How To Forgive If You Don’t Want To

Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as revenge, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. -> American Psychological Association. Forgiveness: A Sampling of Research Results.”.

If you’re looking for inner peace, than you’ve probably heard that you should forgive. Forget, let go, move on, and live happily!

But what if I don’t want to? What if I’m not ready to forgive? Many people go through horrible experiences. If they got hurt very deeply, it’s understandable they might not want to forgive their oppressor.

I was recently talking to my good girlfriend, who shared with me her story of the first relationship she was in. It was toxic, destructive, dangerous. We talked about moving on and learning from our relationships and she confined in me that she does not want to forgive him.

A few weeks ago I broke up with my boyfriend and I do not want to forgive him, either. Ever since I’ve been a total mess. I’m struggling with depression and trying to eliminate all the negative thoughts running through my head.
It’s hard for me to find the goodness in him and reason behind why he hurt me. I know in few months I’ll be ready, but for now I’m not. I don’t want to forgive him. At least for now.

So what can you do if you do not want to forgive the other person but you do want to move on and stop feeling all the negativity and guilt?

Here is the way to doing so that I’ve discovered during my journey.

1. Accept how you feel

“Yes, I should forgive him. I should. I should… “ – all the shoulds.

Well, all it does is that it puts additional pressure on you. If you don’t want to forgive that person just accept your feeling. “I don’t want to forgive them”.
It’s the first step. Be honest about how you feel, and don’t judge yourself. You’re already going through tough time, you don’t need to add guilt to it.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Well, let us be weak before we get strong.

2. Be open that with time you will feel ready to forgive

While accepting you don’t want to forgive them now, stay open that with time your feelings might change and you will become ready to do it. I accepted that for now I do not want to forgive him, but I also understand that in few months, when I manage to get out of my depression, I might finally see the whole situation in a different light. Nothing you know is ultimate and nothing lasts forever.

3. Forget

One thing you don’t want to do is torture yourself. You’re probably often replaying harmful events in you mind, remembering the past. And every time you do it, you feel the pain and anger coming back.
Don’t forgive, but forget. Forget about what happened. Start doing things you love, to keep your mind distracted. Stay away from that person. Remove messages, phone number and anything else that reminds you of them.

I believe that when forgiveness is difficult, forgetting is the first step. You want to forget the pain, the guilt, the blame, the suffering. You want to forget that person. And then slowly you will be ready to forgive as well.

4. Reach out for support

You’re going through a difficult time and most likely you can’t do it on your own. You might think you can, and then you fail. Don’t put that stress on yourself. You don’t have to do it all on your own. There are people ready to support and help you. Reach out to your family, your friends or to a therapist. I know it’s difficult to believe that (at least for me it is), but you are not a burden. Ask for help, and you will get it.

5. Give it time

Time is the best healer. Even though when you’re hurting it’s difficult to believe that the pain will fade with time, it will. Time can be our best friend. And so give yourself time to forgive, too. You don’t have to do anything now. Do things when you’re ready for them. It might be in few weeks, months or years. Just trust that time will bring peace and bring you closer to forgiving – whenever you are ready.

I hope these steps will help you deal with hard and painful memories and especially stop blaming yourself for not forgiving.

If you know of any more tips to help in it, please share with me and everybody else. I, for sure, need these tips, as well.

Share your tips, comments and questions:


  • Cynthia

    Reply Reply January 24, 2014

    WONDERFUL post!! It’s a post definitely everyone should read – as we will all go through this. While it’ll range in intensity and time, we’ll all be at a point in time when we know we need to forgive, but don’t know where to start.

    Thank you and look forward to more brilliant and meaningful posts!

    • dodyd

      Reply Reply January 24, 2014

      Thank you, it means a lot to read it.

  • sgrmse.

    Reply Reply February 11, 2014

    very amazing! you write SO WELL. i’m so glad you’ve decided to write this blog, really.

    “Don’t forgive, but forget.” << best advice i've ever heard dished to anyone. <3

  • Light

    Reply Reply August 11, 2015

    I think this is not a very healthy attiude proposed in this article. I agree with the idea of acceptance when we dont feel to forgive, we should always accept to be able to go forward in truth, but there is a difference between accepting and indulging.

    The “shoulds”, i belive often come as an aspiration or guidance from the soul, who always know the right thing. The ego is what justifies us to continue to stay limited. Yes, sometimes a person or situation might be terrible that it almost seems unforgivable, but the advice to forget but not forgive is very very destructive and dangerous, and can even seem comforting because it doesn’t require any effort from us. When we try to forget as it was adviced in the article, what happens in fact is that we just put all that negative energy in the subconscious, where it will grow as an inner blockage, pressure in the chest, lump in the breast… and this feeling that no matter what happens, somehow we cant be happy. It is very unhealthy to pretend things didnt happen. What is much more uplifting and constructive is to truly understand that all experiences can transform us, and our judgement of a situation is what is truly affecting us. As you already wrote, you kind of expect that things will be different later and you might want to forgive. Then why to try to forget or postpone the process when your heart aldready knows how much more liberating it is to be forgiving? Forgiving infact doesnt mean forgetting or pretending the experience was nice, it means a mere acknowledging of what happened as something that we cant change and an attitude of the release of emotional bonds which keeps us hooked to the negative emotions and dissapointments we experienced. Forgetting is an attitude pleasing to the ego, and it is in fact against transformation, against life… So many people prefer to put the head in the sand instead of truly being alive, being open not just for pleasure, but for all experiences as a part of life. We can not have eternal daylight – night and day, bitter and sweet, sadness and happiness are all part of the fascinating polar game of life. This acceptance cant be forced but it can be trained, step by step with growing awareness and orientation towards love.

    Forgivness is an attribute of the strong because it truly takes some guts to step out from the comfort zone and expand our hearts, and yes sometimes we dont feel strong enough, and we need to accept that with a detached attitude. Being unable to do something is not a sign of failure as long as we aspire step by step towards it. In fact to become sucessful at anything we need training, and in all processes of training we have both sides – sucess and failure – which leads to evolution. Many people don’t understand that forgivness is a practise of awareness, and not just something which drops in your heart one lucky day (even if that might happen too)

    Forgetting is an easy way out (and in fact is no way out, just the door to a much worse prison), which we can see so much in society today. People try to “forget” all their hurts by distracting themselves from life in the cyberworld or other meaningless acitivites instead of staying with real life emotions and experiences – even if this means that we need to stay open to both sides – the pleasures and the pains. Avoiding sorrow by forgetting or ignoring certain aspects will also lead to the cutting of the possibility to experience true happiness, and we become like zombies. Not too sad, not happy, not much anything – living dead. An alive person acknowledges all experiences as lifes magical nectar, and makes use of all the juices of life given in this moment, rather than daydreaming about an imaginary happiness somewhere in the distant future. Forgivness doesn’t come by force and can never be forced. But we can train actively to open ourselves more and more to the energy of forgivness. And from experiences I know that even a small step in this direction brings such a fresh breeze to the soul and it feels so right. This first step is usually the most difficult, but it is an essential choice for a life in freedom. All else are just imaginary paradises in the walls of a prison.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field