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peter vajda

Hi, Steve,

Since forgiveness is such a large piece of my work, I’d like to share some thoughts:

“The greatest evil that can befall man is that he should come to think ill of himself." (Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe). One of the major stumbling blocks preventing folks from forgiving others is they cannot forgive themselves (where forgiveness starts), and so experience life from a place of non-deserving of joy, happiness and inner peace and harmony.

The first step to activating and experiencing our inner joy is to eliminate the blocks to it. We can start by truly forgiving ourselves and all others.

Forgiveness calls for a shift in our perception. It is easier to forgive ourselves and others when we really understand that each of us has always done the very best we knew to do at that time.

When we don’t or can’t forgive ourselves for our missteps, and others for theirs, we end up crippled with guilt. And our soul cannot grow under a blanket of guilt, because guilt is isolating, while growth is a gradual process of reconnection to ourselves, to other people, and to a larger whole. Guilt is separation - always - separation from our True and Real Authentic Self, our essence, and separation from others. Separation is driven by ego.

To forgive, we need to decide that we won’t allow the memories of the event to poison us any longer. We’re ready to heal this wound from the past and open to a fresh new beginning. Here is a huge issue for many folks, really huge, especially those who live by the mantra, “I can forgive, but I can’t forget.” Well, if one can’t forget, one can’t forgive. Pure and simple (ego-driven denials and protestations notwithstanding). Freedom comes with forgiveness and forgetting.

It’s important to remember that people only hurt others when they themselves are in pain. When we can recognize the other person’s suffering, our heart can open in compassion. We can also remember that at some time or another, we too have hurt someone through our own unskillful action. The deal is that we often find ways (read “excuses”) to absolve ourselves from the pain we cause, but always have “reasons” to attack, and blame the other for the pain they cause. Hmmm.

Only love (not a mental construct or “logical” deduction) can heal the rifts caused by a hurtful deed. A deeper, heart-felt approach to forgiveness moves us towards the unity and love that lie at the core of our being, and at the core of conscious, honest and open relationships. It is a fundamental part of the healing process.

God has a big eraser. Why don’t (or can't) I?

Zen distinguishes big mind from small mind. Big mind identifies with its process, is impersonal and participates universally. Big mind is unlimited possibilities, deeper understanding, forgiveness, acceptance, insight, connectedness, attention. Big mind forgives.

Small mind is self-centered, self-absorbed and focuses only on itself. It is compulsive, limited, reactive and mechanical. Small mind feeds on itself -- fear reacts to fear, judgment reacts to judgment, anger sparks more anger. Small mind resists forgiveness.

True forgiveness is more than an apology, understanding and acceptance. There is an element of recreating and re-imagining. There is a need to envision ourselves as more loving, interdependent, courageous and compassionate (the challenge). Forgiveness requires honoring the sacred journey of learning about life - our life and others'. And that’s a choice we have. Life is choices. (as your little graphic says.

Thanks so much for this particular posting.

Steve Roesler


Your response is so complete I am not going to attempt to add to it.

Knowing your counseling/coaching passion, I was hoping you would quickly expand the discussion.

Thank you.

peter vajda

Steve, re: your response, to adhere to the notion of full disclosure...I do coaching, not "counseling."

Steve Roesler


Clarification duly noted under the (official) All Things Workplace Fairness in Blogging Act of 2008.


This is a fabulous posting. My thoughts on workplace bully focus on creative conflict resolution skills. You seem to get this, too. I advocate this if it's possible, of course. One must know oneself -- if your gut tells you to bail out, then pay attention to that! I will bookmark this blog.

Steve Roesler


I'm really pleased to hear that you're efforts are geared toward resolution. That's the humane way to go as a starting point.

Sadly, as you point out, there may be a time to bail out. The only way to know that is to understand yourself, understand your situation, and understand whether or not someone in authority is going to intervene to "do the right thing."

Thank you for bookmarking--hope to see you add to the discussion hear again soon.

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