Forgiving Another – What It Means

by Mark Ivar Myhre on February 20, 2011

Recently I was asked a question:

“What does it mean to forgive people who have hurt you?”

Well, let’s talk about the worst-case scenario first.  Let’s say you were really wronged by another person.  Seriously wronged.  And you were completely helpless to stop it or to defend yourself.  In this extreme case, it will create a link between you and the offender that can last a lifetime.  If not longer.

A bond forms between you and that other person. Even though it’s not a physical bond, it does exist.  It’s like a root that grows into and around your heart.  And then there’s a stem that extends outward from you and into the heart of the other person, who also has these same roots growing into and around their heart.

If you could see it, it would look like a dark or gray energy.  It almost seems to have small hairs growing out of it – or some other type of growth.  The best image I can compare it to is an electron micrograph of an insect.  Except it’s even more repulsive than that.

When I first sensed this ugly growth around my own heart, about 15 years ago, it freaked me out.  Let’s just say I was highly motivated to get rid of it.

Anyway, keep in mind, that’s the worst-case scenario.  It only happens when you’ve been abused; and usually in comes from childhood or adolescent shame.  But if you don’t forgive the other person for why they did what they did to you, then it’s hard to really heal this linking of negative energy.

You’ll be bonded to them for the rest of your life.  Even after they die, the bond lives on.  At least on your end.  They will always be a part of your life if you don’t forgive.

First, you have to forgive yourself, and then you forgive the offender. If you don’t forgive yourself first, then you won’t be able to fully forgive them.  And keep in mind, it’s not too important to forgive what they did.  Instead, the main value comes from forgiving why they did it.  The ‘what’ is just illusion.  The ‘why’ is real.  That’s where the energy is.  That’s where the substance lies.

The second-worse case involves an adult who’s been abused or hurt severely by another.  See, as a child, you can’t really figure out what’s going on, so you always end up blaming yourself.  You’re almost forced to believe the problem lies with you.

When you’re grown-up, however, it’s at least easier to understand.  You can see that it’s the abuser who’s messed up.  (Unless you’re functioning as a child in a grown-up body, which is a whole ‘nother story.)   Anyway, as a grown-up, you’re less likely to form these disgusting links with the offender.  Although I’m sure it does happen in extreme cases.

What usually happens, though, is that you end up carrying around a pile of garbage for the rest of your life. You carry around the offender’s garbage.  And sooner or later, you start adding your own garbage to the pile.  It becomes your burden to bear.  It takes on greater and greater importance in your life.  You have to think about it every day.

Many people are okay with this situation.  Hey, you get to blame.  You get to be righteous.  You get to engage in any kind of behavior your ego wants.  Because, “Look what they did to me!”

“I’ll always be a victim.”

“I don’t have to be responsible after what happened to me.”

Unfortunately, when you throw down your responsibility, your ego picks it up. Or some other ‘lesser’ part of you picks it up.  When you refuse to drive your own car, then you have to climb into the backseat, while some wayward teenagers take control of your life.  Once they drive you into the ditch, that’s when they throw the car keys back into your face for you to clean up the mess.

Besides that, and besides the fact that you miss out on living your own life, it’s not so bad giving up responsibility for your life.  Except you’ll always be scared and miserable.  And in pain.  And you’ll never complete your mission here on earth and you’ll die as a failure.  But besides that, it’s not so bad.

Of course, the alternative is to be an adult and take charge of your life by forgiving yourself and others. But if you do, you’ll risk being happy.  And free.  And more powerful.  Then who knows what might happen?

It’s no mystery to me that most people out in the world prefer pity and blame.  I know I did.  Finally, though, I just got sick of the pain.  It got old.  It was too predictable; too boring.  If not for that, I don’t know if I ever would’ve changed.

I got tired of lugging around a five gallon bucket filled with concrete. Cause once you start carrying it, you don’t get a day off.  You don’t get a vacation.  You don’t get any sick time.  This isn’t a government job.  You have to lug that heavy burden around with you every waking hour – if not every waking minute.

Getting back to the original question:  When you forgive someone who’s done you wrong, it means you get freedom.  You get power.  You get more aliveness.  You get relief from the nagging pain.  At least, that’s what it means to me.

It means I don’t have to be tied down to their garbage; I don’t have to tote it around with me anymore.  It means I’m smarter than I otherwise would be.  It means my hands are now free to hold what I want to hold – instead of what I had to hold.  So therefore, I get to live a better life and be more successful.

And as we already know, living well is the best revenge.

To start getting some of that ‘best revenge’ – just click on the link below:

You’ll be a better person for it.


Helen February 20, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Hi Mark –
What a wonderful way with words you have – your words, as always, have hit the right spot!
Thank you

Mark Ivar Myhre February 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Hi Helen,

always good to hear from you.


craig February 20, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Mark, how do you describe or define forgiveness? I can’t assume everyone knows what it is, and to use the word “forgiveness” repeatedly to explain its meaning, is not saying anything. Give us the thought steps that track blame and its turning into forgiveness. I’m admitting that I do not know how to forgive. I do know that it is not, “it’s ok, I’ll just forget about it”, or “it’s ok, it never really happened”. Please do not use the word “forgiveness” to describe forgiveness. thanks

Mark Ivar Myhre February 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm

well sure, I’ll go into more depth about it.

let me sleep on it, since I’m fading right now, and I’ll write something tomorrow or at the latest the next day, and I’ll record it as another blog post.

Carl Johnson February 22, 2011 at 10:05 am

Thank you Mark…..thank you!!

girish kohli May 9, 2011 at 7:43 am

i love your writings and you.
with love

girish kohli May 9, 2011 at 7:44 am

i am learning a very difficult subject to forgive ourself and others which was commendable to read.
with regards
Girish Kohli

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: