Are you unwilling to extend that ole olive branch, or do you need to beat people with it? Holding onto grudges? Have you ever truly forgiven someone? What are your reasons for forgiving some people but not others? As you move through life, you eventually collect and stockpile resentments, grievances, and even grudges against those whom you feel did you wrong. It’s been said: When you hold grudges, your hands aren’t free to catch blessings. Heck, my friend is holding a grudge after a food fight. He has a chip on his shoulder.

But seriously, as backbreaking and bruising as it can be to forgive, friends and family will inevitably hurt you and you will hurt them. Forgiveness is a choice – sometimes even an act of mercy.

Once you have accepted his apology, please don’t keep reheating his sins for breakfast. Sometimes, letting go feels like you’re setting a prisoner free. But come to find out that the prisoner was you. Unfortunately, at times we must learn to live with an apology we never got. Believe it or not, forgiveness is not a one- time deal. It is a daily attitude.

They say that one of the keys to happiness is a bad memory. I have no problem with that one. Hey, the nice thing about having a bad memory is that you enjoy reruns. Don’t you wish you could fit a memory card into your brain before your exams? Does anyone else put things in a safe place and then forget where the safe place is? But truly, it’s okay to forgive someone and still deny them access to you.

Reliving the pain that she caused you keeps your suffering alive; and who are you truly punishing then? At one time or another, we all become casualties of other people’s choices – sometimes even our loved ones or closest friends. Of course, some wounds are so intense that they are literally unforgivable. No one should ever scold you to forget the heartache and just get on with your life.

We may never get justice for some wrongs committed. Perhaps we cannot even repair what was broken or taken away from us. But what we can do is learn to embrace what we cannot control. Accept what is. Sure, you can spend your days wishing and inwardly demanding that things be different than they are. But do you wish to pass your time consumed with resentment or mutilating your soul with self-pity? I feel sorry for myself having to hear how sorry you feel for yourself. Sheesh.

Sometimes we need to release the attachment to the feelings that come along with the following presumption: Our lives somehow should have turned out differently.  No, do not instantaneously forgive horrifying actions. But do accept that for some reason unbeknownst to us, this is what life had to offer.

You may even have a desire for vengeance. Please do not let it consume you. It’s been said: The best revenge is to have enough self-worth not to seek it. One thing about them tables…they always turn. Don’t worry. Karma never loses an address.

Holding onto those hard feelings can make you sour and oftentimes do not allow your emotional wounds to heal. Anger and bitterness tend to spill into your other relationships, as well. People make mistakes, some awful ones actually. And yet there may be complex factors that played a part in what happened. Don’t you agree? At times, we may choose to cultivate compassion. If you do not opt for relationship repair, it’s all right to avoid contact or even to end the connection.

Ever look at your husband and think, “Darn, he’s one lucky man”? One husband said: “I told my wife to embrace her mistakes. She hugged me.” You know what they say: A good wife always forgives her husband when she’s wrong. But I digress.

Sometimes we love people even when they are unlovable. Are you always agreeable, affable, and endearing? Of course, life is full of unfairness, and yes, you may have been a legitimate victim. But do you insist on clinging to a victim status forever? You can’t save a damsel if she loves her distress.

Why is it that you manage to judge yourself by your intentions but seem to judge him by his actions? And I’ll bet you are a lot more generous when interpreting your own choices, even the bad ones. So please take time to understand the whys and the wherefores of hers, too. No need to excuse bad behavior, but keep in mind that life experiences oftentimes teach us to behave a certain way. Knowing “why” he did it does by no means make it justifiable; but it can possibly offer you a window into forgiveness.

Remember that everyone has an inner experience we know nothing about. Understanding what she did is not the same as approving. Believe it or not, if you had the same life experience as some people, you may have behaved in the same way. A little empathy goes a long way.  To know is not to know.

When someone does something wrong, try not to forget all the things he did right. Please be humble, sweet friends. Above all, try to see yourself in others.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at