Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Kindness in Forgiveness

It's not always easy.

In fact, sometimes it's beyond difficult.

But forgiveness? It's kind to two people.

The person you're forgiving.

And you.

Let's be real.

People can be assholes.

People can do shitty things.

Intentionally--or not.

But so can I.

And so can you.

Keep that in mind. Gather empathy from those past experiences in which you've been the wrongdoer. Use it to forgive.

People make mistakes; people grow; people change.

Or they don't.

But you will.

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." ~Mahatma Gandhi

Sometimes it's easier when someone asks for forgiveness. When they apologize for the wrong they've done.

Sometimes it's harder. Sometimes you want people to just disappear and never come back--and when they do, it's a constant reminder of that hurt.

But they've made the effort. They've apologized. Maybe more than once. Maybe over and over. They've taken that first step toward communication.

Forgive them.

You don't have to forget what they've done--that might not be possible. But (and warning: this is a total cliché, but it's also the truth) life's too short to hold onto hurt.

Take a second and really think about this quote. Let it sink in. 
It's kind of amazing in how simple--and how true--it is.

Sometimes those who've hurt you don't think they need to apologize. They don't see that they've done anything wrong.


Because here's the thing: People need love the most when they act like they least deserve it.

Hurt people hurt people.

Forgive them.

If you can't do it for them (and believe me, I know how much easier it is to blog about this than to practice it in real life), do it for yourself.


Letting go of the pain someone's caused you can beyond difficult. But when you hang onto it? All you're doing is giving that person--or those people--headspace that could be used for so many better things. Story ideas. Childhood memories.

Freaking grocery lists.

Anything is better use for that area of your brain. Your heart.

Ask yourself: Do you want to feel this pain/anxiety/regret/negativity in a year? In two? Five? Ten?

God, I hope not. I sure don't.

So let go. Today. Tomorrow. A week from now. Maybe it will take a year--but get give that ball a gentle shove toward the top of the hill. Big or small, it won't be easy. But eventually, it will pick up speed and you'll find yourself feeling lighter, faster, freer.


This is your kindness challenge for the month: Forgive someone.

Give them kindness in the relief of being forgiven.

Give yourself the kindness of letting go.



Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts. We post the second Wednesday of every month. 

Check out today's posts by other writerly friends participating in The Kindness Project!

Sophia Chang                         Sara Larson
Erica Chapman                       Matthew MacNish
Jessica Corra                          Sara McClung
Elizabeth Davis                       Gretchen McNeil
Christa Desir                           Leigh Moore
Sarah Fine                              Tracey Neithercott
Claire Hennessy                     Katharine Owen
Elana Johnson                        Elizabeth Poole
Liza Kane                                Lola Sharp
Amie Kaufman                        Michele Shaw
Alina Klein                               Meagan Spooner
                                               Carolina Valdez Miller

Want to join us? Grab our button and spread a little kindness.


  1. Great message! Whether I'm asking for forgiveness or offering the gift, I always feel so much better afterwards. Happy Hump-Day, Sara!

  2. This is lovely and so true. It is hard to find forgiveness, but worth it to keep trying.

  3. What a great message! Love it.

    Thanks Sara!

  4. So true--and so difficult! When I was younger, I was a champion grudge-holder but, as I've gotten older and somewhat wiser, I'm learning to let it go. <3

  5. Wow, what a great post. I love all those quotes. Sometimes this can be SO hard. I think I'm pretty good at forgiving, but there are a few people who continually do things to hurt me and my family and it is SO hard to keep forgiving over and over. It never ends. But i know I'm happier when I can reach that place.

  6. Inspiring post, Sara. Thanks so much for sharing it. Sometimes we can hold onto bitterness and not even realize it. This is a great reminder to search our hearts and let things go.

  7. Love this! I need to practice forgiveness more--it's such a relief when you let something go!

  8. You are truly a forgiving and kind person, Saraboo. I know you practice what you preached here today, and it's lovely. You're heart is a good heart, a kind heart, a loving heart, a generous heart. <3

    Love you,

  9. This was so great and exactly what I needed to read right now. Thank you. I got into an argument with some friends last night because I said I couldn't make an airport run, and it just totally spun out of control. They attacked and humiliated me in front of all our friends. I'm just devastated by it all and don't know what to do. But reading this helps. Even though I don't think they will forgive me, I apologized and I'm going to let it go and forgive them.

  10. Great post. Forgiveness is such a massive thing. I have been working on "Level 10 Forgiveness" (lol) and it has transformed my life. MY life is so much richer and better because I forgave others - which is really just a way by which you forgive yourself anyway. It's freeing. Releases you to move forward and be bigger and better. Thanks :)

  11. What a great post. I can't think of anything more kind than forgiveness.

  12. Very thoughtful post. I really think many forget the power of forgiveness.

  13. Well said, Sara. Forgiveness is nice for the forgiven, but critical for the forgiver's health and happiness.

  14. What a wonderful post! Albeit a tough one, forgiveness is a most definite act of kindness.

  15. Sometimes the easiest thing to do, sometimes the hardest. But always necessary. And always rewarding. Great message:)

  16. This seeps in for me: Forgive them even if they're not sorry.

    It's a necessary element in our growth. We will be hurt, but we can choose to forgive, for our own sake. Thanks for the reminder, Sara. <3 <3

  17. Excellent reminder and what a creative way to display it!! This is something I have to make myself do with my hubs. It's hard when you want to throw all the past in his face, but I'm learning not to do that. To forgive ;o)

  18. Love this post. It's SO dang hard to forgive someone, especially when they aren't sorry. The teachery part of me wants to go, "But you need to LEARN why you should be sorry first! Let me make you a flow chart. Or perhaps a Venn diagram."

    But you're right. It changes us the most when we forgive without limits, without stipulations. Thanks for this!

  19. Yes. This. So much. I never remember this. But it is when they need it most. xx

  20. Oh Sara. That post was FULL of awesome, but it wins post of the day for me, for quoting Gandhi.

  21. Complete and total awesomeness!!

    There were so many incredible quotes in here. I've got to add a couple of them to the quotes I've got all over my classroom! Thanks you :)

  22. Beautiful, beautiful post. "Hurt people hurt people"--so true and important to remember. It helps me forgive. Thanks, Sara!

  23. Gorgeous post, Sara. I truly believe in the power of forgiveness and I love the quotes you have on here. <3

  24. "Forgive them even if they are not sorry."

    I am adding that to my cork board because I seriously need to look at that this week!

  25. What an excellent post and a great reminder! I've never heard it put like that, but you're so right: hurt people hurt people. Ahh! Forgiveness is the hardest thing, but it can be done, and you're right. The kindness goes both ways. Thanks for the inspiration, Sara! :o) <3

  26. I feel like you wrote this just for me. I'm really, really bad at forgiving. It's so easy to hold onto things, and even when I tell myself to forgive sometimes my mind won't make that leap. I think I need to bookmark your post for the next time I'm angry at someone.

  27. Hi Sara, I found your blog through Elana Johnson. Your post really resonates with me, as over the past year it has been hard to forgive others as well as myself for mistakes or things that have happened in the past. You are right - people do change, for better or for worse. I suppose acceptance and forgiveness go hand in hand here, and the best we can do is learn to take things for what they are and make the best out of our situations.

    By the way, I'm hosting an awesome blogfest and critique giveaway at my blog from June 22-24 that you should totally come participate in if you're interested! :) Hope you have a great day.

    ~Wendy Lu

    The Roarin' Twenties Poetry Blogfest + Chapter Critique Giveaway (hosted by The Red Angel)

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Yay! I love when you have things to add :)