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“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does change the future.” – Anonymous

When we are hurt, responding with forgiveness may naturally be hard to do, it can feel like we are letting people off the hook. However forgiveness isn’t about excusing people’s behaviour but forgiveness prevents their behaviour from destroying us. When we forgive there is less space for anger, hatred and hurt in our lives. It helps us to move on with our lives, breaks the cycle of revenge and can restore relationships. Forgiveness isn’t easy and can take time. It can help to talk with an adult you can trust to help you work through your feelings. Also if you are being hurt by someone it is vital that you seek help as forgiveness is not about allowing yourself to be hurt.


There are many reasons why people choose not to forgive or find forgiveness difficult. Hurtful experiences, painful memories, along with feelings of anger and resentment are naturally quite hard to let go of. One of the ways we can develop this skill, and discover the difference it makes, is to take time to apply it to our lives when we are hurt. Once practising forgiveness is part of your life you should begin to feel the benefits.

  1. Read a story or watch a film about people offering forgiveness.
  2. Talk to someone you know who has had to forgive someone – ask them how they went about forgiving them and what, if anything, they found difficult. Ask them what the outcomes were after forgiving.
  3. If you have been hurt, are being hurt, or feel angry about something that has happened find an adult you trust and arrange to talk about how you have been hurt so you can start to work through it.
  4. Take time to think about someone who has forgiven you. What impact, if any, did it have on you knowing that you had been forgiven? Write down how it made you feel. You could even write a thank you message (you don’t have to send it).
  5. Write a letter of forgiveness. Take time to write a letter to the person who wronged you. Express your pain and the consequences of their actions. Then express your forgiveness for their action(s). There is no need to actually send the letter.
  6. Imagine forgiving someone who has hurt you. Spend some time thinking over what it would be like to forgive the person who did you wrong. Write down what they did that requires forgiveness, what you are feeling, and why it would be good for you to forgive. Then rip up that piece of paper as a symbolic act of letting go of those feelings.
  7. Say sorry. Is there anyone that you need forgiveness from? If appropriate, consider taking the time to either write them a letter or go to see them. Let them know what you did and ask for their forgiveness. For this one, make sure you consider whether it would benefit the other person or not. For example, if they do not know what you did, would it be beneficial for them to find out?
  8. Forgive yourself. Write down what you did, how it made you feel, what you might do about it, and what you learnt from it. Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes, then rip up the note as a symbol that you have forgiven yourself.