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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