Who Do You Need To Forgive?

forgave“Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.” – Ann Landers

When the word forgiving is mentioned, who comes to your mind? Who is the person or what is the experience that you feel you will never forget, never forgive? Forgiveness is a subject that fascinates me and it’s probably because it is such a hard thing to do!

I worked as a remedial massage therapist for 22 years and in treating clients, I saw over and over again how our experiences and our emotions can get locked up in the body and manifest in tension, pain and health problems. Now, in my work as a coach, I teach clients relaxation techniques so it is not uncommon for me to hear clients say that they are feeling stressed over something that happened in the past. It may be because they no longer have something they had, because they were hurt, because something unpleasant happened, because they once did something they are sorry for, because they became angry over a situation in the past or were treated badly.

We have all experienced regret, sadness, hurt, fear, guilt, blame, anger and resentment. Sometimes we even have the desire for revenge. Author Louise L. Hay says: “Holding onto the past –no matter what it was or how awful it was – is only hurting YOU. Not forgiving someone else doesn’t harm the person. “They” really don’t care. Usually “they” are not even aware!”

What is forgiveness?

Wise people have shared their definition of forgiveness with me. So now I share them with you and hope that at least one of these resonates with you.

  • Forgiveness is choosing to draw a line in the sand saying I am not going to be negatively affected by this anymore.
  • Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.
  • Forgiveness means giving up our hurtful feelings and letting the whole thing go. It is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. It has nothing to do with condoning behaviour. It is just letting the whole thing go. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you to focus on other positive parts of your life.
  • Forgiveness is accepting what is; or what has been and becoming willing to see it differently. You cannot un-hear what you have heard or un-see what you have seen. What you can do is stop believing that what occurred has somehow left you broken, damaged and wounded. 

How can I forgive and forget?  

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. One way is to release the emotional attachment to it. The past is over and done and we cannot change that now. Allow the memories to be just memories. Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time. Forgiveness results in a shift in your perception. You do not need to know how to forgive, or you may not want to forgive, but the very fact that you are willing to try to forgive begins the healing process. When you feel ready to try to forgive say: “If you have hurt me or harmed me in any way, to the best of my abilities right now I forgive you. Or may I one day forgive you.” Repeat this exercise at least once a week until you reach the point where you can let go.

Research shows that journaling about the benefits you’ve got from a negative situation, rather than focusing on the emotions you have surrounding the event can actually help you to forgive and move on more easily.

Or you may want to just write them a letter and tear it up (or burn it) and move on. It still may help to put your feelings into words as part of letting go. People don’t need to know that you’ve forgiven them; forgiveness is more for you than for the other person.

Sometimes it can be difficult to forget about the past and forgive, particularly if the offending acts were on-going or traumatic. If you’re still having difficulty knowing how to forgive someone who’s wronged you in a significant way, you may have better success working with a therapist who can help you work through your feelings on a deeper level and personally support you through the process.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Reflect on how this situation has affected your life, health and well-being. Letting go can make way for compassion, kindness and peace.

Forgiveness can lead to:

Healthier relationships

Greater spiritual and psychological well-being

Less anxiety, stress and hostility

Lower blood pressure

Fewer symptoms of depression

Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse

If you’re unforgiving, you might pay the price repeatedly by bringing anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Your life might become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present. You might become depressed or anxious. You may feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you’re at odds with your spiritual beliefs. You might lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others.

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. You do it so that you can get well and move on. It frees you from the past, the past experience, and the past relationships. It allows you to live in the present moment. When we won’t forgive, when we won’t let go, we bind ourselves to the past and cannot live in the present moment and therefore we lose the experience of enjoying life in the here and now.

Caroline x


Gratitude is the Best Attitude

gratitude pebble

An attitude of gratitude is about becoming aware of what is good and positive in your life right now. It is the habit of feeling and expressing thanks for all of the things in your life that you are grateful for. The more gratitude you have and express, the better and more positive your personality is.

Scientific evidence that gratitude improves our health, comes from research accumulated by Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California. His studies have found that gratitude makes you healthier, smarter and more energetic. He noted that people who wrote a daily gratitude journal, reported higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy than those who didn’t.

