What is forgiveness?

I was reading this article “An Eye for an Eye” at yourstory and came across this quote which says…


“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and……realizing that you were the prisoner “

Should I be a forgiving person?

I have sometimes debated myself and asking if I should be a forgiving person or the types who should hold on to a grudge to prove a point and establish my own brand of righteousness. Sometimes I have felt very strongly about the latter and stuck to my guns no matter what happened. And whenever I have done that, a few have been my driving thoughts such as

Why should I forgive?

– It is his/her mistake, why should I forgive. They made me suffer for no reason at all and I should make them suffer for that.

– Let me teach them a lesson so that they don’t repeat something like this again.

– How dare they hurt me, I will show them, I will make sure that I will hurt them equally bad so that they won’t dare do something like that again.

– It is my emotions, how dare they disagree, how dare they humiliate me, I will show them who is the boss..

I have often planned ways to get back, exact revenge!

And a lot more thoughts like these. There was of course a common factor with all these reasons above, everytime I felt angry, every time I felt I should get back to them, I ended up thinking variety of ways I could do that. I would spend time imagining how it would to hurt them back, how it would be to receive an apology, how it was feeling hurt. All of these emotions, although sounded right at that moment didn’t seem to do much of a difference to me. I felt even more caustic than I was initially. I used to read all these books about forgiveness and used to laugh at the morale which said- forgiveness is the greatest medicine in life.

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!

But you see, I am a very normal man, who has a petty side – “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” as a code dates back to centuries together. You did something to me, I will do something to you and then you are even. But at the same time I was a little sensible too, there were fragments of me which kept telling that these thoughts were not helping cos I could feel myself burn inside, hate the other, hate myself and hate the situations more and more and the one common thing with all these was the hate which kept making me feel even worse. So much for a clever diagnosis of the emotions, I still was hurting myself.

Being tired of getting irritated, angry and frustrated

I guess the beauty of enlightenment strikes when we are tired of feeling irritated, angry, disappointed, dejected and a lot more of these and then comes the thought which says – “Only you control your emotions“. The situation has happened, the person who did  it has done it, we can either be very caustic to them and make sure they hate us or probably be a little forgiving and look at the situation from a different angle and remove the power of the other person from hurting you so deeply. I know I am sounding like I am giving you an unnecessary philosophy here, but think about it – how do you feel when you give something to someone without expecting anything in return? I am guessing the emotion is happiness cos you did it out of your accord, didn’t want anything else out of it and you felt good cos you felt that you were in touch with your inner noble self.

I just want to feel good – Simple!

Now, can we extend the same metaphor to your forgiveness as well? Can you forgive without any expectations, not cos you feel strongly that you should help someone but probably it is time for you to move away and free yourself from those thoughts? I do agree that it is not easy, nothing ever in the world is, but that doesn’t mean it is not right and that also doesn’t mean that it is not going to be easy with time to come. The more we do something, the better we get at it. I am not asking ourselves to give up the fragments of those emotions which define who we are, I am thinking about how best we could put across these emotions which enhance our quality of life. Frankly of the two, I would love to choose forgiveness cos it makes my life easier, I no longer feel that I should keep wasting my energy and emotions on the mistake than the solution.

Related :

A slap is the difference between revenge and forgiveness!    

How do I stop being a prisoner of the past? 



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15 Responses to "What is forgiveness?"

  1. I am too angry on so many people around my life from last few days. Say it what but I am forgiving every one of them every day….

    Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and……realizing that you were the prisoner “ this line fits perfectly in my case. I am also realizing the same..

    1. Thank you Alok :). I guess it is an enlightenment that keeps on happening and everytime something goes wrong, it feels like an epiphany only to happen again in a different format.. I guess weirdness in its own sense is a lot of fun indeed 🙂

  2. To err is human, to forgive is divine. But it is so difficult. Whole gamut of emotions surface when we face a situation that our experience suggest to be insulting. Easiest way is to retaliate. A mature person controls his urge and moves on. Some wait for the very opportune moment may be many years later. True forgiveness is not to retaliate and accept your opponent as he is.

    1. Thank you Abhijit Ji :). True, it is one of the hardest things to do and probably one of the most fulfilling ones as well. I do find myself in crossroads when it comes to this and I am frequently stopped a bit by my ego which needs gratification as well. But then there are the other times where I realize I can gratify my ego by taking a softer stand and letting it go as well. Both the approaches have given me results both in the positive and the negative front which makes it hard to come up with a one size approach for both of them..

      But like you said, it is about the control, the control on the urges of the primordial behavior and setting the standard up for an evolved one 🙂

  3. Dear Vinay, Thanks for this post, very nicely written. Would you consider covering a topic around ‘Ego’ when none of the two parties are wrong but just sitting at two corners thinking I am right and why should I be the first one to break the silence, none of these parties are forgiving each other. In this case no one wants revenge, but both want apology from the other one. It happens these days in relationships, sometimes also in a husband and wife.. that’s easy to break 😉 but what about other relationships…friends…siblings…and so.

    I would love to read this in your words.

    In the meanwhile, I am new blogger you can have a look at my website, its similar to yours in basic intention…anyway mine too colorful..hehe.. but its meant to be so..

    1. Thank you Jyoti, that is very generous of you :). I would be more than happy to write an article centred on EGO, which I am known to have quite a bit so that I can personalize it better :D. I am glad to know that you enjoyed the articles, makes the effort of writing even more fulfilling :).

      I shall update you soon as there is a post on it. I have written a couple on similar lines
      How to Apologize
      How to face guilt
      How to communicate
      etc. But I don’t think I have done a post specific to this segment, will be more than happy to come up with one soon.

      Sure Jyoti, it would be a pleasure to do that :).. He he 😀 .. I belong to a slightly older generation, still black and white 😀


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