| December 20th, 2006


(By our guest blogger Selina Huq) -Â

Two weeks ago I attended a seminar organized by Landmark Education. . The purpose of the seminar is to come in terms with your past, fears and start living in the present. In that seminar the speaker says, ‘To forgive is to let go of the past’. Many of us are holding on to the past and we are not living in the present. We are always thinking about how we have hurt others or others have hurt us. The only way to let go of our past and live in harmony is to forgive others and forgive ourselves.

As I listened to her and started to ponder; I realized that it was true. We have been hurting for so many years and for so many different reasons. One thing that got to me is that sometimes we are hurting on things that we don’t even remember and we carry the pain and the hurt with us in every step of our lives.

She gave us different exercises to do, so we can forgive ourselves and forgive others that have hurt us in the past. One of the exercises was to write a letter to the person you want to forgive. She says to write down everything that you want to say. Then read the letter out loud many times. Then you can send it to the person. I will like to say that by doing some of the exercises I have come to peace with many of my own situation. It was not easy, but after doing it over and over I felt like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders and I feel free.

Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.  It is a release from the burden of anger and pain.  When you choose to forgive, you choose to live in the present and the future instead of the past.  It does not mean to forget but it does mean to release and go on.  Forgiveness does not happen on its own, you must choose to forgive.

I encourage all my readers to practice forgiveness. Forgiving does not mean that you forget the wrongdoing; you may never forget what happened to you, but after forgiveness you can remember it without the emotional pain connected to it.


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10 Responses to “Forgiveness”

  1. Molla Huq says:

    Once in the mosque of Madina our Prophet, may peace be upon him, told tp the people present that “the person who is going to enter the mosque now is destined to go to heaven.” All looked and saw a very common person entering the mosque; one who does not stay at the company of the prophet for long as many others present normally do. The same statement was done by the Prophet on two more occations for the same person. Then one of the companions investigated about the person just to find out what it is the person do differently that earned him heaven. The investigation revealed that the person does only the bare minimum that a Muslim is supposed to do however one distinct difference is that every day before going to bed he took time to forgive every body who has hurt him or those he has hurt & then ask Allah (SWTA) to forgive him and all others. so the teaching is that if we can forgive we can achieve heaven. And Muslim tradition is that inorder to get forgiveness from Allah(SWTA) we need to forgive others.

  2. Dare I sign my own name says:

    I agree with most of it, however, I have to make a comment about the writing part. I took a course where it suggested that you do write a letter, read it, however then tear it up so that it does not end up the person’s hand, especially if it is your manager to whom you are addressing it, since it may cause nothing other than blowing up on your face and your career.

    And I think the same goes with in-laws. I know I have tons of stuff to write, but for heavens sake, if it ever falls into you know who, that will probably the end of my marriage.

    my two cents, writing is good, but make sure you will be ok with the end result. And if you have a situation where you have some dear to you involved, and this may jeopardize your relationship, then just take a deep breath and forgive. Be at peace with yourself; know that you have done your best. That’s all that matters.

    -Dare I sign my own name

  3. Someone says:

    I do agree that there are little things in life that isnt worth holding onto. You just have to let go and look at the larger side of the life. But is it really easy to let go of all the past? There are little things that are easy to forget and forgive, but imagine that someone might have caused you and your family so much pain and damage that its beyond forgiveness. It doesnt even matter to them if you forgive them or not because all they care about is to get away with what they did. As for your mental peace, I think being not able to forgive them and praying to god so that they get back the same pain that they have caused us, get us all going. Maybe time will heal the pain but not will give us back what we have lost.

  4. Nadia Huq says:

    I had an arrange marriage in the year 2000. I was only 23 years old. A month into the marriage something shocking happens. My husband comes from work, he is yelling, throwing whatever came in his way, hitting walls, it appeared that he was talking to someone that did not exists. Later that day I come to find out that he has bipolar disorder. He was diagnosed 2 years prior to our marriage. His family did not think it was important to tell me or my family before the marriage.

    My life was totally changed. I was taking care of a patient, working full time and taking care of house work. I was shocked every time I went to the doctor’s office and the information she shared with me. With high medication it took him 3 months to come back to “normal”. I could not trust him or his family. I felt that he and his family was deceiving and dishonest. So much more went on those six months. In summer of 2001 I got a divorce. I was left in pain, bad mental and health condition and broken hearted. I was carrying anger, pain, resentment and I had a hard time trusting human being.

    It took me six years to finally forgive him and his family. I realized that by holding on the anger or wishing them something bad was not helping me in any way. They did what they did and they got away with it. The person left alone was me and I was suffering including my family.

