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Myths about Forgiveness and Why to Forgive Them?

Misbah has done her Bachelor's degree in Psychology. She loves to write on different psychological and social topics


To understand how forgiveness affects us positively, it is useful to first look at what we are going through when we cannot forgive the other person. In case of not forgiving, emotions such as grudge, pain, hatred, hostility, anger and fear prevail. Having a grudge against someone and a desire for revenge also causes some changes in our bodies. Symptoms such as stomach aches, heartburn, indigestion, increased blood pressure, change in a heartbeat, headache, dizziness, insomnia, weakness, distraction, and restlessness are some of these.

Considering the physical and psychological difficulties of not being forgiving, we can conclude that forgiveness is an action we will do for ourselves. In fact, as an anonymous saying goes, "Forgiveness can be thought of as a selfish act because all the benefits are to the forgiving person."

Why do not we forgive?

So why do people continue their lives with a desire to take revenge at any cost. While the benefits of forgiveness on health are so obvious? The answer to this is related to what the person's unforgiving behavior serves. Preserving resentment and grudge is our effort to protect ourselves by keeping the injured person away, physically and emotionally, from ourselves. We are sad, hurt, and disappointed after the mistakes made against us.

To protect ourselves against these negative emotions and not to experience such feelings again, we do not let our anger go. We try to reduce our chances of getting injured again by not lowering our shields. So the thing that prevents forgiveness is our inner barriers. We choose to keep resentment because of some negative thoughts we retain about forgiveness.

Myths about Forgiveness

Myth 1: Forgiveness is forgetting the mistake made.

Contrary to popular belief, to forgive is not to forget. Many people who want to guide us in the face of our pain say "forget it". However, people do not forget important events that happened thanks to their memory. Forgiveness does not change the fact that there is a known and remembered mistake. Even though the memory of what happened will remain with us, it does not mean that we have to bear the pain of this in life. Being aware of the pain we have experienced, we can choose not to bear that pain anymore.

Myth 2: If We forgive, We will justify the mistake they made

Forgiveness does not mean making excuses to justify the mistake of accepting that what happened is deserved. When we forgive, we do not find the person who made the mistake to be innocent or justified. Forgiveness is not to ignore or show that we are hurt or sad because of what has been done. Forgiveness requires accepting the fact that there is a mistake and that it affects us negatively. What happened is to continue to pretend that it never happened, to ignore the error. Since ignored errors mean ignoring that there is a problem, the errors will be more likely to be repeated.

Myth 3: If We forgive, they might make the same mistake again. By forgiving, we let them make mistakes.

Forgiveness is not an action to control the other person's behavior. The actions of others are not under our control. We can only control our own behavior and choices and observe their effects on others. After we choose to forgive, it's up to the other person to make the same mistake again or not.

Myth 4: If We forgive, we would have sacrificed ourselves. Yet they are the ones to sacrifice.

The person we unchained by forgiveness is not only the person who committed the mistake but also. At the same time, we save ourselves. When we forgive, we stop carrying another person's mistake. Instead of continuing our life doomed to what happened, we can get free from the negative effects of that incident. In other words, the state of forgiveness provides a significant gain to the person instead of taking something from the person himself. Only in this way can we be free from the effects of the past.

Myth 5: If we forgive, We will reward them instead of punishing them. They must pay for their mistake and find justice.

Forgiveness means no longer wanting to punish the guilty person for their behavior. Because we know that the other's punishment and payment do not alleviate our pain or make it easier for us to forgive them. Punishing them will not heal us. It is forgiveness, not punishment, that will allow us to heal. However, the belief that equality will be achieved when the other person is punished causes this issue to be left behind and continue to harm us. From the moment we forgive, we can stay in the present and enjoy the moment instead of living in the past.

Myth 6: If We forgive, We will be weak and characterless

Forgiveness does not show that we are powerless; on the contrary, it is a freely made, conscious decision. Forgiveness can be regarded as an indicator not of our worthlessness, on the contrary of the value we give to ourselves.

Myth 7: We don't want to continue our relationship with them; why should We forgive?

Forgiveness does not have to mean continuing the relationship as it is resuming the relationship. Forgiveness does not require us to love, talk to, or meet the person we forgive. We can also forgive those we choose not to keep in touch with. In other words, forgiveness does not require the other person to know about it.

"Stupid man neither forgives nor forgets, pure man both forgives and forgets, wise man forgives but does not forget"

— Thomas Szasz

Why we should forgive?

