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Updated: Jan 16




“Forgiving someone doesn’t give them a free pass. It gives you a free pass to move on.” There have been times in all of our lives where we have been hurt, taken advantage of, lied to, whatever. And although you may have physically removed yourself from the person, the anger, resentment, and even hatred linger. It occupies every aspect of your life. You carry it with you from relationship to relationship, from life experience to life experience. This is extremely detrimental to your health.


The funny thing is, you consider yourself a spiritual person—open-minded and loving. But you carry with you this deep hurt that you just can’t seem to shake, can’t seem to let it go. Why? Our primitive nature has evolved solely to protect us from danger, threat, or vulnerability. It doesn’t think; it only reacts. One of the greatest universal dangers is that of being one-upped. Our primitive nature is controlled by what I have called the automatic brain (or AB). Once the AB detects the danger of being one-upped, it will cause us to fight or flee. When you have been wronged, your AB detects danger and has you fighting and fleeing. The fight or flight appears in several ways, for example, anger (fight), withdrawal/depression (flight), self-sabotage (flight, so you don’t get hurt again), relationship sabotage (fight/flight, so you don’t get hurt again).


This fight or flight may have served us well in the wilds of the jungle or prehistoric landscape; this would have served you well, but not today, not now, and not in this shape and form.

It is time you began a shift to following your divine nature, which is there as well, only covered beneath the layers of this primitive AB. The mind is the facilitator of our divine nature. Here are some steps to tap into it to forgive.

  1. Immediately cancel any plans for revenge.

  2. Allow yourself to be happy. This is more of a choice than you think. You can even choose to be happy for no reason at all.

  3. When feeling anger and the need to lash out, excuse yourself from the situation, breathe in for a count of five, hold for a count of two, breath out for a count of five, and repeat, “there is no danger, there is no threat; I am safe.”

  4. At least once a day, close your eyes, “watch” your breath pass in through the nose and out through the mouth, and release the anger. “Watch” and feel the anger lifting off your shoulders and disintegrating in the air. Fully let it go, at least at these moments.

  5. Realize that holding on to being wronged has become a habit and has become familiar. Begin to picture your life without holding on to the anger and hurt. Start creating a new habit of forgiveness.


Understanding why it is that you can’t forgive is the first step. Once you are aware, you can begin the steps it will take to begin the new habit of forgiveness and start living the life that is meant for you.

© Charles F. Glassman, MD

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