Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Posted December 22, 2010

Published in Lifestyle

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As We Forgive Others, We Heal Ourselves

Read More: forgiveness, healing, self-help

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Forgiving others is a compassionate thing to do. We know this. Nonetheless, oftentimes, we don't do it. We want those who hurt us to suffer for what they did.

By withholding forgiveness we think we are punishing them, we think we are keeping them stuck in a prison of guilt and shame. But the fact is we're just punishing ourselves in the process.

We're prolonging our own suffering. We're withholding from ourselves our own peace of mind. We're keeping ourselves emotionally tormented. We're keeping the albatross around our own neck. We are fanning the flame of our own discontentment and emotional suffering.

We're, essentially, keeping ourselves locked in an emotional prison cell that is now of our own making. We are now victimizing ourselves long after having been victimized by our offenders.

The Power of Forgiveness

When we forgive others we free ourselves of our anger, our judgments, our grievances, our resentments, and our bitterness, all of which interfere with our present moment joy and inner peace.

When we refuse to forgive others, we relegate ourselves to living in the past and never being in the present moment, in the Eternal Now, where all the good things in life happen.

Consequently, it is always in our own best interests to forgive.

Everyone. No exceptions.

Forgiveness decreases our anger, our depression, our stress and our anxiety. We sleep better. We relate to others better. Our general attitude is more positive, optimistic, and joyful.

All of this contributes to our physical as well as emotional well-being, and maximizes our potential to attract people, places and circumstances into our lives which will propel us towards our dreams and our goals.





12 Comments | Leave a comment


Sorry, these are the words of someone who has probably never been the victim of a terrible crime or been harmed for life by a psychopath who shows no remorse.

Some things cannot be forgiven. The best way to proceed is to eliminate the offender's presence and move on by refusing to let the damage cripple the rest of your life. Forgiveness is an indulgence for petty offenders, not those who destroy others.


Although you are correct that I have never experienced a terrible crime or been harmed for life by a psychopath, you are not correct in your understanding of forgiveness. All things can be forgiven if one adopts the appropriate perspective. It is those people who have been severely traumatized and their lives turned upside down who need to forgive more than those subjected to the petty offenders. They need to forgive for their own peace of mind. If they don't forgive they are continuing to be a victim, but this time a victim of their own mind and not a victim of some external perpetrator or event. Anger and resentments and unforgiveness are all hazardous to our emotional, physical and spiritual health. Despite how difficult it is to forgive, it is in our best interests to do so.


I was traumatized by a psychopath, and I choose to heal and not be a victim by refusing to be emotionally dominated by that experience. I am no longer a victim because I simply refuse to let that experience poison my future. That is true healing, not some acquiescent and misguided notion that the person who tried to wreck my life somehow deserves to be forgiven and that it is my responsibility to adjust my psychological or emotional perspective.

No. It is my responsibility to move forward in life. Not being a victim means not being tied to what that person did to me in any way.


This will be my last comment because we clearly have different points of view that will unlikely be reconciled in this lifetime. I have one observation to make, however: You speak of true healing and not being a victim, but your tone and the words you choose are those of someone, in my opinion, who is angry, bitter and not a happy camper. Forgiving others is not about making them feel better. It's about making you feel better. In my opinion, you carry a burden despite claiming that you have released yourself. In my opinion, without embracing forgiveness you will never find true contentment.


you dont heal yourself with forgiving, the opposite is thru ! Only masochist present the other cheek. It is necessary that you dont surpress the anger about people who mistreated you and that you can feel this anger, otherwise you are twice the victim. 40 years Alice Miller has studied child mistreatment and wrote 13 books about it, various in english language. I suggest you read them to have a proper overview.


