How to Forgive

“I’ll never forgive them for as long as they live!”

An understandable response to a totally crappy situation…

But how does being so angry about it make you feel?

What if I could show you a completely different way of viewing everything, like looking through a pair of magic, pink binoculars?

What if that new way of seeing things made you feel “nice and fuzzy” on the inside?

What if I stopped asking patronising questions?

Forgiving means letting go of anger or hatred directed at a person. It’s usually the last thing anyone feels like doing, even after their own death. But there is good news.

It is possible to forgive a complete A-hole.

That’s because forgiveness doesn’t excuse behaviour that was wrong or unfair. It doesn’t make it okay to commit genocide or steal cupcakes.

It just gives you the distance, presence, power and mojo to move on.

Letting go and forgiving is all about freeing yourself.

Why I wrote this blog

Learning how to forgive has taken me on a journey to hell and back, even passing through South Croydon! This is a photo of me taken just a few years ago:

I wasn’t quite myself and if I’m honest it even had some effect on my physical appearance. But look at me now!

Still not 100% but doing so much better than before!

The truth is that I’m not a guru or expert on this subject, far from it.

I actually decided to write about forgiveness because I really sucked at letting go and I wanted to figure out what I could do about that.

My own problems began when I started getting into quite extreme disagreements with people. It’s fair to say that politics isn’t my strong point. In fact if I were in a generous mood I might describe my social skills as “appalling”.

A mix of unrealistic expectations, bad luck, anxiety about dealing with other people and my own lack of diplomacy all combined to give quite a few people the impression that I might be one of the devil’s closer relatives.

So how did I get into so much trouble with the humans? Surely, as a plausible candidate for membership of their species, I could have figured out some way to get along? 

For months and months, I searched the unfathomable depths of my wicked soul trying to find an answer to that question. And then one day it hit me like a thunderbolt from heaven! All of sudden the real problem became clear.

I’m a moron.

It was that simple. All I had to do was learn how to develop the emotional intelligence to deal with people and their strange ways. And so it was that I took up the idea of writing this blog and embarked upon an incredible and rewarding journey of horrifying self-discovery.

After months and months of profound soul-searching, analysing, writing, rewriting and editing, I was shocked to discover that my blog had 3 pages.

It turns out that learning how to forgive people involved a serious amount of work! Maybe in the end it was my laziness that saved me from anger. I really can’t be bothered to hate anyone anymore. Not if it means I have to write another crumby page for this website.

But I’ve definitely made progress. I’ve gone from being “absolutely terrible” to “not particularly special” and I consider that to be an enormous achievement. And I already know I will reach mediocre before too long. Way to go me, the sky’s the limit!

Even my social skills have significantly improved and could now accurately be described as merely “questionable” rather than “hopeless beyond all human comprehension and conceivability”.

So if you’re looking for the world champion of personal development you’ve come to wrong place. Mediocrity is the next level I’m aiming for. If I took part in a “mediocrity competition” right now I’d probably come about half-way in the rankings.

It may seem odd but it can be strangely useful to learn from a hypocrite who still gets it wrong sometimes. And that’s why I am quietly confident that I’m not wasting your time here.

Anger can drive you totally crazy, I should know! But as disturbing as it may seem after all my experiences, I often feel as if I might be going completely sane.

How to Forgive

One thing I’ve learnt is that forgiveness becomes easier when you’re willing to learn how to do it, when you’re willing to enrol in the School of Cool.

I’ve written a series of long, tedious articles that I believe will lead you to that place.

My approach is a bit like learning a sport. When someone says “Stop being angry” or “Just let it go” it’s a bit like saying “Stop being bad at soccer”. Not great advice.

A more useful approach is to break everything down into key areas that you can work on improving, such as passing, tackling, goal scoring and fouling.

And of course it takes practice. If you can spend as much time thinking forgiving thoughts as you do thinking angry thoughts then forgiveness will usually start winning over anger.

We all have gaps in our emotional education: 95% of what I write will be painfully obvious to a toddler. But when you learn to “see the obvious” more often and more clearly then you’re closer to the goal.

