We make ourselves miserable by hanging onto the hurt. Forgiving is not about condoning what happened, it is just about deciding to let go, to stop letting the past make the present painful for ourselves. The essence of Forgiveness is the ability to be resilient when things don't go your way.


What would you do if you were told :

  1. You can hang on to this pain as long as you want
  2. You can drop it here and get on with your life

What would you do ?

In our personal life, we can often decide not to interact with the person that did hurt us but at work, it is another story. Our colleagues, team mates, customers, managers will very likely stay in our daily landscape. So, it is even more important to be able to forgive in the workplace, not only for our own wellbeing and happiness but also for the sake of our performance as an individual, as a team and as an organisation.

Easier said than done ? Here are a few steps to move towards forgiveness

1. Leave the past in the past

It happened and you can’t undo it, nobody can. The experience is there in the past. Now, it is about deciding not to take it with you in the present and just letting it rest in the past.

2. Forgiveness does not condone what happened in the past

Whatever it is that hurt you - betrayal, lack of respect, … - forgiving is not about condoning the act. You don’t even have to tell the person you are forgiving them and forgiving certainly does not mean to blindly trust them again. Forgiveness might include that you make sure it never happens again.

3. Forgiveness is a self-love act

The act of forgiving is a self-preservation act, you are forgiving for “yourself”, for our own happiness and wellbeing, it has nothing to do with the other person. It is about understanding - like Carrie Fisher used to say - “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die”!!

4. Forgiveness is not always easy but has great benefits

As human beings, we are biologically endowed with motivation to forgive but it is not always easy. It does sometimes take a while to find the resources inside ourselves to move on.

Research shows that forgiveness:

  • Decreases stress and cortisol levels
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Decreses anxiety, hurt and depression
  • Strengthens the immune systems
  • Increases optimism and hope
  • Increases compassion, positive emotions
  • Increases self-confidence
  • Boosts strong and meaningful relationships

5. Forgiveness is a trainable skill

  • Of course, sincere apologies can help the forgiveness process but are not necessary
  • Make the decision to forgive, keep the intention in the field of your awareness for your own wellbeing and happiness
  • Take a few minutes every day, close your eyes and breathe, maybe just for 3 minutes (on the way to work in the tube for example or as you wake up), visualise yourself forgiving, actually dropping the burden of pain on the side of the road and moving forward, light and free. (this is no flower-power, there is a real power in visualisation*)
  • Practice stress management techniques each time you think about or interract with the ‘offender’

* because our brain makes no difference between thoughts/imagery and reality … check my other blogs


Do you think your organisation is forgiving ?

If you would like to discuss how to support to your teams building strong and meaningful relationships based on collaboration. Compassion, Respect and Trust, get in touch for an informal chat.

Steph Peltier is a Happiness Consultant specialising in well-being in the workplace, stress management, resilience & emotional intelligence. She helps organisations support the mental health of their employees in a way that shows immediate results on their bottom line. Her unique set of skills come from her background as a senior executive both in large corporations and start-ups and her knowledge in the science of Happiness, Mindfulness and Positive Neuroplasticity Training.

For more information, please visit www.TheHappinessSociety.com

Don't be selfish, share ...