How to Forgive: Busting 3 Big Myths About Forgiveness

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Judgment Detox by Gabby BernsteinI’ve talked about the power of the F word since the very beginning of my career as a spiritual teacher, when I was led to become a student and teacher of A Course in Miracles.

The Course is a spiritual text that guides us to undo fear and remember love through forgiveness.

I know how powerful forgiveness is, and I know the freedom it offers because I live it and experience it every day.

And yet, throughout my career I’ve encountered many people who are very resistant to the idea of forgiveness and the promise it offers. In truth, I used to resist it, too! It took me time to truly understand forgiveness.

But once I got it, I knew without a doubt that it was the key to lifelong freedom and happiness.

The practice of forgiveness is so transformational that I am compelled to teach it to everyone who is willing to listen. So in this post I want to bust some myths around forgiveness and share how to forgive.

Bring your shadows to the light through forgiveness

The sixth and final step of my new book, Judgment Detox, is to bring your shadows to the light through forgiveness.

Step 6 is actually the most passive step in the Judgment Detox. It’s also the most powerful.

I talk about forgiveness in this video clip from my Judgment Detox book launch event in NYC:

The promise of forgiveness

Let’s begin by understanding promise of forgiveness by reading a passage from A Course in Miracles.

Lesson 122 of the Course guides readers to meditate on this prayer: Forgiveness offers everything I want.

This lesson reads:

What could you want forgiveness cannot give? Do you want peace? Forgiveness offers it. Do you want happiness, a quiet mind, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth and beauty that transcends the world? Do you want care and safety, and the warmth of sure protection always? Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that never can be hurt, a deep, abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect it can never be upset?

All this forgiveness offers you, and more. It sparkles on your eyes as you awake, and gives you joy with which to meet the day. It soothes your forehead while you sleep, and rests upon your eyelids so you see no dreams of fear and evil, malice and attack. And when you wake again, it offers you another day of happiness and peace. All this forgiveness offers you, and more.

It sparkles on your eyes and soothes your forehead, it offers you day after day of happiness and peace. Sounds pretty amazing, right?

I can testify that it is.

But still, there is resistance. There are myths, obstacles and objections I hear over and over again.

The 3 big myths about forgiveness

A lot of us have this tendency to see forgiveness as being up there in the realm of saints.

We admire people who have forgiven others for terrible crimes, but it can be really hard to imagine ourselves getting to that place. This is especially true for big judgments, but it can be the case with smaller judgments as well.

So let’s talk about these myths and obstacles head on.

Myth #1: Forgiveness is all about the other person

Forgiveness is a constant releasing of resistance | Judgment DetoxIt’s important to remember that forgiveness is a blessing for you. When you’re stuck in judgment of someone, no matter how justified that judgment may feel, you’re also stuck in a low-level vibration. That vibration attracts negativity into your life and limits your capacity for peace and joy. When we refuse to forgive, we are resisting love. We’re resisting feeling good.

When you let go of judgment and forgive, you release yourself of that tension and trauma. You free your energy field to create a new and miraculous life.

I cannot stress this enough. Forgiveness offers YOU freedom from the bondage of judgment and hate. By unloading this emotional burden you feel lighter, happier and more peaceful. You begin vibrating at a higher frequency and attract all you want into your life.

As you reconnect to spirit through prayer in Step 6 of Judgment Detox, compassion will become part of your consciousness. Compassion gives you permission to let go. By letting go of everything from resentment to rage and hate you will feel deep relief. You’ll be able to experience the present moment fully and with gratitude, and you’ll look forward to the future.

Myth #2: Forgiving someone means what they did is okay

Let me be very clear: Forgiveness doesn’t mean you stay silent about injustice. You may find that you are guided to speak up for yourself or others as part of your forgiveness practice. The key is to take spiritually aligned action, showing up from a place of true power and operating with love instead of hate.

Forgiveness also doesn’t mean you have to stick around. You can forgive your partner for being abusive and absolutely get out of a toxic and violent relationship. (If you are in an abusive relationship, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline online or call 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.)

The other person doesn't need correction from you. What needs correction is your mistaken decision to identify with fear instead of love. -Gabby Bernstein | Quote from Judgment DetoxAccepting others where they are and forgiving them doesn’t mean that you let someone walk all over you. It doesn’t have to mean that you endorse what they’re doing. It means you allow them to be where they are and you don’t try to change them.

Sometimes when we accept someone for who they are, all we can do is accept them and move on from our relationship with them. We can say, “I accept you and I honor you, but I can’t be a part of this.”

You can see someone in the light without having them in your life. Ultimately, forgiving others frees us from the burden of judging them. Forgiving doesn’t mean you let someone off the hook for seriously hurting you, and it certainly doesn’t mean you need to have this person in your life. But you don’t have to expend energy on judging them. You can, instead, be free.

Myth #3: Forgiveness is hard

Many people imagine forgiveness to be this really long, arduous process that requires a lot of effort and pious commitment. And don’t get me wrong: Forgiveness is a process. It can take time. It is a practice and something we must turn to often.

But it doesn’t have to be hard. And it doesn’t take superhuman strength.

Tweet: Forgiveness is a gift that can be bestowed upon anyone who truly wants it. @gabbybernstein #judgmentdetox #spiritjunkie

Here’s the really amazing thing about forgiveness: It requires very little. All you need is the desire to be free and the slightest willingness to see that forgiveness can give you that freedom. Forgiveness isn’t something we have to figure out or work to accomplish. Forgiveness is a gift that can be bestowed upon anyone who truly wants it.