So get ready for a painstaking journey through the dark recesses of your lovely brain!

Okay okay, I wanna know more! Hit me baby!

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Latest related thoughts


Forgiveness is something that means many different things to many different people. It can mean letting go, healing pain, changing focus, finding freedom, understanding humanity or embracing harmony or hope in times of great trouble. However you look at this concept, it's something powerful that can be studied, developed, practiced and deepened for the sake of a more peaceful life and a better world.


Human beings can sometimes behave in a way that is slightly sociopathic. But many of us need to go through at least one brutal experience of inhumanity before we can realise the true value that humanity offers the world.

To be on the receiving end of behaviour that is lacking in empathy can help you to sincerely consider, understand and regret those times in your own life when you also acted as if other human beings did not exist, were not as important as you or did not have real feelings.

The most humane and empathic human beings are those who are able to empathise with other people’s inability to empathise with them by seeing that lack of empathy as something that reminds them of their own ignorance in the past. Understanding and allowing people to behave without empathy for you is a test of true empathy, compassion and non-judgment of yourself.

Everything that I have experienced has led me to one very clear, very simple conclusion about life: all that really matters in this world is kindness. This is all I have ultimately learned from the kindness of others, from the unkindness of others and from my own mistakes. It's never too late and can never be wrong to be kind.

Kindness may never be in fashion but it is the true essence of humanity. It can dissolve anger, repair divisions, rise above judgment and make sense of everything that might otherwise seem a little pointless.

My favourite quotations

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

Mahatma Gandhi

"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"

Jesus Christ

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much"

Oscar Wilde

"It's not a crime to be an A-hole"


14 thoughts on “How to Forgive

  1. Just wish to tell you that your blog is very intelligent, insightful and well-written, and I absolutely love it! I have gone through so much professional literature on psychology and neurobiology while making the same journey as you did, and I must say that finding and reading your blog was a sheer pleasure because you somehow manage to bring out the core of it and present it in a manner that makes me think that “I couldn’t have said it better myself”.

  2. I find all your articles to be right on and extremely inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing. I needed some guidance or a reminder and you provided it. You made a difference in my life. Thank you.

  3. Hi there, just wanted to thank you for the posts. I came across some of them and they are really helpful. Thank you a bunch :)

  4. Hi! Your articles are brilliant! Thanks for putting them online, I’m finding them helpful at a difficult time. How did you figure this stuff out?

  5. I would like to express my appreciation for your blog!!! Stumbled upon it doing a search the other day looking to understand why ‘bad things keep happening’ to me…your article was like a light going on in my head…went on to read your other pages about forgiveness and letting go…again, this is exactly what I have been needing to hear. Don’t want to over egg it but for the first time in months I feel I am gaining perspective and feeling hopeful again…can only thank you for the part your writings have played on my journey. You are a wise man who writes from the heart and your words have touched mine. I thank you very much and wish you many blessings…keep up the blog please!

  6. I am like very much this blog, it is make me feel like real man. Now I can wrestle krokodil and drink vodka through nose without make feel many insecure. People are laugh but I think of your quote Jesus and Gandhi and realise is very clever mens. Thank you for advices to forgive, motherland is proud of you.

  7. I’m 59 years old and a writer friend sent me to this website after I said how frustrated I am with convincing people of their stupidity. I’ve been unforgiving ALL my life. Most of my life I thought the place to learn to improve would be in a church. Instead, I generally found a greater density of unforgiving people, or at least people who seemed to specialize in seeking ways to be angry at Outsiders. [Please hear me out.] Then I saw a Non-Christian article that said the indisputably unique thing about Christianity is that it’s the only religion whose book (bible) carries the entire writings of another religion’s book (the Old Testament). Seventy-three percent of the bible isn’t Christianity! THIS CAUSES SPECTACULAR CONFUSION. The Old Testament has references (prophecies) that Another Method will come. The New Testament explains that the old way was never meant to be the Answer, but to demonstrate that human nature’s methods don’t work. It also says this new way seems like foolishness because it works from the inside–in our heart. I now see this new method of Love & Forgiveness is saying the same thing as this blog, but this blog gets to the point very clearly. I don’t intend to “advertise” another source for insight, so I’ll just say the only preacher I’ve found to be as clear is named Tchividjian. If you reject preachers, then stick with ALL the articles in this blog.

