Can we forgive and forget?

Can we forgive and forget?
© By Marion Brownlie Author of Facing Demons

The Aramaic word for “forgive” means literally to “untie.”

Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which the perceived victim, yourself, undergoes a change in feelings and attitude. You can’t forgive if you choose to hold feelings of revenge, resentment, anger, jealousy, neediness, fear, judgment or blame. Forgiveness is about letting go of your negative emotions around any particular event or happening.
Just deciding to forgive someone does not necessarily mean that it happens within you. It has to happen in the heart as well as the head. Unless you go within and heal the emotion and change your thought process around the upsetting event then it will not move on. Many think that if they say “I forgive” that forgiving has happened. Unless deeper issues are dealt with and healed then the emotions will become suppressed to the extent they are no longer quite so conscious and become forced into your cellular memory. It takes a lot of energy to keep them suppressed there. It is through the action of suppressing these stresses that ‘dis-ease’ is often created.
When you find it very difficult to forgive someone their actions then it also means that you are judging them. You are judging them from your own perspective or map of the world. We can never truly know another’s path or what has lead them to behave in a certain way. We can never expect to ‘like’ everyone just as we do not like and condone certain actions or behaviours or others. We can however change how we view them. After all the only person you can change is yourself. Stand back and allow the other person to be who they are just as you allow yourself to be who you are. There is a very positive saying that helps tremendously with this “there but for the grace of God go I”.
Just using a simple saying like this can transform the old energy you have been projecting. This then allows you to move on to greater self-healing and forgiveness.
It is never about any other person, it is all about yourself. First and foremost we must honour ourselves. Holding resentments and negative emotion is not honouring the self, it is a grand way to destroy yourself. We cannot judge another’s path or their reason for being. The only person we are truly answerable for our self.
I will share a bit of a personal story here about the lesson of forgiving.
At the time I was feeling very sorry for myself and struggling to forgive everyone who had contributed to the following situation. I had learnt to meditate a few years earlier with great results so thought it prudent that I begin this practice again and start to deal honestly with myself about how I was handling the this ‘new life’ of mine. The bottom line was that I wasn’t and that became more obvious as I dealt into my thoughts feelings and emotions around my separation, lack of child support and family contact and so on.

Excerpt: Marion Brownlie | Facing Demons

My ankle, which had been fractured, reacted to the stress I suffered at this time and chronic arthritis set in. I had to be very careful how I got up in the morning as I could easily buckle and collapse with the pain. Once again I was off to see a doctor. He recommended a CAT scan to see what was going on. The results
confirmed what I had always known, my foot had not been set back in the correct position. They also showed a bone that had never been put back in the right place when it was broken. The doctor said it must have just floated around until it had settled where it was. The scan also showed very advanced deterioration through arthritis. Strong anti-inflammatory drugs were prescribed and they would stiffen the joint so that it would be unmovable. This would need to be done in about a year’s time as they thought that by then the pain would be unbearable and drugs would not be able to control it. It was shattering news to me.
I hated the idea of taking any medical pill, especially anti-inflammatory pills because they have an extremely destructive effect on the digestive system and liver. I had a sneaking suspicion that what was happening with my ankle was similar to what had happened with my wrists when they had become inflamed. It was my body manifesting my thought processes and emotions. It was letting me know that something was not right.
I bought myself a plaque to hang on the wall to use as a daily
reminder to myself that I wasn’t alone.

Lord help me to remember
that nothing is going to
happen to me today that
You and I together can’t handle

I tipped the pills down the toilet and prayed to God for healing. I also took a realistic look at how I was managing my personal problems. I had usually turned to my mother to discuss my problems with. However, now I was no longer able to do this as I could not afford the telephone bill. I came to the conclusion that I had put myself in this situation and it was time for me to rely on my own judgment. For the first time in my life I took total responsibility for
what I was doing and thinking. My ankle began to improve remarkably.
Within a few months I could walk on it with minimal pain.
End of excerpt.