    I had realized that my health, relationship, work all was hurting because I was holding on to this pain and anger. I decided to forgive them and forgive myself. It was hard at first but with some help I finally was able to forgive.

    I can not change the past or forget what had happened but today I can go to sleep in peace and wake up with a smile. Every morning I make an affirmation to myself, I am worthy of love and I believe Allah works in mysterious ways.

  5. Shahnaz says:


    Thank you for talking about such a noble yet difficult idea. It sounds very simple thing to do, but it becomes a difficult task to go through when the other person we would like to forgive is not sincere with their actions. Don’t we all want to live with dignity? But unfortunately we find people who feeds on other peoples misery and given the chance will want to get away with murder.

    I like your idea that we need to forgive ourselves. We are human being and often left with high expectations to act certain ways, and sometimes we disappoint people with our actions without any ill intentions… Life demands lots of things from us, so in the process we may overlook our shortcomings. So, I guess this is my chance to say I am sorry to the people who are hurt with my actions.

    And I strongly believe we should be sincere and be accountable for our own actions, and we may not be able to control how others behave but we can control our behavior or action, We can choose to be mean to people or ridicule them, or we can choose to let them know how their action makes other people suffer. Although when you live with the other person who does nothing but humiliate you and don’t admit they are wrong – it is not going to make much difference even if you tell them.

    I agree with “Dare I sign my own name” you may not necessarily want to give the person who has caused you pain the letter of forgiveness you write…sorry to say often the people who make a habit of causing pain are not sincere with their action.

    And you are right we may not forget what happened to us but we can choose to forgive. I am going to quote one of the role models of our time, Nelson Mandela, He said,’ Forgive, but don’t forget’ .when he was out of the prison after 27 years, his teaching was to speak of forgiveness and reconciliation. He had every right to be bitter, seek retribution and revenge, yet he chose to be an icon of reconciliation of goodness.


  6. Oneza says:

    Selina, when I read about your attending the seminar, I was wondering how can I set something like this in Bangladesh, may be a session for many of my family members/relatives who are holding grudges against each other for years? 🙂
    Letting things go is important, but sometime very hard to do. Forgiveness requires higher Emotional Intelligence http://adhunika.org/blog/2006/06/20/emotional-intelligence/.

    Thanks for such an inspiring topic and discussion!

  7. Sharmin says:

    Dear Nadia,

    Thanks for posting your personal story in this context. It takes a lot of courage and mental strength to leave things behind and go ahead with ones life and not to mention to share that with others. You have shown that already.

    Human life is full of challenges, the most successful ones are those who can deal with the adversities and never give up. Those with lesser EQs can’t perform well when things goes wrong or unexpected.

    I hope other people will take your’s as a positive example and can make their lives better.

    Note that I have referred your comments in the post on Arranged Marriage.

    All the best,

  8. Snigdha says:

    Hi Selina,

    I loved your article. I’ve been thinking about the importance of practicing forgiveness in our lives. Even though it can bring peace to our minds, it is still very hard to get over the anger. I’ve tried it on my own, but without any success. Maybe your tips will help me. However, I went to the website of the “landmark Forum” and found it very interesing. But it is kind of an expensive course. Did you take the course just by yourself? I was kind of hoping if you can share some more tips with us.



  9. Selina says:

    Dear Snigdha

    I am glad my article has helped you. Forgiveness is a process that takes time and dedication to fully achieve. It is only when you truly forgive someone that you will no longer feel anger toward that individual. You need to be honest with yourself while you are forgiving others, otherwise the anger, pain, and resentment will remain within you.

    Although Landmark Forum may seem costly, it is an investment that will guide you throughout your life. After Landmark, I found that for the first time in my life, I was truly free of my past. I live every day moment by moment, and with a positive outlook into every aspect of my life.

    If you are still unsure about Landmark, I recommend that you attend a free Introduction, one of the programs that Landmark offers, and get a sense of what opportunities Landmark might bring to you.

    Best wishes,

  10. Nazia says:

    I think it was Oprah who once said that “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different”. I myself grew up with the belief that u must neither forgive nor forget!! And trust me I have lost more than I’ve gained only because of this belief of mine.

    I try my best these days not to take things to heart, so that even if someone upsets me or disappoints me I try to rethink my reaction to him or her. But I must say it is a very difficult thing to do and workshops on this matter in Bangladesh is a necessity!! Coz I think most Bangladeshis have a hard time when it comes to stop thinking that the past could or should have been different.

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