  8. I have to say… you’ve got an amazing talent… you write beautifully and set things out so logically and clearly… it was an absolute pleasure to read everything… so articulate, thought provoking and wise too… loved it all! Keep up the great work, you may just save a few of us from needing that lobotomy! 😉

  9. Every item is packed with amazing wisdom and there is so much here to learn. Thank you for all your time and effort to share this with us. I really appreciate it.

More comments from this site

  1. How to Overcome Emotional Dependency
  2. Michael Rama says:

    Thank you for this article. Made me realized what really is the cause of my loneliness, and despair.

  3. Manju says:

    Truly an awesome article. Thank for making me so delightful. Life is all about happiness so why one should waste on these silly and unworthy things? CHEERZzzzzzz

  4. Crystal says:

    How do you do this when its your husband making you feel worthless

  5. Belaserra says:

    This article has me in tears at just how much it hit home and how timely it is that your words of truth and wisdom have come into my life. As someone with deeply entrenched emotional dependency and abandonment issues, recently experiencing an unexpected rejection by my long-time significant other has felt completely unmanageable and the pain intolerable. I've struggled my whole life with dependency, never having had any tools or coping skills to see me out and to a better life - nor even realizing it was possible. Stumbling upon this article has given me the hope to go on and may well have changed the course of my life. Thank you for giving me and so many others the keys to be able to finally experience freedom!

  6. Sophie says:

    I don't normally leave comments on things like this but your article is so accurate and has been an incredibly helpful and useful read, so I just wanted to say, thank you.

  7. Bek says:

    Thank you for sharing this article. I have been suffering major depression and anxiety which is mostly caused by my dependancy on one person and my views on outcomes. I really feel this could be the turning point of making my own happiness. I will be reading this many more times. Much appreciated :)

  8. Robi says:

    Thank you. It was as though this was written just for me. So insightful. I will need to print this and read it over and over and over ... So many beautiful golden nuggets, I will need to take my time to absorb them all. :)

  9. Macy says:

    Thank you for spending the time and effort to write this. I have reach a similar conclusion to my emotional and mental state right now. It was nice to see an article that clearly breaks down the various issues and cycles that the mental state goes through and help warn yet reaffirm on certain traits and characteristic. I am glad I took the time to read.

  10. A marie says:

    I'm so glad I read this,, it helped me so much with all that's been going on with me. I knew that I had become needy, but this really summed me up... a real eye opener..... this just changed my view.....

  11. cc says:

    I have always expected the other person to be there for me emotionally when I'm in a relationship. Why do I keep having these expectations then feeling disappointed when they are not there for me?

  12. R P Evans says:

    Thank you for this beautiful article. It has brought me insight and peace.

  13. Faz says:

    Dear me, reminds me of myself relying on my husband for 12 years of my life. I was a happy, cheerful girl and we shared few wonderful years together. I don't know what got me on to depending so much on to him. But looking back I am ashamed of myself, of the agony and stress I caused him through my emotional dependency on him. I can't thank you enough for such a wonderful article, it has surely changed my perspective on life.

  14. Roofia says:

    Great article, helped me a lot. Thank you!

  15. Daniel says:

    This is an absolutely amazing article. A lot of what I've read here is really painful stuff to read because it taps into some very deep insecurities that I've never had the courage to tell myself, but I feel that recognizing those insecurities for what they are is the way forward for bettering myself in the long term. Experiencing this very pain is actually surprisingly liberating because it provides me some catharsis. I believe that pretty much anybody who comes across this article will discover something invaluable about themselves. Thank you for writing and sharing it, whoever you may be.

  16. Alynne says:

    Very informative!!