How can you develop an attitude of gratitude today? Try using the four A’s: appreciation, approval, admiration and attention in every part of your life.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

I find that one of the best ways to cultivate gratitude is to keep a journal. I keep it next to my bed and before going to sleep I write down all the things I have been grateful for during that day. With all this gloomy winter weather, when the sun shines it features prominently in my journal! Keeping a gratitude journal helps me to identify the things that make me feel good so that I can incorporate more of these into my life, and it also helps me to adopt a more positive mind-set. I also have a lovely diary of happy memories and things in my life that I am grateful for (this can be wonderful to read during difficult times).

Create Gratitude Reminders

Write your favourite memories or experiences on cards and keep them in your purse or handbag. Or use photos for example: your spouse, your sleeping child, a beautiful place in nature, a pet, an exciting trip, a special moment with a friend, etc.

Make a list of all the people in your life for whom you are grateful

Who has helped or supported you?  Start with the easy ones, like family, friends, mentors, work colleagues and close advisors. Then let the list expand organically – great service, your health, staff at your favourite restaurant or coffee shop, the weather, delicious food and also include things like technology, heating, electricity, clean water, etc. Include absolutely anything that you are grateful for no matter how small it is. You will be amazed at how this makes you take notice of everything around you so much more and how it really does make you more mindful.

Appreciate yourself for all that you are and all that you do

Take a moment to look back and acknowledge how far you’ve come. Acknowledge your good traits, what you’ve accomplished, and the positive ways that you’ve grown. Recognize the ways in which you help and supports others too.

Dr Christiane Northrup says that practicing gratitude for as little as 15–20 seconds, can lower your stress hormone levels of cortisol and norepinephrine, relax your coronary arteries thus increasing the blood supply to your heart, deepen your breathing which increases the oxygen level of your tissues and it makes your heart rhythm become more harmonious, which positively affects your mood and all other bodily organs.


Most people need something to keep them on track in practicing gratitude and they need something to help them remember. I wear functional jewellery, my meaning to pause® bracelet. This bracelet worn on my wrist gently and privately vibrates every 60 or 90 minutes to remind me to practice mindfulness, or to take a few deep breaths, or to relax muscle tension in my body, or to practice being grateful. For more information go to: http://www.meaningtopause.com

Caroline x


5 Tips to Mindfulness in the New Year


“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~ Buddha

A new year, a new you? I read this great quote again recently and it reminded me that practicing mindfulness on a daily basis allows us to be calm and peaceful. This is one of my goals for this year.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the  present moment, and non-judgmentally.

Have you ever been rushing and missed the exit, or caused an accident, or sent an e-mail to the wrong person, or forgotten a responsibility? If you have, you are not alone. We have become victims of the hurried, noisy, fast paced environment that we have all created and all contributed to. When we multi-task, we can only be partially effective in all the different things we are doing. When you are present and mindful doing a single thing – that is when you are at your best, your peak, your optimal ability.

Practicing mindfulness takes practice. Mindfulness is the antithesis of multi-tasking. Very simply – living in the present moment is about living in the now by being more aware and focused on what you are doing. The best way to bring mindfulness into your life effortlessly is to create a daily intention. As you go about your day, try to find as many opportunities as you can to practice mindfulness. The more you practice, the easier it will become to bring mindful awareness into your life experiences, which in the end may also help you cope with stress and personal issues.

Here are 5 simple ways to cultivate mindfulness in your day to day life:

SILENCE ~ Hidden in the word ‘listen’ is the word ‘silent’. For 1 minute choose to make a conscious effort to switch off the noise around you and allow the silence to fill your mind.

BATH BLISS ~ Set aside time to have a long, luxurious bath and be mindful of all your senses.  Enjoy the warm water, bath oils and soap, scented candles, fluffy towels and relaxing music.

SLOW DOWN ~ Instead of rushing from one place to another, slow down and walk mindfully.  Work slowly and deliberately on one task at a time.  Keep your mind on the present, not the past or the future.

BREATHE ~ Take a moment to focus on your breathing for a full minute.  It relaxes the space inside of you, straightens your spine and opens the chest.  Deeply inhale into the bottom of your belly and then take much longer on your exhalation.

NATURE ~ Place water and food outside for the birds.  Take a moment to watch them feed and wash and preen their feathers.  Appreciate the beauty of everything in nature, even the little creatures.

Caroline x