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Is it Possible to Forgive When Something Really Bad Happened?

Wolfgang A. Haas

releasing a butterfly from hands

“Forgiveness is like a feather.

it brings lightness and gentleness.”

- unknown -

This article gives an introduction and reflections on forgiveness and shares two very effective tools to deal with difficult situations.

First, we should maybe be clear what we mean if we talk about forgiveness. Certainly, many of us have a different understanding of this. Forgiveness is important in Christian faith. I am not talking about this aspect in this article. I am talking about forgiveness as a very important step to free oneself from the burden of hate and fear and pain. BTW: I heard some teachers who refer to Jesus Christ say that the real forgiveness is to realize there is nothing to forgive – contemplate on this!

Most people carry within them experiences in which they have been hurt so badly by others that it seems infinitely difficult to forgive. However, forgiveness never means to approve of what has happened, but only means to free yourself from the highly charged, emotional entanglement with the other person once and for all. As long as we have not forgiven, we are connected to this ”perpetrator person“ – and from this connection our own life energy still flows to this person. Forgiveness is therefore never something we do for the other person, but only for ourselves, so that we finally become free and have our life energy available again exclusively for ourselves and our lives. Let alone all the situations where we have such a hard time to forgive ourselves.

Forgiveness is a process

In my experience, forgiveness is above all a process. It is less a deliberate act. By allowing us to feel and express the feelings connected with the situation, by choosing to let go, by releasing stress with appropriate tools, etc., a new inner state is created. Then at some point, forgiveness is simply there. It is the result of my own process.

Let me emphasize that it would be completely inappropriate to recommend that someone should simply forgive when something terrible has happened. First, an empathic understanding, compassionate being with the person is needed so that this person can live through his or her own process at the appropriate time. Maybe this will lead to the desire to really forgive on a deep level. And if not, that’s as well to be accepted with a loving heart.

All that said, you still can do something if you are willing. I am presenting you two wonderful, practical tools you can use in your everyday life to release emotional, mental, or physical stress.

The Four Steps into Forgiveness

I learned this fantastic tool from the late and great Colin Tipping, my teacher in becoming a Radical Forgiveness Coach. I added some minor elements which are in parentheses. It can be helpful to hold your forefront and the back of your head during this process.

1st Step

Look what I have created.

Here you look at the situation that bothers, triggers, hurts you. Take your time.

2nd Step

I can see my judgments and I love myself anyway.

Here you observe your judgements, your emotions, your beliefs etc. Be honest with yourself and accept yourself and be kind with yourself.

3rd Step

(I let go) and I am willing to see perfection in this situation.

In the beginning you often cannot see this at all, it may even seem to be outrageous to say that – never mind, the trick is: fake it till you make it 😊. So often people who have gone through such a process gain deep insights through the experience.

4th Step

(I forgive myself) and I choose the power of peace.

Here you open your heart, at least you try it. Try to feel the peace. Some people find it helpful to put their hands on their chest / heart chakra.

Very often if we are confronted with a very challenging situation, you must go through this process several, many times.

You’ll find free tools from the official Radical Forgiveness website here.


HoʻOponopono (Hawaiian pronunciation: [ho.ʔ]) is a traditional Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. The Hawaiian word translates into English simply as correction, with the synonyms manage or supervise. Similar forgiveness practices are performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, and New Zealand. Traditional HoʻOponopono is practiced by Indigenous Hawaiian healers, often within the extended family by a family member (from Wikipedia).

This would be worthy of a completely separate article. But I just wanted to give you one wonderful YouTube-Link from Kelsey and The Universe (14 minutes). She explains the process very clearly in simple words and you can go along with her being held by her guitar sound. And in the end, you can chant along with her:

I am sorry

Please forgive me

Thank you

I love you

This can be very profound if you really open your heart to the process.

What I really like about HoʻOponopono is the mindset of taking full responsibility for what you experience in your life.

I wish you all the very best from my heart. May all beings be blessed and healed!

Wolfgang Haas


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