  17. sam says:

    This has been so good for me this morning. I have recently walked away from a 10yr relationship since i realised that i had erased most of my identity and uniqueness and replaced it with neediness and dependency. I long to crawl back to my formal safety blanket but i know i must weather the storm. This article means so much to me in this time, that i am not alone in this behaviour. I left to save myself and also her, since it will always end in tears if you rely on someone else for your happiness. Blessings and strength to all on this board x

  18. Jay says:

    This was extremely helpful and has given me so much to work with. I took a long time reading just so I could soak up the full insight. I have struggled with emotional dependency for so long even though I'm very independent in every other way. It can become sort of a shame inducing secret how much I long for certain people to fill parts of me and take up a lot of time and energy. I feel like I finally have some concrete steps to help myself out of it.

  19. Mittie says:

    My husband and I just separated on May 2, 2015. We have been married for 14 years. We were fighting/arguing a lot. I talked to a friend and was asked to write him a thank you letter and I did. From there I started thinking of the things that drive people away from me when I found this blog. Ever since it has opened my eyes a lot. It sure did help my husband and I both when I wrote him a 3 page thank you note. Then I found things on here to boost my self esteem as well. It shocked him cause I too am negative most of the time. We both thought the other person was controlling when in hindsight neither of us knew how to communicate at times without it sounding negative. I hope this helps you in your journey as well.

  20. Raquel says:

    This surely helps me alot as i am struggling now... I just ended a friendship because I'm being too dependent on him and it's not helping me to grow as an individual. I developed anxiety/depression for being emotionally attached. Thank you with a grateful heart because this is what i need at this moment... Your words are what i needed to hear to overcome this.. More power to you and God bless!

  21. janerose says:

    It jus occurred to me that most times i give my all with the expectation that i will have the same or more back,that's being over optimistic.its not important any more,from now on its me myself and I.THIS IS A GOOD Blog i had withdrawn from my social life but now i have a reason to enjoy every bit of it, Thanks

  22. Me says:

    This article is amazing. I woke up with a pang of deep anxiety like I do most mornings since finding myself without my beautiful and loving friend who has offered me so much support over the last 5 months. This morning I reached to my phone and found this article. I'm now feeling calm and more in control of my emotions. I will read it again and make notes. For anyone interested; I am 27 and feeling incredibly lost. I am struggling to know what I want to do with my life after losing and pushing away everything I once had. This includes a great friend and musical partner I've know since college, first ever girlfriend of 3 years and recently this other girl who I got to know when I has very vulnerable and quickly became attached too. She has now distanced herself from me because I became too negative and unproductive and I've been draining her. She now has a new job opportunity and is making radical and positive changes in her life and has relied less on me and more on her longer term friends. I'm also having to address a marijuana (skunk) addiction - a drug I've used to mask my own emptiness and stagnant my unfulfilling life. I've lost my drive, direction, passion, sense of humour and realise I'm more miserable and depressed than ever before. I met this girl when I isolated myself away from my family and felt so lucky to have found her. We had many adventures together and talked lots about the fun we would have in the summer (lots of festivals and some travelling). She was very taken with me, was very supportive and made me feel alive again telling me I was special. We had an intense and amazing time together but I rapidly blew it by not getting on with my own life enough and depending on her to make me happy. She started to realise I wasn't getting the fundamental things together in my life that we both agreed I needed - friends and a job (I quit mine soon before meeting her because it was causing me depression). She became my mentor more and more and I was draining her. I was offering her less and less. It's heart breaking and I've never felt so lonely and disappointed in myself. I became heavily attached to this person and now I don't have her. Wow never again will I rely so much on one person or thing again. Lesson truly learnt and now I now strive to rebuild my life more realistically.

  23. Daan says:

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I just realized this not so long ago, but I am suffering from this persistent problem for quite a few years now and it's really breaking me up lately. It stops me from being the happy, positive and optimistic person I am in my core. I realized it's really unhealthy and I'm so glad I stumbled upon this magnificent article. It is full of hope, encouragement and contains simple yet really effective tips. After the moment I have finished it yesterday i felt different. Since then I felt better, this awful feeling was suddenly not so present anymore. This article has affected me a lot and helps me already. To make it work even more I'm going to print all the separate statements and hang them on my wall in my bedroom. This way I will be reminded of the simple ways that lead to recovery of this problem every single day and I think it will help a lot. Thanx again for writing this article. And to everyone who has read this too and is trying to overcome this problem as well: I wish you all of the happiness and luck in the world. You are not alone. It will get better.

