Before forgiveness of others is truly possible, you must own what happened to you. You must acknowledge the losses, feel the feelings.
Forgiveness is not:
Forgiveness is not forgetting.
Forgiveness is not condoning.
Forgiveness is not absolution. They are still responsible for what they did to you.
Forgiveness is not a form of self-sacrifice. (Meaning you do not have to put yourself in a situation where the person can hurt you again, especially if they are physically dangerous.)
Forgiveness is not a clear-cut, one-time decision. (The feelings of anger will come back to you again, maybe even many times, and each time, you will have to make the decision to forgive them again.)
Forgiveness is recognizing we no longer need our grudges and resentments, our hatred and self-pity. (These things only hurt us not them. Holding on to these is like drinking poison and hoping they die.)
Forgiveness is no longer wanting to punish the people who hurt us.
Forgiveness is what happens naturally as a result of confronting past painful experiences and healing old wounds.
Forgiveness is an internal process. It happens within. (You do not have to contact the person and tell them that you forgive them, especially if it would put you in physical danger.)
With forgiveness, we no longer build an identity around something that happened to us in the past.
Forgiveness is remembering, and letting go.
Changing course by Claudia Black