Like every human, you may also have experienced a situation that you did not expect from someone around you. You are disappointed. You have been hurt, or deceived. You tried to deal with this difficult feeling that you thought you didn't deserve. And you never want to forgive them. Forgiveness means for you to stay with them, to breathe easily. Of course, forgiving the other person will definitely be a decision you have to make. However, recent research shows us a more positive and new direction regarding forgiveness.

Research shows that being able to forgive instead of anger, resentment has some physical health benefits. It shows that forgiveness lowers stress hormones, strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces gastrointestinal distress and body aches. Despite these benefits, we know that forgiveness is not that easy. First, it is necessary to fulfill the four main elements below to forgive.

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”

— Paul Boose

1. Expressing Emotions

Regardless of what is being done against us, first of all, we need to express very well what this situation makes us feel. This may be making us feel anger, disappointment, or sadness. Try to express this as much as possible. If possible, it would be good if we could express the feelings to the person who did this to us. If we do not have such a possibility, we can share our feelings with a close friend, write a letter, pour out, or cry out loud. Did the feelings pass, when we do this? Probably not, While continuing with this step, follow the other steps.

2. Understanding the Reason

Our brain tries to find some explanation for this situation until it is satisfied. Although these reasons are not enough for us, we need explanations about the cause of this event. Sometimes it may be helpful to think that this may have happened to me by accident.

3. Refreshing Trust

A person to forgive needs to have a considerable level of confidence that this event will not recur. Although a successful apology has come from the person who did this to us, we may also feel defensive and think about a possible situation in the future. When we achieve forgiveness, our trust should be satisfactory, if not 100%.

With these three steps, we will be processing our experience. How do we feel?, How do we understand what is happening and how we know this will not repeat again.

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

— Hebrews 8:12

4. Forgiveness and Starting the Relationship Again

Tough decision-making step. With this step, we make a promise that we will no longer hold grudges. For example, if this is a marriage relationship, we will not blame our spouse for this event that happened in the past, and we will not raise this issue when we argue. With the forgiveness step, our position, which is the victim, but stronger than the other, will also be re-equalized. Undoubtedly, doing this step in a relaxed way will be very good for us and our health. However, it is not possible to perform this step without performing the previous 1st, 2nd and 3rd steps. When we can do this, feelings such as revenge, holding grudges, resentment leaves their place for positive emotions such as reconnection, and joy. These emotions will improve our health.

It's not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.

— Tyler Perry







This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Misbah Sheikh


Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 06, 2021:

Chrish, You too are a very lovely person.

Much love!!

Blessings always

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on April 06, 2021:

Wow, thanks for letting me know. I so love the meaning of your name, as well as your personality. Thanks for the good vibes!!! Blessings to you too my friend. Lots of love and kisses!!!!

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 06, 2021:

Haha - Chrish, Misbah is a Muslim Arabic name meaning "lamp" or "light". This name has originated from The Qur'an from Ayatu-n-Nur, also known as the Ayat of light, from the following verse: "God is the Light of the heavens and the earth."

Nowadays I am too famous that you can even find the meaning of my name on Wikipedia -- lol

Blessings to you dear friend

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on April 05, 2021:

So my first thought was right about your name which I still did anyway hahaha. Kisses

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 05, 2021:

@Divika: Thanks a lot for your kind words. What you said is true. It's really important to let go and forgive them.I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Much Gratitude

Blessings and Peace

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 05, 2021:

@Chitra Di: Thanks a lot for appreciating, truly we need to understand the myths first. Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts with me here. Much appreciated

Blessings and Peace

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 05, 2021:

@gyanendra: thanks a lot for appreciation. I am glad you liked it. Yes, forgiveness is a self healing tool.

Thanks for sharing your kind thoughts

Blessings always

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 05, 2021:

@Chrish: thanks a lot for your lovely presence, dear friend

Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts. Much appreciated

I am forgiving you for putting one more Ms. with my name..lol.. you can call me Misbah, my name already having a built in "Miss"- chuckle

Would love to see you around more often

Blessings always

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 05, 2021:

@Amara: yes my dear sister, you are very true. Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts with me. I am glad you liked it

Much appreciated

Blessings and Peace

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 05, 2021:

Misbah this is a wonderful write up. It is so important for our souls to forgive and let go the past. Bad happens to everyone and sometimes it is hard to forgive. You explained well and this information deserves more views.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 05, 2021:

@Nithya: it's lovely to see you here. Thanks for reading and exchanging your thoughts with me. I am glad you liked it

Much Gratitude

Blessings always

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 05, 2021:

@Brenda: thanks a lot for your kind words, Brenda. Much appreciated dear friend. For sure, forgiving someone is tough but equally important as well. You said we forgive but after forgiveness. something casual occurs and it reminds us of the same situation, that’s true. It happens because it is in our unconscious state of mind. I think the fight between mind and heart that occurs at that time, which makes us strong and brave and our soul grows. I believe the one who forgive is stronger than the one who did wrong, because that person carries that burden throughout their life. Maybe they don’t feel it but eventually there comes a time in their life, when they feel they did wrong.

