|  Blog Post   |  The Hard Work (and Art) of Forgiveness

The Hard Work (and Art) of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a common theme in my office. Forgiveness of ourselves.

And, forgiveness of our loved ones.

Much like the art of letting go, forgiveness can be one of life’s trickiest bitches.

We must learn to forgive

I believe the people hurting the most on this earth are the ones who are holding onto things that simply cannot be changed; past hurts, betrayals and disappointments. Especially the ones committed by our loved ones against us. The ones we really don’t have control over.

When we hold onto these past hurts they very easily eat us from the inside out and don’t move us to being who we are truly meant to be.

When we hold onto these past hurts we live our lives from fear and not love.

When we hold onto these past hurts we are the only ones holding ourselves back from moving forward.

The art of forgiveness

As Desmond Tutu writes, “Forgiveness opens the door to peace between people and opens the space for peace within each person. The victim cannot have peace without forgiving…”

As Matthew B. James writes, “Flow love to the other person. Release the hurt, retain the learning.”

The hard work of forgiveness

And, as I wrote to one of my friends in a text message,

“You work on forgiving her for yourself, for your own well being and sanity. Not because she deserves it or because she will change.

And, you work on loving the parts of her that you do appreciate and continually work on accepting her limitations (practicing loving compassion).

It’s sucks, it’s hard and feels impossible.

But, that’s what I’m continuously working on with the forgiveness of my past hurts.

For myself.

And you attempt to move forward with an open heart but with a nice privacy fence of boundaries not a brick wall. Because that isn’t who we are or who we want to be.

Move forward with a protected heart with boundaries and not a guarded heart with brick walls. It may look the same from the outside but your intentions on the inside are very different.”


We forgive to find peace.

We forgive to live from a place of love and not fear.

We forgive for ourselves.

We forgive now because there may never be anything that can be done to make up for the hurt. And, it definitely cannot be taken back or erased. But, holding onto it and withholding forgiveness only keeps us stuck in the hurt, reliving it every single day.

As with just about everything I work with my clients on, write about and practice myself, it is much easier said than done.

Simple but not easy.

I am figuring out this life is more of an art.

An art of faith. An art of practice. An art of forgiveness. An art of hard work. An art of letting go. An art of love. An art of acceptance. An art of redefining. An art of courage.

An art of ever upward.


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If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine


Justine is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 25 years of experience in traditional mental health and personal and professional development. Justine has been certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown for ten years. Justine is the author of eleven books, including five Amazon bestsellers covering subjects such as infertility, faith, and grief. She has been honored to do two TEDx Talks, The Permission of the And and The Donut Effect. She travels nationally and presents virtually to global audiences delivering keynotes, workshops, retreats, and trainings on topics such as leadership, courage, resilience, mental health, preventing and coping with burnout, and courageous and curious conversation, especially in creating cultures of belonging and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justine lives in St. Louis with her husband Chad, their three dogs, and for four months of the year hundreds of monarch and swallowtail butterflies.

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