The long and short of it was that the arthritis disappeared and the ankle became pain free. Just few weeks ago, even though I am not a runner 23years after the above event, I came third in the Alstonville 5km fun run, for my age group, on that leg that has an ankle that for all medical reports I shouldn’t have been. The only time I feel pain in the ankle now is if I let emotional issues get the better of me.
To forgive you need to untie the bindings and loosen yourself from the other person’s problems. Your hatred has tied you to the person, you think is responsible for your pain. They have not caused your pain, you have chosen to feel it. Your forgiveness enables you to start walking away from him or her and the pain. Forgiveness is yourself and not the other party. Freeing yourself through forgiveness is like freeing yourself from chains of bondage or from prison. Why allow yourself to be destroyed by someone else’s shortcomings.. There is no personal coast to you by being forgiving. As time passes, when you forgive, the other person will recede in your memory. However you can’t force yourself to forget. Trying to force yourself to forget just causes suppression of these feelings, it is like trying to force an issue. Forgiving allows for a gentle forgetting even of the most traumatic events.

Most importantly-
Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behaviour. Forgiveness prevents their behaviour from destroying your heart.



  1. J Hansell

    Wow I’m super impressed. I’ve been so confused about forgiveness for so many years, held grudges, told and retold all my victim stories of injustice, feeling like these awful people owe me greatly… You’ve introduced deep insights to me, gave me new tools to let go of all of that – it’s time for the healing to begin.
    Heh, I stumbled on this webpage by accident, now I’m on a new path… and I think I want to read your book!

    1. Marion (Post author)

      I am so pleased you found the article worthwhile. Forgiveness is so very important to our health and well being. Do read Facing Demons as I feel you would really enjoy the read. It is available as an Ebook or paperback across the internet. Would love to hear how you enjoy it.

  2. Debra

    Forgiveness is a passion of mine. My early life was not easy but it wasn’t until my children were hurt that I found that I was letting bitterness and anger eat me up. It was then that I heard something that made me think and became a mantra of sorts for me to get me through all the pain. “Forgiveness is not an emotion, it is an act of your will, it is not something you feel, but something you do” When the thoughts of anger would surface, I would repeat over and over again, As an act of my will I forgive him, as an act of my will I forgive him… what I did not understand at the time was that I was refocusing my thoughts which then refocused my emotions.
    I only knew that I could not become shackled to that kind of pain and anger, I knew from experience what that kind of bitterness would do to not only me, but to every one I loved around me. My mother was the kind of person who actually took pride and would brag about never forgiving anyone for wrong doing, real or imagined. I saw the way that it ate at her and effected every relationship she had. He relationship with me, with her grandchildren, with her friends and other family members, I saw the way that effected her health and her mental and emotional state of being, and I knew, no matter what it was that had happened, that was not how I wanted to live my life, that is not the way I wanted my children to live their lives. I taught them forgiveness, first by walking the walk. and then by discussing it with them as they had questions. I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know when it happened but at some point forgiveness became second nature with me, but more importantly there is a great deal less that I feel I need to forgive.
    At some point I stopped thinking that people needed to be or do what I wanted or expected them to be or do and just allowed them to be who they were and do what they wanted. I determine what I can and cannot, will and will not subject myself to, I take responsibility for my own happiness and well being. and allow others the same. I learned to love with out condition and came to understand that loving someone does not mean keeping them in my life. Life is just so much easier now and the peace and joy and contentment that I have now is more than worth giving up feeling like I have to be right and in control

    1. Marion (Post author)

      Thank you so very much for taking the time to share your experience Debra. There is nothing like ‘hard times’ to teach us our greatest lessons. You have gained much wisdom on your journey. Namaste

