The Nature of Forgiveness

Most psychologists recommend mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us, and moving on from the past, instead of allowing bitterness and anger toward others eat away at us. Although burying the hatchet usually brings peace to the soul, there may be some exceptions to that advise, such as a case of sexual abuse. Sometimes a victim becomes more empowered when given permission to not forgive.

Equally, and perhaps more important, is learning to acknowledge your missteps and forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness is often the first step toward a more loving and positive relationship with yourself, and therefore with others.

Recent posts on Forgiveness


Looking Ahead to the Olympic Games

By Alex Pattakos Ph.D. on January 21, 2018 in The Meaningful Life
The Olympics are where the spirit of nationalism, meaningful collaboration, and healthy competition meet.
Courtesy of MaxPixel

Embracing our Dark Sides

The key to self-acceptance is embracing both the light and the dark sides of ourselves. We can do this through self-compassion.

If Oxytocin and Sex Deceive You, Try Gratitude to Move On

By Rita Watson MPH on January 18, 2018 in With Love and Gratitude
If you are suffering from heartbreak, honestly evaluate your last love relationship, then embrace gratitude and look forward to Valentine's Day with a new perspective on love.

The Number One Way to Overcome Infidelity

Moving past infidelity means forgiving the unforgivable. Yet research indicates that forgiveness-inspired relational commitment predicts whether the relationship will survive

Five Reasons Why Your Romantic Relationships Do Not Last

By Robert Enright Ph.D. on January 17, 2018 in The Forgiving Life
Even if you have had a series of challenging romantic relationships, your new partner and you may be strengthened if you consider the five points described here.

Cat Person, Aziz Ansari and Power in the Age of Trump

The New Yorker's "Cat Person" short story seemed to be a prelude to the current Aziz Ansari story. What can we learn about power and vulnerability in the Trump era?

Anxiety, Depression, and Other “Gifts” You May Have

By Jeff Corbin, MD MPH on January 14, 2018 in Rethinking Normal
Don’t blame your mother. It’s not her fault, or yours.

Fulfilled: How the Science of Spirituality Can Help You Live

A new book takes us into the consulting room through stories in warm and clear prose.

6 Simple Exercises to Benefit Your Relationship

Try out a few tricks that happy couples use to support their relationship satisfaction.

Tackling Self-Blame and Self-Criticism: 5 Strategies to Try

By Peg Streep on January 10, 2018 in Tech Support
Do you believe when things go wrong, someone has to take the fall and that person should be you? Do you think people are capable of changing their reactions?

Soul Sadness

By Tara Brach Ph.D. on January 08, 2018 in Finding True Refuge
Our soul sadness is fully revealed when we directly and mindfully contact our pain. In such moments, we discover a natural upwelling of compassion and tenderness for our own heart.

How to Live a Regret-Free Life

By Andrea Brandt Ph.D. M.F.T. on January 02, 2018 in Mindful Anger
As you go into the new year, ask yourself: What lesson did you learn this past year that you wish you’d known earlier? What will you do now to transform that regret into action?

Self-Blame: How do you respond when things go wrong?

Why do you attribute self-blame to the occurrence of negative events? Doing so can come with benefits but also risks. Be careful!

A Forgiveness Hint for You

By Robert Enright Ph.D. on December 31, 2017 in The Forgiving Life
We sometimes think that those who hurt us have far more control over us than they actually do.

Power, Sex, and What Else is New?

Apparently we've reached a tipping point at which enough women have enough power to speak up against sexual assault. But things are far from perfect. Here's what I wish for 2018...
Duncan McNeil/Flickr, used under CC license.

Four Reasons Why Potential Patients Do Not Seek Treatment

By Michael S. Scheeringa M.D. on December 27, 2017 in Stress Relief
It is common to blame individuals for not seeking professional help, but it is likely not their fault. Mental health providers are more to blame for being poor at marketing.

Is Underpants in a Painting Always About Sex?

By Marty Klein Ph.D. on December 24, 2017 in Sexual Intelligence
If it reminds some people of sex, does that make it sexy--and therefore dangerous?

The Mathematics of Forgiveness

By Robert Enright Ph.D. on December 22, 2017 in The Forgiving Life
When others treat us unfairly we tend to become collectors of wounds that can deprive us of happiness. Perhaps it is time to confront those accumulated wounds.

Revenge vs. Rehabilitation

By Joseph Burgo Ph.D. on December 18, 2017 in Shame
Is the "name and shame" campaign purely about exacting revenge against sexual harassers?

Why the Irritation?

Holiday stress making you grumble at the stranger who swiped the last ripe avocado? Keeping your irritability in check this holiday season.

Good Mood, Bad Mood? Blame the Bacteria You Eat

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on December 15, 2017 in The Fallible Mind
The bacteria in our gut—one’s so-called microbiome—play a huge role in shaping our emotions. The brain in our head is in constant contact with the one in our guts.

Tis the Season to Be

By Lori Russell-Chapin Ph.D. on December 12, 2017 in Brain Waves
Tis the season to be jolly. Is the act of forgiveness the key?

Are Judges Swayed by Apologies?

Apologies can do wonders for mending relationships. However, judges who hear a lot of apologies have their own perspectives.

Self-Blame or Self-Inquiry?

While self-blame is something to avoid, a self-inquiry into what they might have done to contribute to an unfortunate circumstance might prove extremely helpful.

A Good Apology Is Hard to Find

By Andrea Brandt Ph.D. M.F.T. on December 04, 2017 in Mindful Anger
Right now, it’s men’s apologies that are in the news. But, we can all take this moment to brush up on our apologizing skills and recognizing when we have things to apologize for.
Miranda Wipperfurth/Unsplash

When We Need an Apology, but Are Never Going to Get One

What happens when we need an apology but are never going to get one?

Is Your Family a Forgiving Community?

By Robert Enright Ph.D. on November 29, 2017 in The Forgiving Life
Families can reduce the tensions in the home and create greater harmony between partners and among children, if forgiveness becomes part of the norm for healthy family functioning.
Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock

Forgiveness Is a Gift of Clarity to Yourself

By Tara Well Ph.D. on November 26, 2017 in The Clarity
If you're having trouble forgiving, remember it's a gift to yourself.

How Practicing Humility Can Help Your Love Life

In terms of dating and relationships, there is a lid that fits every pot and it is easier to find the lid for your pot if you’re not blowing off every lid with steam and arrogance.

Cognitive Dissonance and the Franken Sexual Misconduct Case

By Shawn M. Burn Ph.D. on November 18, 2017 in Presence of Mind
Democrats and feminists must honestly grapple with the uncomfortable feelings generated by the Franken case.