Two Types of Forgiveness

Photo by  Toa Heftiba  

Photo by Toa Heftiba 

For decades, counselors, therapists, ministers and more have been telling us about the importance and the power of forgiveness.

It doesn't matter if someone hurt you 2 months or over 20 years ago, forgiving them is a gift that you give yourself… More than one you give to them.

But forgiveness isn't easy. You just don't turn the other cheek; we all wish it were that easy.

True forgiveness begins by working with a counselor, therapist, or minister and going into your anger, rage, resentments at the hurt that was bestowed upon you by someone you wanted to trust. But what many people don't understand is that there are actually two forms of forgiveness.

As a #1 best-selling author, counselor I’ve been educating clients for 27 years now on the importance of understanding these two totally different types of forgiveness.

In the past we are told to forgive someone because it's the right thing to do, and welcome them back into your life. But that can be the absolute worst thing someone could ever do. In my number one best-selling books on positive thinking, I recall the story of a married couple that I worked with where an affair had just happened.

Over 12 months of working together I had to bring them into the existence of forgiving each other, and then making a decision to either stay together or walk away.

I made it quite clear that forgiveness was crucial for their own mind, body and spirit, but that if they needed to separate and end the relationship, that they could actually use a fairly uncommon form of forgiveness called forgiveness and release.

Photo by  Ben White  

Photo by Ben White 

What this simply means is, you forgive the person for hurting you, and you let them go, without the need or desire to communicate with them ever again. This couple decided to forgive and stay together, but just the fact that they knew they had an option of forgiving and letting that person go, gave them a sense of inner peace.

The pressure that many people feel is that we are supposed to forgive someone who hurt us… And keep them in our lives. That is not the best option for many.

I have worked with other clients where the exact opposite has happened. A mother who abused her daughter from the age of 6 to 18, needed to be forgiven, but through the exercises that I gave to the now adult daughter. The daughter decided to take her mom out of her life, never to communicate with her again.

While to some people this might seem harsh, but depending on the damage, and the lack of willingness of one party to apologize for the damage they inflicted, the best move might be just to let them go and never communicate with them again.

The decision may not be an easy one, but working with the right counselor or minister or coach can help the person then decide if they should forgive someone, for their own emotional and physical health and keep them in their lives… Or if they should forgive them, release them, and let them go forever.

Forgiveness is powerful. It's free spirit. It releases anxiety. Resentment. Anger. Guilt. Shame. Forgiveness, as an action step, is the key to being able to live a healthy, productive and passionate life.


David Essel, M. S., Is a number one best-selling author, counselor, master life coach, and international speaker whose mission is to positively affect 2 million people or more every day, regardless of their current circumstances. David's work is also highly endorsed by the late Wayne Dyer, chicken soup for the soul's Mark Victor Hansen, as well as many other celebrities and radio and television networks from around the United States of America. Celebrity Jenny McCarthy says "David Essel is the new leader of the positive thinking movement". 

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