  3. James J Sheehan

    As always Marion you capture the essence of a problems with such simplicity and grace. The thing most people don’t realise is that it can be that easy if they just focus on the fact that they are never alone from the spiritual point of view. But we must also realise that we have far more control over our wellbeing than we think we have. Anyone who reads your brilliant book will realise how taking responsibility for your own life can be so very rewarding. Forgiveness is always a very good starting point, but we must start by forgiving OURSELVES FIRST.
    As always Marion your healing light shines so brightly that it illuminates my life here in Ireland.
    Shine On Sweet Angle

    1. Marion (Post author)

      Sometimes thank you seems like such an insignificant word especially when I would like to say it a thousand times over. Thank you James may your light shine ever brighter the world needs many Souls like you. Namaste

  4. James J Sheehan

    No thanks necessary Marion, it may be a very small insignificant little word, BUT ‘THANKS’ like a bright light can change the entire world. I know exactly what you mean about wanting to amplify the word thanks, words very often cant express what our souls want to express. Different languages have different more ‘poetic’ and accurate words to express our feelings.
    In the Irish language ‘Gaelic’ there are a number of ways of saying “thank you” one being “go raibh maith agat” meaning “may the good be with you” we also use “tá failte romhat” “you are welcome” Some people will recognise that statement from “cead mile failte” “a hundred thousand welcomes”
    When we meet some one we greet them with “Dia Duit ” translated to “God to you /God be with you” OR “conas ata tu” “how are you” The reply’s to these are even more interesting “God and (St) Patrick be with you” OR “God and Mary be with you” “I am good thanks be to God. We have no actual word for “hallo”
    Anyway I ramble and this is about the Australian light and not about the land of the thousand welcomes.
    bí ag soilsigh Marion

  5. Marion (Post author)

    Truly beautiful words James. I had to cheat and look up the translation for you r blessing. It made my heart sing. May Source shine bright within you. Namaste and thank you for sharing.

  6. Jackie

    Hi Debra, It is so good to hear your life experience of coming to know about forgiveness & un forgiveness. After witnessing first hand, it seems that you were able to make sense & order in & out of your own life which allowed allowed you to chose a healthier path of life. To add to that you virtually affected your next generation who will undoubtingly also touch the lives of many others as well. I salute you!

  7. Tiyana Maksimovich-Binno

    Forgiving implies there is something wrong to forgive – which I find arrougant, since we are never aware of the entire scheme of things, within ourselves nor in other people and situations. Therefore I work on healing myself from victimhood, by healing the deepest roots of my hurt feelings (reading their energy blueprint sometimes gets me to past life unhealed roots too), and when I achieve that there is nothing to forgive any more.

    I never want to forget anything, whether it is healed or not yet, because by reading my own and my patients’ energy blueprint, I find that all ‘forgotten’ experiences are actually but suppressed into the subconscious, which rules the body, and gets burdened by such info, which induces all kind of physiological, physical, emotional and mental problems and conditions.

    In Serbian tradition and language there is a stunningly beautiful link between forgiving and parting (peacefully, amicably): Serbian for forgiving is ‘oprostiti’ and Srbian for parting (with each other, so it is a mutual action i.e. reflective verb) is ‘oprostiti se’ (´se’ being added to all reflective, i.e mutually effective verbs). So Serbs understood that they should never part with each other without forgiving each other. What I love about it is that IT IS MUTUAL FORGIVENESS AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE, IRRESPECTIVE of who did what and who felt how. Simple and most effective – if and when people actually practice TRANSCENDING ALL NEGATIVE JUDGEMENT BEFORE PARTING WITH EACH OTHER. So it is similar to Aramaic. Thanks, Marion, for posting this! Bless you!

    1. Marion (Post author)

      Thanks for your post Tiyana. You are right we may never know the entirety of what is behind anything or what has generated it. I do no perceive forgiving as arrogance as the only person it affects directly is yourself. It may well have beneficial effects in other interrelated areas that are unseen to many. areas. Forgiving is a way of healing your own stuff. Namaste

  8. Tiyana

    Marion, I referred to implied judgement as arrogant.

    1. Marion (Post author)

      In what way do you mean the implied judgment is arrogant Tiyana?


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