting and our loved ones won’t be around forever. A person who doesn’t maintain relationships with those they love the most will be filled with regret. I know this. Thank you for sharing this lesson!

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9 years ago

Hm, almost the same like my story but we still haven’t talk yet. I hope my relationship with her like yours.

9 years ago

I am so happy I somehow stumbled upon this post two weeks later. I spent my Thanksgiving putting some forgiveness out into the universe as well. In my case it was the messy end of a relationship–the kind that provides no explanation, no sense of closure. It had been really difficult for me to move on while all these loose ends cluttered my mind. It took me awhile to realize that holding onto all of that anger, confusion, desperate, twisted hope was only hurting myself, destroying me from the inside out. It was the most freeing thing in the world to pick up the phone, send a Happy Thanksgiving, hope you’re doing well, and finally close that chapter of my life, on my own terms. Sometimes we weigh ourselves down expecting some kind of apology or payback for all the ways we believe we’ve been wronged. It’s much easier (and much more worth it) to accept the fact that sometimes things happen to deter your path & hold you back but forgiveness is what allows us to move forward.

7 years ago

Forgiveness is hard especially when you feel like you were the one who was wronged. But it turns out more often than not both people involved feel wronged in some way. I have come to learn that no matter what, it is important to forgive myself and others in order to truly be happy and move on with life. Holding onto a grudge isn’t really worth it because instead of going ahead and enjoying your life and pursuing your dreams your grudge keeps you in the other persons prison and what kind of a life is that? A miserable one i’ll say. A good motto to live by “accept what God allows”, and “everything happens for a reason.” Thank you for sharing!!! :)