How to Forgive Someone Even When It Feels Practically Impossible

When we begin to explore the world of forgiveness, we discover how many aspects of life it can influence with its healing power. Forgiveness is a whole lot more than placing a band-aid on an old wound. It can be much bigger than a helpful conflict resolution strategy.

Seen on a grander scale, forgiveness—in its expanded form—actually brings us into direct connection with Spirit. It opens in us an immense feeling of relief and gratitude as we let go of suffering and choose communion with divine love instead.

Areas in Life Where You Can Benefit from Forgiveness

To find out how to forgive someone,  you need to explore the state of your inner life. Where do you feel stuck, confused or without peace? Whatever comes to mind illustrates an area in your life where you feel pain. These are the places that ask for a deep opening in your heart and mind.

For example, perhaps you felt cheated by a business partner, or maybe you cheated someone out of his or her rightful profit or paycheck. Maybe you remember violence in your childhood home when you were growing up, or maybe you have been the perpetrator of some violence (small or large) in your current home.

Perhaps you struggle with an addiction (obvious or subtle) that drains your energy and your self-esteem. Or maybe you’ve had recurring health problems that have an emotional root and you just can’t figure out how to heal them. There are plenty of health benefits of forgiveness.

The following list of conflicts is a partial one. What can you add?

  1. a challenging break-up or divorce
  2. anger, guilt or confusion over family issues, such as relationships with your parents, children, and siblings
  3. painful, unfinished business with a close friend
  4. conflicts with business associates, your boss, and co-workers
  5. mysterious, recurring health issues
  6. the need to forgive yourself and let go of guilt and shame
  7. a past or current experience with any kind of addiction or abuse

 See Yourself on Both Sides of Conflict

Forgiveness arises as a possibility because at some point, either currently or in the past, you experienced an unresolved conflict. Conflicts always involve at least two parties who are in disagreement. They may be two or more people, but could also be two or more conflicting ideas in your head. Both parties may feel victimized by the other, or it may be obvious to both who is the victim and who is the perpetrator.

To use forgiveness as a healing tool in the most enlightening way, you’ll need to realize that even though you may feel like a victim in some cases, you’ve also at sometime in the past been the perpetrator of the same kind of offense.

Perhaps you feel justified because you feel what happened to you was worse than what you ever did to someone else. But here’s an important key: the size of the offense does not matter in your forgiveness process. It does matter in its impact on a human level, but not on a spiritual level.

Once you see that the energy of betrayal, violence, guilt or shame runs in the same way through everyone with an ego, you’ll understand that the best thing to do is simply to release it through forgiveness—no matter what happened, who was involved, or how long ago it occurred.

My function is forgiveness as the light of the world. ~ A Course in Miracles (Tweet this)

Here are some simple steps that you can take when you’re ready to forgive. Being ready is a huge first step. You will know you are ready, when you want freedom from the issue (and all its repercussions) more than you want to hold on to your pain. You will need:  honesty, openness, willingness, and trust in a loving Higher Power

1. First, come into a prayerful space. Say a prayer or intention admitting that you need help from Spirit and are humbly and gratefully ready to receive it.

2. Next, be completely honest with what is bothering you, and feel your feelings and thoughts deeply.

3. Once you have explored the issue and have seen as many levels of it as you can, release it with your exhale breath as an offering of your burdens to Spirit. Let all of the suffering out of your body, emotions and mind. This is the most profound, sincere prayer I know. Trust in the loving compassion of Spirit to help you, no matter what your religion or non-religion may be.

4. Once you feel complete with releasing, pause and reflect. Do you feel different now? Are you calmer and more at peace? Is there anything else coming up to offer into the loving arms of the One? Release and let go some more if needed.

5. Next, receive light and love with your inhale breath, drinking in guidance and inner wisdom. Your true nature is Love, and that’s true for everyone involved. Can you go deep enough within to feel this?

6. Ask yourself: What have you learned as a soul from the relationship you have with the people involved? What have you gained? How did you need this incident to grow and learn (even if it was horribly traumatic)?

7. If you can, send blessings to everyone involved, including yourself. See if you can feel grateful for the help of Spirit and for everything you’ve learned in the process. End with gratitude for life itself.

8. By deeply letting go, you changed your energy, so trust it. Observe any changes within, and don’t talk about it for a while with anyone. Let your forgiveness process settle, and see if you receive more inner guidance (which will always be loving and kind) about the situation. Once you’ve integrated it fully, you will see the perfection in the situation on a spiritual level. This is the radical part of the forgiveness process: there is really nothing to forgive!

Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh (Tweet this)


Learn how to forgive because forgiveness is a spiritual practice that strengthens you and gives you peace. You will be safe within the grace that comes when you let go of grievances. This does not mean, however, that you need to continue with toxic relationships. You can say NO to people who are not kind or supportive.

Forgiveness will set you free of karmic bonds, not only with the people involved in this relationship, but also with energetic patterns that seemed to ensnare you. Nothing can hold you back from peace. You are an eternal being, created in divine love.

Follow our FORGIVENESS series here . . .

1.  Forgiveness – Your Path to Inner Freedom
2.  4 Common Blocks to Forgiving Someone
3. 13 Health Benefits of Forgiveness
4. How to Forgive Someone Even When It Feels Practically Impossible (this article)
5. Are You Waiting for an Apology Before You Forgive?
6. Are you Ready to Forgive?

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About the Author

Ana Holub, MA is a forgiveness counselor and peace educator based in Mount Shasta, CA. Her latest book is called Forgive and Be Free: A Step-by-Step Guide to Release, Healing and Higher Consciousness. For more information visit

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