Healthy Forgiveness: What Forgiveness is Not

Healthy forgiveness. This is a series on revisiting the complex dynamics of forgiveness. Often, we don’t address forgiveness because we feel stuck with certain aspects of what we think it entails.

Let’s start with ‘What forgiveness is not’ first. Then, we will look at ‘What forgiveness is.”

Forgiveness is not:

  1. Condoning. Forgiveness is not condoning an act, person or behavior. Sometimes we get stuck not forgiving (or even exploring this) because we feel it involves condoning what occurred. We feel that forgiving would be implying that what happened was ok. This is simply not true. Forgiveness has nothing to do with condoning.
  • A dismissal. Forgiveness is not a dismissal of the pain or suffering which occurred. An obstacle in forgiving sometimes, is feeling that forgiveness will gloss over or nullify what you went through. If I forgive, then it must not have been that bad. Some, wanting forgiveness from you may, try to diminish or dismiss your experience. This is very damaging. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the hurt, or amount of hurt, that happened.
  • Managing the guilt of another. Forgiveness is not about managing the guilt of another for their actions. Sometimes people want ‘forgiveness’ from you to allay their own guilt. This is not your responsibility or a healthy dynamic.
  • A restoration of trust. Forgiveness is not an automatic restoration of trust. It is not wiping the slate clean. Sure, it can be a starting point for that, but it doesn’t have to be. Trust is sacred. Trust is earned. Allowing another to be a close part of your life is a delicate thing. After forgiveness, you can decide when, if and what level this can occur and be healthy for you.
  • Having to maintain a connection. Forgiveness is not an automatic agreement to maintain a connection. Who you choose to have in your life is up to you. Nobody has the right to be in your life and be emotionally close to you. The relationships we have in our life should be healthy, loving and equally respectful.


Forgiveness has many complex layers. Some situations are easier to forgive than others. Some relationships are easier to mend than others. While some will survive, some won’t. And this is all ok. It is a dynamic process of self-reflection and evaluation.

Healthy forgiveness is about respecting and honoring yourself, what you went through and what is needed for you to heal and be healthy.

I work with clients often on review and assessment of forgiveness. Sometimes, we just need someone to understand and to hear us. Sometimes energy work can help assist in clearing, cleansing and cut cords. If you feel stuck or need assistance in this area, I’d be delighted to help.


L. Leigh Love

Spiritual Lemon and Energy Cleanse

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L. Leigh Love is a Certified Intuitive Counselor and Certified Life Coach. She is a Reiki Master Teacher and Advanced Pranic Healer. She completed the Mind-Body Medicine professional training program through The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School and worked professionally as a Physician Assistant. As well, she draws on over 20 years of training in Psychology, Spiritual Studies and the Healing Arts. She has a passion for helping clients heal and live their best lives. She holds a non-denominational ordination and is the author of the award-winning children’s book, Roly-Poly and the Light.

She helps clients nationally and internationally through remote session and in-person at her studio in Winston-Salem, NC.

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