How I Can Forgive Others and Practice Gratitude In My Life


My spiritual path began over 35 years ago when I first got clean and forgiveness is the road to freedom. Pain, resentment, shame, and anger can hold us for our entire lives if we never take the time to dive in and find compassion for ourselves and those who have hurt us. 

The tricky thing about resentment is that it isn’t about the other person at all. In fact, the person you resent may not even know you resent them! But because you hold onto the stories from the past about people who have done you wrong, you keep an energetic tie to them. 

Healing your past hurts begins when you look at your life with radical honesty. You have to take inventory of all of the places where you feel you were hurt, victimized, or taken advantage of and be willing to see your own part in them. 


Once you get this clarity, the true healing work can begin. You’ll realize that the reason you should forgive others is so YOU can be free. Until you can take full responsibility for your role in things, forgive yourself for your part, and see that by holding onto resentment, you’re only hurting yourself – you cannot be free. 

You become free when you reach a point where you can feel genuine gratitude for the things that happened in the past (yes, even the most painful ones) because of the way they allowed you to grow into the person you are and deepen your compassion for yourself and others.


My journey to forgiveness 

The first thing I was taught in my recovery was that I couldn’t hold onto resentments about other people if I wanted to be free and fully recover. 

Of course, at the time, I had a laundry list of people who had done me wrong. And I was confused at first when they told me I couldn’t get well until I faced those hurts and chose to forgive. I had to not only forgive others, I had to learn how to forgive myself. 

I learned to take accountability for my part in things, and I learned the very important distinction that taking accountability didn’t mean it was my fault. And that by choosing to forgive, it didn’t mean I was condoning what happened. 

The truth was, I just didn’t want to carry the burden of my resentments anymore. I was ready to let go and do the work to heal myself. 

That’s the beauty of forgiveness. It’s the gateway to true independence and freedom. We’re no longer bound by the story that we define ourselves by. The story that has prevented us from moving forward. 

The vision of who you get to become once you’ve let go of the resentment can act like a guiding light through the often messy work of forgiveness. 

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