  24. rachel b says:

    Thank you! great article,and very very relevant to my personal situation. its the most helpful piece of writing regarding emotional dependency,an issue I have been struggling with all my adult life so far,ive ever come has given me lots of hope!

  25. Bethany says:

    This is probably one of the best self help articles I have ever read. Thank you. I am going to read it every day and get these messages to stick!

  26. Erica says:

    This article is awesome.! Very informative with lots of great advice.

  27. Francis says:

    Very nice article. Read it for the 3rd time now and it helps each time... I hope someday i'll be able to live with myself and be at peace! Maybe with time, it'll happen. I wish it for everyone in my situation.

  28. Bv says:

    So true... Even I am in the path of changing myself. It looks so difficult but I want to do it for myself. Moral help definitely matters

  29. Rafal says:

    Awesome article how not to be needy ! Thanks

  30. Jules says:

    Thankyou for a well written article. So many useful tips and ideas. You should do presentations for teens and adults - everyone can learn a great deal for your insights.

  31. Jen says:

    Thank you so much this is really handy for someone like me who is struggling over my personal life decisions.

  32. Saumya says:

    Well this was something that has made me complete. I know that being a teenager is like being a person from another planet, thrown here to suffer at this point in time when i have to make my career and focus on living a quality life. This has given me a great insight on how to manage everything. After all, there will be a new day and I sincerely hope a day to turn a new leaf in my life. I always knew i just cannot rely on anyone be it my parents or friends and I know I have to face it all my own. SO A VERY BIG THANKYOU FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN MY LIFE. ALL THIS IS MIRACULOUS AND HELPFUL!

  33. salma says:

    Great article !

  34. Tony says:

    I too have found this blog really helpful & it gives me some useful tips on how to recognise and control my own emotions. I have been struggling with things for years but didn't understand exactly what I was struggling with and why, let alone how to deal with it. I have been receiving support from various Christian sources for my issues and have made great progress. Having started down this path and shared my struggles I have found myself wondering why those I have shared with, including my wife, do not seem to understand my 'need' to talk things through as much and as often as I do. This can leaving me feeling more alone and quite down. Emotional dependency was mentioned to me by a minister a few months ago and having felt left alone while trying to talk things through with my wife last night I had a restless sleep and woke early so decided to explore the topic more. There are definitely several traits here that I recognise and suggestions of things I can do to help myself. I would normally look almost exclusively for help from Christian sources but this blog seems to be a really helpful source for anyone struggling through life with some form of emotional dependency.

  35. Kate says:

    I had already recognised this quality in myself a while back, but this is the most articulate and informative explanation I've seen or heard. I love that its written I'm such a way that is positive and encouraging and allows the reader to acknowledge that many people are doing the same thing and feeling equally as guilty. I think I'll have to read and re-read a few times but I'm hopeful I can get some control back of my life and my emotions.

  36. Kate says:

    I stumbled on this article today whilst trying to find some relief on google rather than making yet another phone call to burden a friend with my emotions. I've been reading this article for hours, writing notes and feeling relieved, but worried about how long I will go before reverting to old thought patterns. I'd be happy to keep in touch and hear how you are going, if you think it could help.

  37. Nema Toulie Deen says:

    Thank you! I feel better already and am going to be coming back to this article over and over again through my self healing journey

  38. Tania says:

    Thanks so much for this article. I have been going through so much in the past few months, and I believe that I have developed a sense of dependency on my male companion which I feel has pushed him away. I am not as bad as I thought. I just need to put things into perspective. I will definitely save this for future use. Thanks again

  39. Brianna says:

    Thank you so much for putting your thoughts, experiences, and advice out here for everyone to see and learn from. Ive ruined a lot of relationships with people by being needy and dependent on them for happiness and it took til now, losing Someone i heavily relied on and loved to leave me to realize that i needed to make a huge change in my life so i can better my future and current relationships with others. Youve been a great help and i appreciate it very much.

