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Forgiveness: should I or should I not forgive the one who hurt me?

Forgiveness: should I or should I not forgive the one who hurt me?

April 4, 2024

Forgiveness is one of the most important phenomena in our relationships with others. We've all wondered if that person who has hurt us, intentionally or not, deserves our sorry .

It affects us, especially when the faults to forgive come from people close to us, such as family members, friends or partners, relationships in which the existence or not of forgiveness can significantly impair our quality of life (and that of others). However, Does it mean to forgive someone reconciling us with her?

Forgiveness, should I or should I not forgive?

It is true that forgiveness favors reconciliation but this is not strictly necessary, in fact we can be in a relationship where there is no forgiveness and we have simply "forgotten" a painful event or forgive someone we no longer have no contact. The act of forgiving itself is rather a process and occurs as time goes by.

Well, scientists agree that forgiving implies that the offended person recognizes that what they have done to him is not right and although he knows that the situation may not be justified and the person who caused the damage does not deserve to be forgiven, Make the decision to do it.

Gordon and Baucon (1998-2003) point out that Forgiveness does not mean having positive feelings of compassion, empathy or love towards who has hurt us , because it can be "a selfish act" that is done towards oneself, in order to diminish the negative emotions that cause it.

More and more, the decision to forgive does not exempt us from asking for justice and claiming what we do not believe fair, as long as we do not act only in a vengeful way (Casullo, 2008).

Clinging to anger is like clinging to a hot coals with the intention of throwing them at another; you are the one who burns.”


Forgiveness is experienced at the individual level, there is a change in the behavior, thought and emotions of those who suffer it but at the same time it can be considered interpersonal since it occurs in a specific situation and with specific roles: offender-offended.

The processes associated with forgiveness

In the last 20 years there has been a growing interest in the study of forgiveness in Psychology in order to address two processes:

  • On the one hand, forgiveness is a key aspect of the recovery of emotional wounds, as in the case of infidelity in the couple, in which the deceived person may feel betrayed by his spouse ..
  • As evidence in the association in numerous studies between the forgiveness and health, both physical and mental.

Types of forgiveness

From the approach of those who have felt hurt in close and more everyday relationships, we can find three types of forgiveness:

  • Episodic forgiveness: related to a particular offense within a specific situation.
  • The dyadic forgiveness: the propensity to forgive within a relationship, such as a couple or a family.
  • The dispositional forgiveness: trait of a person's personality, his willingness to forgive as time passes and through different situations.

These three elements together influence our ability to forgive and the way we choose to forgive.

Postures regarding forgiveness

There are three positions regarding forgiveness, which predispose us in one way or another when trying to answer the question of how to forgive. These are the following:

1. The first position and the most widespread. He perceives forgiveness as essential for the healing of emotional wounds and highlights how beneficial it is to health, physical and mental. It is very useful for the treatment of feelings of anxiety and anger as well as a very effective clinical tool for people with post-traumatic stress. They are credited with values ​​of compassion and humility.

2. The second posture He has a different view of forgiveness than the first. It considers that in some cases not to forgive is also beneficial, since not doing so can be harmful for the one who forgives and can put at risk groups that are in a situation of vulnerability, such as abuse or abuse. The values ​​they hold are equity, justice and empowerment.

3. The third position it is at the intermediate level of the previous two. It places emphasis on the context in which forgiveness occurs and, therefore, each situation should be assessed.

The decision to forgive or not is in someone who has felt offended, and can be introduced at the therapeutic level as long as the patient decides freely. Therefore, from this vision, forgiveness can be both positive and negative, depending on the context in which the events occur.

Factors that influence forgiveness

In order to delve a little deeper into the world of forgiveness, we describe the main characteristics or variables that will affect the final decision:

The exoneration: it is an internal process in which the injured person analyzes and understands more deeply the situation that causes him harm. (Hargrave & Sells, 1997).

  • Characteristics of the one who forgives : it depends on whether we think that the person has acted to harm us, or if we think that he has not done so, when we more benevolently perceive the other's actions, there is a better chance that we will agree to forgive him. On the other hand, people who are willing to forgive, have a greater ability to control their emotions, just as people with anxiety or depression find it harder to forgive.
  • Characteristics of the offense The more serious it is, the less likely it is to be forgiven.
  • Characteristics of the offender : the fact of recognizing the facts humbly and apologizing sincerely favors the appearance of forgiveness.

Forgiving yourself

Forgiveness can be focused on relationships with other people, but it can also be directed towards oneself, that is, towards self-image and self-concept. Knowing how to successfully manage forgiveness towards oneself means having more or less success at the time of not being invaded by the discomfort that guilt can produce.

Ho'oponopono: a philosophy of life based on forgiveness

If you think you need to forgive yourself and others in order to be happy, may Hawaiian philosophy call you useful Ho'oponopono . You can discover it by visiting this article:

"Ho'oponopono: healing through forgiveness"

Bibliographic references:

  • Guzmán, Mónica. (2010). Forgiveness in Close Relationships: Conceptualization from a Psychological Perspective and Implications for the Clinical Practice. Psykhe (Santiago), 19 (1), 19-30. Retrieved November 28, 2014, from // ... 10.4067 / S0718-22282010000100002.

Hurt people hurt people. Forgiven people forgive people. (April 2024).

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