I disagree. I understand where you are coming from, I'm familiar with Alice Miller's work. There is a higher truth and a greater power to forgiveness than many are able or willing to comprehend at this time. All of your reason and logic, all your personal experience and knowledge you've gleaned from others may tell you that forgiveness is for masochists, suckers, chumps and fools, but that doesn't change the truth: Forgiveness is the key to happiness. Forgiveness is the key to inner peace. Forgiveness is what will heal the world and nothing less. When we release judgment and extend forgiveness, in that space the miracle happens.
But I am not going to convince you of this in a few blog comments and i don't want to escalate this into more than it needs to be. We agree to disagree. However, as you suggested I review Alice Miller for a proper overview, i suggest you read my book forgive to win! which details my position on the power and importance of forgiveness regardless of all the horrendous things that have transpired in this world. peace be with you.


peace is with me thanks and beeing vegan/compassionate is wonderfull and helps a lot in respect of peace. Veganism frees the animals, my cohumans and myself. "higher truth", are you meaning religion ? is this your source ? I myself am
atheist and proud of it. Being angry does not demand for revenge....


I am truly surprised and rarely shocked any more when i read peoples notions on various subjects. I think the lamen have an excuse of ignorance, though the educated and titled 'experts' do not. Those can only be arrogance or stupidity as these people are noted to be educating us at a high level. How high? Is the question. Or how far down the rabbit hole? Would be the next.
Statements like "some things cannot be forgiven", "some people need to forgive more than others","forgiveness is the key to happiness, inner peace, is what will heal the world and nothing else" are an indication of society generally, and is certainly indicitive of the limiting beliefs and subsequent evolvement of the masses.
Forgiveness is an illusion. It indicates ingratitude, a lop sided awareness, fear and guilt. There is no one to blame, no one is wrong and we are not judge and jury or God dealing out justifiable punishment. We are here to love and be grateful for what ever we create or is created for us. Forgiveness is above fear and guilt and its also below love, appreciation and gratitude.
While there is a vitim there is a perpertraitor, while there is wrong there is right. How about if all is balanced equilibrium of compary opposites that we attract to elevate us to a greater understanding of true love and true gratitude.
The marriage vows do not say for in health only or for worse only. The marriage vows embrace the true dynamics of human psychology not some one sided dellusion of pain OR pleasure, victim OR assailant, right OR wrong. There is a synthesis of opposite in all moments, like hot AND cold, war AND peace, life AND death. Swap the OR with AND, and you will start to illuminate yourself and start the process of clear sightedness and the divine hidden order that loves you.
See how your experience benefits, serves and blesses you and others with love and subsequencial gratitude, which is by far a greater paradigmn to live by than some fantasy of you are wrong and i forgive you. Nothing is only wrong, its also right to others. Nothing needs forgiving as its perfect to teach you and love you as it is.
Everything is love-all else is an illusion.xsx.


when we judge others harshly it is just a projection of our own self loathing onto them; and when we forgive others it actually has nothing to do with what they have done, we are actually forgiving ourselves, we are forgiving our projections onto them of our own guilt. that being said, i agree with you that love is all there is and that everything that is not of love is an illusion and is not real. And I agree that the place to get to is to appreciate that there is nothing to forgive since anything that isn't of love didn't really happen. However, these concepts are very difficult for most people to embrace which is why forgiveness has a purpose as a temporary learning device that can help people get to the truth that only love is real. just as a baby must crawl before it can walk, so must we utilize the power of forgiveness as we crawl towards God, Light and Love.


i do not want to "crawl towards God" as you suggest in your last comment, but you do it if its your way, but dont assume that this is the only way possibel and valid for all.
As background music to my comment i suggest : John Lennon : Immagine !
a very happy new year to all !


I don't mind people disagreeing with me but it does bother me when people puts words in my mouth. I made no suggestion or implication of "crawling towards God." And I do not assume that my path towards God, Love and Inner Peace is the only path there is. And in regard to John Lennon's song, Imagine: (1) It is a great song, a great inspiration, a great truth, and he was a great man; and (2) We need to go beyond imagining, which is a good first step, and start applying the ideals every day with everyone in our lives. Happy new year.


Sara and Oram, I totally agree with both of you. TOTALLY on your side on this.

It is strange - but no rocket science really - to see how it takes us to 'have been touched at our very core' to be able to hold onto this Truth with SUCH conviction.

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