  40. Felix says:

    Thank you very much. This article is very helpful.

  41. Lilly says:

    Thank you for posting such a clear message, that we are enough to create our own happiness, in the meaning of self-worth. It is really helpful. I am sure everybody has time to time some doubts about emotional stability and independence, no matter how strong they can seem to be from outside. Thanks again! :-) I have needed it.

  42. ik says:

    I was drowning in self-pity and feelings of rejection and unworthiness because of (what else but) a man. Reading this article, the very realisation that I convinced myself of 'Him or there's no happiness for me ever!', has helped instantly. I am a high achiever, consider myself a person who can see the bigger picture and can put things in perspective, have a beautiful healthy family who love me, and here I am dependent on his 5 minute a week attention! To be clear, he is a lovely man, and this is not intended towards blaming him. But I do find myself resenting him, even stalking him. I am now fine and calm after reading the article, but very VERY embarrassed. The healthy embarrassment though, because I feel armed with help tools-I have copied the article to refer to it when I get overwhelmed by neediness. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for preserving my sanity!

  43. Felicia says:

    I loved this article! This morning I woke anxious again, reading this helps.

  44. Cloud says:

    Wow, this article was fantastic. Really inspiring and helpful.

  45. Amy says:

    Outstanding article! Thank you!

  46. liz says:

    Love this. Excellent advice on how not to obsess.

  47. Malika says:

    Good to get a reminder of that youre not alone with this feelings :) what doesnt kill you makes you stronger!

  48. millie says:

    Thank you so much this is the best content I have come across on the web regarding neediness! It has put me right back on track - THANKS AGAIN :-)

  49. tina says:

    In reply Bryan: Wow. I read your comment and I can totally relate to what you feel. I think you have balls to say something so honest. I think you are right on the money. I am 52 and things have changed for me also. Anyway I hope soon that I can see things the way you have. Life is what it is. I don't know if you'll ever see this from me but I hope so. Thanks Tina

  50. Bryan says:

    Stop watching schmaltzy crap like The Sound of Music with its fairy tale notions. Only young, beautiful people can live that lie. I thank God that I finally managed to do away with my romantic self. Turning 51 and looking more and more like a troll had something to do with it. I used to be SO optimistic. Life is what it is. No expectations now, and I am happier for it.

  51. sonny says:

    I love this article. It's the best article I have ever read.

  52. How to Stop Hating Everyone
  53. Nancy says:

    Wow, you are so smart!! Everything you just said its exactly what I think, but I can never explain it!! Keep up the good work.

  54. Sarah says:

    Just had to comment and say that I love this. This helped me a lot. So thank you for writing and posting.

  55. Daniel says:

    Very nice article. So inspirative. Just what I needed to hear. I intend to keep that plan of those 10 steps to the letter. Thanx a lot.

  56. Riley says:

    Thanks! I get so mad and this helped a lot. You're the best, mate.

  57. Paul says:

    Reading this response made me feel like I'm not the only person that feels this way. Thank you.

  58. How to Overcome Anger By Seeing it as Self-Punishment
  59. Mary Romo says:

    This is exactly what I needed to read. I have been so angry and it wasn't going any where. I see that it is self punishment. I am going to practice this. Thank you for this.

  60. Nat says:

    This changed my life. Thank you. I am so excited to practice it after two years and a half of being so angry. Or as you put it- punishing myself. I feel that the stone in my stomach is dissolving.

  61. Sarah says:

    Very insightful! This is exactly what I've been needing to hear and read to help me through forgiveness so I can move on with my life. I will be re-reading this until I've made all the changes and become truly happy from within! Thank you.....

  62. Robyn says:

    Thanks so much! This came at a time when I needed it most. You've given me hope that I can overcome this beast! xx

  63. Ian says:

    Excellent resource, provided a process that enabled me to deal with an unpleasant situation. Thanks.

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