I am glad you liked it. It’s always better to forgive.

Blessings Always

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 05, 2021:

Great in-depth article about forgiveness. It’s the myths about forgiveness, which is important to understand, and you have elaborated this very nicely.

I always believe, that it’s easy to forgive, but difficult to forget. Forgiveness is for our own emotional healing and mental peace. We need to move on in life, without the mental baggage of grudges and stress.

Well done and thank you for sharing.

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on April 05, 2021:

Misbah786, Your article inspires and shows the way to live on the way that is simple and straight. But not that easy. The sooner I can forgive the better I get in my emotion. I have experiened this many times in my life. In fact, It is self a healing tool, Forgiveness. Thank you.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 05, 2021:

@Pamela: Thanks a lot for the appreciation. Surely Forgiving them and Staying in the present is the key. I am glad you liked this one

Much Gratitude

Blessings always

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on April 04, 2021:

Thanks for clsrifyng it Ms Misbah. Yes forgive but don't forget. Not everyone all the time deserves the charity of forgiveness, they must learn. Somehow we couldn't forgive people because that would mean hurting our ego. Thanks for sharing your knowledge! Blessings and muvh love.

Amara from Pakistan on April 04, 2021:

Beautiful piece of writing Misbah.. Even forgiving someone has a positive effect on our souls too.. Thanks for sharing..

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on April 04, 2021:

Forgiveness takes a lot of strength of the mind and spirit. But we tend to forget that once we forgive we are free. A beautiful article with deep insights, thank you for sharing.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 04, 2021:


I had actually thought about using "forgiveness" as the word prompt but at the last minute changed my mind.

Your article is terrific!

I can tell you put alot of work into this one.

Forgiving someone is tough.

No doubt about it.

It's hard to let go of the past, even if you do forgive them.

I guess that's the wise man...one never forgets, but forgives.

But there are times you can find yourself bringing it up again.

Not meaning harm, for you have forgiven the person. But rather when something casual occurs and it reminds you of the same situation. Your words can just say something referencing back to that time without actually meaning any harm.

For instance....saying I remember how I felt...

I guess this comes with learning that we should sometimes keep thoughts to ourselves.

Great write.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 04, 2021:

I think forgiveness is a freeing experience for us. It really has nothing to do with the other person. This is a well written, beautiful article, Misbah. Staying in the present is the key. I think your points are so true, Misbah. Blessings!

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 04, 2021:

Thanks a lot, Peggy. Yes it's very true. When we forgive someone. We can stay in the present and can enjoy. Our heart feels lighter and better. I am glad to know you liked it

Blessings and Peace

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 04, 2021:

You have written a brilliant piece, Misbah! My favorite line among many is the following: "From the moment we forgive, we can stay in the present and enjoy the moment instead of living in the past." That is so true!

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 04, 2021:

Thanks a lot for the appreciation, Rosina. Surely forgiveness is the highest form of love. We must learn how to forgive.

I am glad you liked it

Blessings to you

Rosina S Khan on April 04, 2021:

Misbah, you have given elaborate reasoning on why we should forgive the ones who have wronged us. Forgiveness has a lot of merits bringing in peace of mind and longevity. And I agree forgiveness is the highest form of love.

Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on April 04, 2021:

Thanks a lot, Manatita. I am glad you liked it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Much appreciated. Gratitude

Happy Easter and Blessings

manatita44 from london on April 04, 2021:

Beautiful and well-written article on Forgiveness and quite timely, it being one of the central messages of the Christ. You have done a sterling job! The enemy - if there be any - is always within.

You have mentioned a few. Insecurity, doubt, ego, resentment, anger and greed ... many are at the point where they know consciously, that holding on to the negative is a problem for them, but they still do. Consciousness will only shift dramatically, at the God-appointed hour. Not before. Lovely Hub!

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