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

  6. Thanks Gabby for this blog, it’s exactly what I need right now. I want to forgive my ex for the pain that he has caused but he continues to be hurtful. We have a child so I have no option but to be in contact with him. He is filled with anger and usually says hurtful things. He says things to our child that are not things that he should hear or have to deal with as a teenager. How do you forgive someone when you can’t just walk away? We have to communicate because we are co -parenting our child. Although we aren’t together anymore i feel like I am stuck in this toxic relatioship. I am trying to release judgement but I don’t feel like I’m doing a very good job at it!

  7. “I accept you and I honour you, but I can’t be a part of this.”

    This is perfect.
    Thankyou Gabby

  8. Here’s a quote I read today that reminded me of you, Gabby:
    “Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.” ~Sri Chinmoy

  9. Thank you mam. I am literally struggling with forgiveness right now. Those people who have caused me so much pain do not deserve to be a part of my life anymore, I am longing to find a way to let go and release my pain. It is great to read that my willingness to forgive will light the way.

  10. Sending you love. I have read both your books, watched most of the videos of you and I want more and more!!!

    Could you advise me pls where is the best and simplier way to study course of miracles? I tried the official website but I finding it a little too hard. Maybe you could suggest a summary to start with?

  11. You’re doing amazing work Gabby! May the spirit continue to guide you and use you. Pure power! Thank you and God bless.

  12. Hi Gabby – Over the past few weeks, after my daily Sat Nam meditation +free-writing, I’ve experienced a few profoundly healing moments of SELF-forgiveness (saved myself for last, ha). As happened today, I’m filled with this IMMENSE sense of gratitude and oneness with Love, which brings me to tears that feel very different than any tears I’ve cried before. I feel like I’m realizing–beyond just the thought of it–that this Love has been there for me all along. I didn’t need God to forgive me, I only needed to be willing to forgive myself. Anyway, since I was a little girl, I’ve felt like I’m here to do healing work, though only recently (at 42) have I begun to truly believe that I deserve the assignment. I’ve been willing to survive for a purpose. And you’ve been a big part of that…I hope it doesn’t sound weird…but I really do consider you my teacher. In fact, today as I was crying happy tears, I thought – “I have to share this with Gabby!” xo

    1. Scarlett this is so amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this miracle. This is why I do this work. Thank you for doing the work too, for being part of this movement of LOVE. xoxoxo

  13. I really enjoyed this meditation! 🙂 Thank you!!! Is there a place you can download this meditation?

    Thank you!!! xoxoxo

  14. Thank you Gabby, for your wise insights and guidance. I am also an advocate of forgiveness, particularly focussing on what can get in our way, when we know we need to forgive, but are having trouble.

    I’ve written a book, Forgiveness Made Easy that includes uncovering our fears around vulnerability and the part the ego plays in holding on to our grievances.

    I truly believe that forgiveness is the deepest spiritual practice there is. Thank you!!

  15. Dear Gabby,

    I am loving the new journey that I am on with you and many others. For the longest time, I only believed it revenge and resentment to support my judgments of others. Now is diffewrent, I am not will to jump out of myself to forgive “Them.” That is a form of blaming them. They are a reflection of me; it is what I attract to me show me my mirror. They are my reflections.

    When we look at life it does not look back, it refelcts us. I am willing to accept my Self-forgiveness, and make personal changes of what I am putting out. Because as long as I am forgiving them, I am not taking responsiblity for what I have caused.

    Now I can cause something new ans better than what I have now. I can begin by manifesting as supportive changes that do not show my confusion as blame or separated judgments of others.

    I have been experiencing a sence of peace that replaced the anxiety symptoms of misplacing blame. Blaming and labeling supports the separations of judging. Now I can tell the judgments ‘thank you for visiting me,’ and ask them ‘what have you come to teach me?’

    Then problem with judging is thinking we are always right, but what is truer is that we always becoming separated by choosing the actions that keep others away from us. When we own judging as our actions, it is all ours, so now we can change it. Blaming takes our ownship away from us and then we cannot change anything; in fact it gets worst before it gets better. I like owning my actons and being responsible because it restores my power of ownership to create new actions and accept positive changes in place of resentments.

    I am glad to know you Gabby, you speak the truth. Please continue your message as my positive reflection.

    Love and Blessings,
    Bob Delgado

  16. Thank you for this message today; perfect timing. I needed it more than you could know. I will be including this meditation into my quite time tonight.

  17. I think I am finally ready for this 6th step. Thank you for the clear clarifications regarding the myths of what most of us think it means to forgive. I so appreciate your work Gabby! You are a true blessing to this World . ❤️

  18. I want to let you know that recently you and been apart of my journey. I started almost 2 years ago. I know one day I want/will tell my story. I already trust in my journey enough to know that I have found you at the right time. I just want you to know that you are touching and helping people to change everyday.

  19. You always show up in my mailbox at just the right time with exactly what I need. Thank You Gabby and Universe
    I have just started reading and working through A Course in Miracles.
    I was inspired to do this after Universe has your Back
    Thank you!

  20. I Finished the judgment detox and will start it again in the next few days !!! This is such a POWERFUL BOOK !!! I am in awe of all my awareness of all my judgments and especially how much i judge Chali , Colin and Corbin . What a super uncomfortable awareness but I’m not going to stop the awareness and continue to practice, meditate, do the walk to honor them more authentically as their incredibly, grateful, loving Mother !!!
    So grateful for you Gabby , your spirit and huge LIGHT
    I love you

    1. I am SO happy Judgment Detox is resonating with you! Keep up the practice. It will become second nature. xoxo

      1. i will definitely keep practicing! Thank you so much !

        Not sure where to message so I’ll try here too
        I want to start a judgment detox book club/ workshop and would like some guidance if any from you or your team

        1. If you want to start an informal book club I strongly encourage it! You can reach out to friends or spiritual running buddies and meet up in person or online (like in Google Hangouts) to read the book together and discuss your experiences and miracle moments. I also recommend checking out my new digital course, The Secret to Living a Better Life. It is based on Judgment Detox but takes the practice to a whole new level! Plus there is a private Facebook group so you can share your experiences with other Spirit Junkies.

  21. I have been repeating I am willing to forgive for the last 3 days or so. Although I still felt angry and hurt, I knew forgiveness and letting it go was the only way to resolve the conflict. I checked your blog and sure enough! Not a surprise. Everything you wrote was exactly what I knew to be “the way” to resolve this. The thing I notice is forgiveness tends to be gradual. Every day you say you are willing, the anger/hurt begins to lift. Then one day… you realize you have truly let it go. Like you write, It doesn’t mean that what the person did was OK or you return to the relationship. In my case, it could mean I accept and keep a compassionate distance.
    Great post.

    1. Wonderful insight. The simple willingness to forgive creates the opportunity for the blessing of forgiveness to be bestowed on us.

  22. Sat Nam,
    I read this and also the blog about accepting people where ther are.
    How could I handle beeing in so different pages with my business partner. I can accept her where she and invite the forgiveness energy, but this would means our business is stuck and loosing money, and right now with have big responsabilities to take care. Just being patient and trustful? We just have to very different styles and ways to manage business and decisions. How to know when is time to maybe preserve the friendship and end the society as a business.

    Thank you so much.

  23. Great post. I always admire your tone of voice. Such a pleasant combination of love, encouragement, honesty – about yourself – Course/Gabby wisdom and tips n tricks. Thank you for putting in this effort every time. Love from Amsterdam, Paula

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