Saturday, June 6, 2009

Does forgiving mean forgetting?

I thought about this question a lot lately. I teach a 7 month program called Spiritual U where I take my students through an amazing journey of the soul. It is 7 months dedicated towards figuring who you are and what you’re about. We learn about meditation, chakras, our lessons in life, how to do readings and so on. I give out homework at every class and the last few assignments were centered on forgiveness. I told my students to put down on a paper the names of all the people they needed to forgive in their life. Then spend a few minutes forgiving that person and themselves. The next assignment was identifying the 5 greatest qualities about the person that was hardest for you to forgive. The range of emotion after that class was tremendous. The most impactful comment heard was “I have no desire to forgive or forget what this person has done.” And that made me think.

Is forgiving also forgetting?

I just finished a book called “The Shack” and I will quote from that book what I think the answer to this question is; “forgiving is not forgetting, it is just taking your hands off the other person’s throat.” I thought that was awesome. When you don’t forgive then the feelings of anger, betrayal and sorrow eat away at you and not at anyone else. Those feeling will fester into something else such as an illness, a lack of vitality for life and so on.

Last night, I modified the forgiveness exercise and did the following. I wrote forgiveness letters to anyone that I had some hard feelings towards. I summarized why I was hurt and explained my feelings. Then I thought of all the great things that person has done for me and thanked them for it. Then I thought of their greatest quality and by their name I wrote that quality down so it looked like NAME = QUALITY. Now, when I think of that person all I remember is that quality. I ended it by wishing them the best in life and signed it With Love, Mary.

I can’t begin to explain to you how liberating this exercise has been. I felt lighter and more empowered after it was done. It serves nothing to hold on to those negative emotions and worlds of difference when you shift your attitude to one of forgiveness and acceptance. You are not condoning the act rather you are freeing yourself from the hurt you chose to feel from it.

Share with me your thoughts about this. I’d love to hear from you!

Subscribe to my free monthly newsletter at

Peace to all,
Mary Salfi


  1. Mary-

    This is awesome and I am so happy you are able to empower so many lives with your messages. I listened to Dr. Wayne Dyer today and he said something so powerful and relevant to your blog. He said "Everything you fight weakens you and everything you support strengthens you".

    In terms of forgiveness I see it as: When you apply the support of forgiveness vs. holding onto the anger, you become stronger- empowered.


  2. Mary,

    This is a really nice post and a great way to start your blog. I look forward to seeing the cool name you come up with for your blog. I didn't get the forgiveness "thing" for quite a while, but now I have learned how it stengthens me and puts me at peace. Of course, I learned this from you.


  3. Mary,
    I have been attempting sorts of forgiveness exercises for years. I am going to try your letter idea to help me release the hurt I have felt for years and years as a result of one person's actions.
    In practicing forgiveness on a daily basis, I like the following mantra taught by Deepak Choprah:
    Every decision I make is a choice between a grievance and a miracle.
    I relinquish all regrets, grievances, and resentments, and choose the miracle.

    That seems to help me (most of the time!)

    Hope all is well with you :)