You may be holding on to a lot of anger, rage, hurt or resentment toward someone and not know how to forgive them. That’s okay. You don’t need to forgive immediately. You simply need to be willing to forgive and let the Universe show you the way.

Your inner being is longing to align with love, and the moment you ask spirit for help that alignment is set into motion. Just relax and know that your desire to forgive is enough.

Start healing judgment with my Judgment Detox Digital Course

Here’s what the Judgment Detox Digital Course includes:

  • 3 guided EFT videos to help you release judgment and feel immediate relief
  • Videos and audios for 6 guided meditations so you can experience transformation fast
  • Audio recordings of 4 prayers — listen anywhere, anytime and connect to your intuitive guidance
  • Bonus interviews with expert teachers to deepen your practice and inspire you

Click here to start the Judgment Detox Digital Course!

Take the first step toward forgiveness

The Universe will do for you what you cannot do for yourself | How to forgiveAs you practice the Judgment Detox, remember that our willingness to forgive is enough to open the door to forgiveness. When we become willing, spirit hears our call and guides our path. The Course says, “Do nothing, then, and let forgiveness show you what to do.”

The moment we become willing, spirit can step in and reverse the effects of judgment and fear. In Judgment Detox I show you the path to forgiveness and share my exercise for practicing forgiveness, an exercise that eventually will become second nature.

Today I invite you to take the first step toward forgiveness. Reading this blog post means you are ready! You are ready to become willing to feel free, willing to release the victim story and willing to feel happier and safe.

When you become willing to forgive — even if you aren’t sure how to forgive or how long it will take — you allow yourself to start healing.

When you arrive at this point, you’ve chosen happiness over judgment and love over fear. You’re ready to live with more grace and you accept that a life of peace and joy is the only sane choice. From there, spirit will lead the way.

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  1. forgiveness is really a big topic because usually people feel like they are stupid if they forgive others by what they had hurt them. They cannot see the freedom behind forgiveness. I think it is important to let them know, forgiving other is when the power back into our hand that we no longer control from how other treated us and what others had done to us. We free ourselves and can start new life. Mostly, we tend to pay attention to how others should behave rather than reflect on ourselves. Once we can reflecting more on how we can go further on our own journey, we would be happier because we can totally control what we want to do for our life. The only thing we can never do is to decide how others should follow what we think they should. We can never change other but by living what we believe can help others to become the become the best version of themselves while we are on our journey.

  2. Dear Gabby,
    I’m going to visit my sister tomorrow and I want to take everything that I have learned from you with me. She is in an abusive relationship with her husband, but they own a business together that she desperately wants to succeed. I’m really trying to work through all the forgiveness, healthy boundaries, and how they can move forward. I think that this situation needs a miracle, but I believe in her ability to have a successful business beyond her wildest dreams. Any thoughts/advice/ good thoughts are welcome. Thank you so much.

  3. Dear Gabby, This blog truly resonates with me. I had a traumatic childhood where my stepdad dropped me off for years to be “babysat” by his parents. His mom baked and his father was a pedophile who locked me in his bedroom with a key. I used to beg and beg my stepdad to take me with him to work and not drop me off. It was traumatic. I never told him the truth about his father as I believed in the “greater good” to keep our family together. Years later my mom left him. Again, his family treated me very poorly, as if I was “nothing”. I was 19 and decided I had to leave my home country for good. There was no other choice. I returned “home” for 27 years to keep our family – my half sister, half brother and I together. Again, for the “greater good”. Six years ago, in 2013, my sister started a fight. I had been the “family peacekeeper” since 1977 but I got the blame. My stepdad cut me out so there would be no fight. He died last year without knowing my truth and how I had suffered for “the greater good”. My brother emailed me that he thought his father had “done right” in cutting me out. I cut my ties with both my sister and brother as I can no longer be treated extremely bad for the old “greater good”. My greater good has changed to myself and the family I have created. I believe in peace, love, fairness and equality. Step 1) I forgive them for choosing greed over our family. Step 2) I accept and honor them BUT I can no longer be part of it. Step 3) I set them free so I can be free and focus on myself and my own family whom I share unconditional love with. Step 4) I choose happiness over judgment and love over fear. Cheers to Love and Happiness. Sat. Nam.
    Xoxo, Susanna
    PS – I am flying in to see you live August 11th, 2019.

    1. Susanna, I honor all that you have been through. Thank you for sharing your story and shift with me. So grateful you will be attending the Super Attractor workshop on August 11th. xoxo

  4. I have an old friend from 12 years ago who hurt me very deeply. I rarely saw this person over this period but when I did my stomach would drop and the feelings of hurt would return. I have tried forgiveness practices in the past but Bever really broker through the barriers. I have bumped into her now twice within 3 weeks in different places and we both ignored each other. I am wondering if this is a sign from the universe that need to forgive and is not just a coincidence?



    1. Hi Amy. It sounds like the Universe is presenting you with different opportunities to forgive both this person and yourself. If you’re feeling unclear about how to move forward, try sitting in meditation and then journaling afterwards. This practice will help you connect to your inner wisdom, your energy, and receive clear messages.

  5. Thank you for sharing this Gabby. I have chosen forgiveness but somehow my feelings have turned to guilt, guilt because I chose to separate from a friendship that had codependent and toxic tendencies. I see the innocence in my old friend, however deep within I do not think the relationship could be a healthy one. How do I move forward with forgiveness but without guilt?

    1. Hi Melanie. The feeling of guilt is a judgment that we place upon ourselves. Working on releasing that self judgment will help you heal. Have you read my book “Judgment Detox”? I outline tools for letting go of judgment, both for others and for yourself. <3

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