The Art of Forgiveness and Setting Yourself Free

The Art of Forgiveness and Setting Yourself Free

A friend of mine told me that she read somewhere that the original Sanskrit meaning of forgiveness is "to untie". I've not been able to confirm this, but I like it

Letting Yourself Off the Hook

People often ask me, "How can I possibly forgive my (rapist, abuser, ex-wife, etc.)? Are you saying I should let them off the hook after what they did to me?"

When I hear these words, I offer the following advice: It is you that is being let off the hook! Imagine the person you cannot forgive as someone who once held a fishing pole. They've set down the pole and gone on to other things, perhaps even hurting others. In the meantime, you are still floundering in the murky waters of the past, snagged on their hook.

As long as you are spending precious energy resenting, hating, and being angry, you will be unable to swim freely. What I am asking you to do it is to gently remove the hook that keeps you tangled in the past.

Letting Go of the Need to Control

Think of forgiveness as letting go and not having to be responsible for the other person's accountability. I realize that means releasing the control you may feel this gives you over the person or situation, however, it is you that is truly being controlled by the refusal to let go.

A very wise friend of mine (whom I've never met since she is a light that twinkles on the other end of the Internet somewhere) put it like this: Think of your abuser as a horse who is stepping on your foot. You stand there screaming in pain and ranting at the horse. Why not lift the horse's leg up and take it off your foot? In that way your foot can begin to heal and you can let the horse move away from you.

Forgiveness is a Way of Setting Yourself Free

Forgiveness is not an easy thing for a lot of us. I believe this is because we associate forgiveness with allowing another to "get away with" whatever it is that he or she has done. If someone has done you harm, they will be accountable for their actions with or without your anguish.

 Get The Latest From InnerSelf

However seen in a new light, forgiveness can be a way of setting yourself free.

©1999 Whole Heart Publications

Article Source:

Loose Ends, A Journaling Tool for Tying up the Incomplete Details of Your Life and Heart
by Eldonna Bouton.

Loose Ends, A Journaling Tool for Tying up the Incomplete Details of Your Life and HeartLoose ends is a hands-on journal writing book designed to help the reader work through the issues of the past so that s/he can live in the present. Over thirty simple and direct exercises to help you forgive, let go, and move on. This book is brimming with inspirational quotes and offers lots of inviting stationery on which to write your heart out.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book.

About The Author

Eldonna Bouton

Eldonna Bouton has published inspirational nonfiction as well as essays, humor and fiction. She is currently working on a novel and plans to write a sequel to this book titled "Loose Ends: Letters from the Heart", based upon readers responses to the exercises outlined in the workbook.


follow InnerSelf on


 Get The Latest By Email



InnerSelf Newsletter: September 6, 2020
by InnerSelf Staff
We see life through the lenses of our perception. Stephen R. Covey wrote: “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are──or, as we are conditioned to see it.” So this week, we take a look at some…
InnerSelf Newsletter: August 30, 2020
by InnerSelf Staff
The roads we are travelling these days are as old as the times, yet are new for us. The experiences we are having are as old as the times, yet they also are new for us. The same goes for the…
When The Truth Is So Terrible It Hurts, Take Action
by Marie T. Russell,
Amidst all the horrors taking place these days, I am inspired by the rays of hope that shine through. Ordinary people standing up for what is right (and against what is wrong). Baseball players,…
When Your Back Is Against The Wall
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
I love the internet. Now I know a lot of people have a lot of bad things to say about it, but I love it. Just like I love the people in my life -- they are not perfect, but I love them anyway.
InnerSelf Newsletter: August 23, 2020
by InnerSelf Staff
Everyone probably can agree that we are living in strange times... new experiences, new attitudes, new challenges. But we can be encouraged in remembering that everything is always in flux,…