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Forgiveness Exercise

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

Forgiveness Practice

“Ultimately, to forgive someone means to cancel the debt you feel they owe you. 

It is a surrender and release of the hurt that has passed between you. 

That doesn’t mean you agree with what the person did, condone their behavior, 

or ever invite them back into your life again - often, it is unwise to do so.”

~ Katherine Woodward Thomas

Authentic forgiveness stems from a deep knowing that we are enough, that love is abundant, and that even though we have been wronged, we don’t have to spend our emotional energy trying to have that “debt” paid back to us. This kind of trust doesn’t come easily! It takes practice to train our minds to learn to let go of what’s not important, so we can make room for things that really matter.


Take out your journal and make a list of those you resent. Who am I carrying a resentment toward? 

Go through your list and choose the person who feels the most “hot” to you. Write out an answer to each of the following questions for that person. When you have time, return to this list and complete the following questions with everyone you’ve listed. 

What do I resent this person for?

What can I be responsible for in this situation?

In what ways can this experience help me to become a more mature person?

What lessons did I learn?

What good can come of this situation? 

What have I been unwilling to accept about this situation? 

What can I now let go of so the situation is complete?

Consider following this up with the HeartMath Forgiveness Exercise

“Don’t forgive with the attitude of doing someone a favor – it’s you who comes out the most by releasing the emotional baggage. Forgiveness upgrades your mental, emotional and physical well-being by reducing the neurochemicals that drain and debilitate your system.”

HeartMath Forgiveness Exercise

Researchers say the anger, resentment and blame people hold on to, often for years, accounts for a lot of today’s health problems, and learning how to forgive could prove to be curative and preventative.

“Forgiving and releasing old hurts from your system is like taking a mental and emotional bath,” said HeartMath founder Doc Childre. “Notice how people bathe their bodies on a regular basis, yet they will store negative, toxic junk in their mental and emotional natures for years without a cleanup.”

Negative emotions such as anger, resentment and blame can cause stress to build up in the body, and where there is excessive stress, there is the potential for all sorts of physical, mental and emotional problems. Most notably, elevated stress levels can impair the body’s immune system, putting you at risk for heart disease, chronic pain, and depression among many other debilitating conditions.

The following exercise can help you discover a deeper level of your heart power, where feelings such as compassion, tolerance, understanding and forgiveness reside.

  1. Think of a person or situation you have resented and want to forgive completely.

  2. Send all of the thoughts and emotions that come up in your head about the person or situation – this includes past associations, memories, anger, hurt, resentments, etc. – gently to the heart. 

  3. As often as these thoughts or feelings pop up in your head again, simply send them to your heart, which is the clearinghouse for your emotions.

  4. At the same time, try to feel and send heart energy, love, compassion and forgiveness to the person or situation.

Special notes about the exercise:

You may have to practice this exercise a few times to bring the old head thoughts under heart management. With heart management, you are actually contacting a different level of intelligence within, known as heart intelligence. Heart intelligence has the power to quickly release old resentments and hurts, change your perceptions and bring you to a satisfying understanding of the situation.

Forgiving yourself can be the hardest thing to do. Often people feel that they must remember their wrong doings and beat themselves up for it, or they will not learn from it. The opposite is true.

Often people feel that they are doing good by sustaining self-guilt. This is not true and it creates a steady running stress deficit within our system. As we practice forgiveness from the heart, not just the mind, we clear the energy drains and reset our system for a fresh start. Sustaining guilt translates into increased aging which moves fast enough on its own.

It’s understandable that it’s hard to forgive yourself or others at times, yet it’s better for all concerned to do so. Keep desiring it from your heart to find resolve and added peace.

Source: +❤ HeartMath Institute 

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