To forgive is to heal thyself

Three weeks ago a story was set aside and forgotten, until I came across the file on my laptop. With the weekend coming upon us and some cultures celebrating Valentines Day, I thought no better venue then to share the importance of ‘forgiveness’ and the power it has to heal ones spirit and eventually the body.

Previously this year, there had been exchange of a number of correspondences with a friend living in Colorado about the similarities in our lives. This included how we each dealt with our situations, when the subject matter of forgiveness arose, as my friend was referring to a comment I had left at Katelen’s blog The Poetic Artist, where the discussion was learning to forgive. It was there, where I stated that only after beginning the process to forgive, was I then able to heal from the wounds that had been inflicted upon my person all those decades.

Forgiveness does not take away ones pain, it only diminishes the hurt, what forgiveness does, is take away the anger and hate. For it is the anger and hate that slowly destroys us, eating away our insides like a slow growing cancer, which eventually will consume our very being, this self inflicted form of a prolonged suicide.

Those who are free of resentful thoughts
surely will find peace.


In the spring of 2005, the series ‘Family Secrets’, a sequence of photographs about child abuse illustrated through the use of empty abandoned buildings was made public. The ‘Self-portrait with shattered mirror’ at my other blog is a part of that collection. The photographs marked a seventeen-year struggle before I realized that the fault for the abuse suffered was not of my cause and therefore not my fault.

All those years I was so filled with anger and hate, I had not even considered forgiveness until after I had undergone open-heart surgery in 2006, when priorities and that which I viewed as important, took a dramatic shift in another direction.

By letting go of the past, I finally permitted myself to take the first few steps towards initiating the path to forgiveness. Though irrevocable damage was done and could never be reversed, the act of forgiveness allows us to move on with our life. Forgiveness does not mean we should forget, nor that we condone or exonerate the one who had tormented us. Forgiveness is for our own self; it is the medicine we administer to ourselves.

Bitterness imprisons life;
Love releases it

Harry Emerson Fosdick

To forgive is not easy. I had to believe in the ability of forgiveness itself. Just saying the words “I forgive you” without any conviction lacks the strength and any very power these words hold to heal the person saying them.

I cannot tell you how to go about forgiveness; this is a course of action you must discover for yourself. I can tell you that once a path has been found, the process can begin. It will be a journey of unfathomable depths and challenges, and it will exceed any pain previously suffered. In the end, a burden will have been lifted and it will feel like as if breathing for the first time.

This Valentine weekend give yourself a present,
the kind that no one can give you but you yourself,
the one that is priceless.

Photography by Egmont


Susan Deborah said...


Quite right: Forgiveness is something which releases you and makes you a notch higher. But its better said than done. And everyone has their own process of forgiveness.

Nice post ahead of Valentines as forgiveness and love walk hand-in-hand.

If I can say 'I love you' and can't say 'I forgive you' then there is something seriously wrong.

Have a lovely weekend, Egmont.

Joy, peace and hope,

Anonymous said...

Dear Egmont, A very moving and very personal posting. The message which you so clearly advocate here of forgiveness has to be the right one if we all are to move on with our lives.

The important point you make here is that to harbour resentment is so negative and can only lead to self destruction. I am so glad that you have passed well beyond this stage and are now able to look at life in a more positive way.

I do wish you well for the future and hope that through your creative work you will find peace and contentment.

Protege said...

Beautiful post. Yet another very thought provoking writing.

I agree with you - the path to forgiveness is very individual and we all need to find our own. In my experience, it is also a process that takes time. I feel we need to feel anger an deal with the anger initially, as it is followed by sadness and at times resentment and guilt. Once those negative, but often essential emotions has left us, the road to forgiveness becomes clear.
To forgive is - to me at least - an incredible sense of freedom, a certain release if you will. I also feel that when we have forgiven once, we find the next time much easier.
Have a lovely weekend dear Egmont,

Arija said...

You are so right, truly forgiving, sheds a great load off our soul and sets us free.
The converse, resentment like a viper strikes back at us and fills us with venom.

Anna said...

Forgiveness is the only way to move forward sane and functioning. It is the final step to light!
Unless you've experienced the hardest steps ever leading to it, you'll never know the suffocating stages that precede it, so you can then reach full recovery through the slowly forming path leading to it.
It's a long dual stage of first recognizing the need of it and then the hardest effort of truly achieving it.
I am so glad you have. Congratulations!!!

La Dolce Vita said...

My Dear Egmont,

Once again, what a beautiful and timely post.

Forgiveness is certainly the key that opens the door to

love and healing. I agree wholeheartedly with your

writing and I love that you tell us, your dear readers, that we

must all find our own path, for that is pure truth.

I am so glad that you have found your own way,

to this healed heart.

Richest blessings to you,

as always,


Seth said...

Such a personal and profound post. Thank you for being so open. What I have learned about forgiveness is that it is much more about and for the forgiver than the forgiven. To me, understanding that idea is so important to the process.

neva gagliano said...

a lot of work in this post, and feelings and wisdom...breathe and forgive and move along, then "hearts" will find their way to you, even when they heart stones, they make us sing.

Celeste Bergin said...

Well, I have spent the last 30 minutes or so "with" you on your blogs. I first read the post about the 4 year anniversary, about how you knew that the leaves you photographed were "meant" for you (I think I have that right)..Now I am here, reading this and thinking I have have been directed to this post and it is "meant" for me. I know that there was major abuse in my never was directed at me--but at someone super-important in my life and the abuse that she suffered had a trickle down impact on me that is quite indescribable. Suffice it to say--I too have felt rage in my life and only recently I forgave. I forgave wholeheartedly and my regret is that I was incapable of it sooner. Oh least it has been accomplished and that is what matters.
I very much admire you--your desire to use the things you learned over your lifetime to share with your fellow travelers through life. It takes courage to square up the shoulders to discuss the darkest things that have shaped us.

Teri said...

This is so poignant and comes to me at a time in my life that I really need to hear these words. Thank you so much for the reminder. It is, indeed, for the forgiver and not the forgiven, like Seth says. Have a great Valentine's Day or Sunday or both! The weather is great now, isn't it?

Kim said...

Bravo, for taking that step towards your own self healing. It does not matter how long it took or what drove you to that point, only that you got there. I agree that forgiveness is something that each person must come to by themselves. It cannot be taught but must be reached by some unfathomable inner path, but oh when you get there, the freedom from the burden!

S. Etole said...

your words hold so much truth ... I missed this site last night when I discovered your other ... thank you for sharing your heart

LemonyRenee' said...

Forgiveness is the most profound gift you can give yourself, I agree. It can heal your heart, it can restore your health, it can soothe your soul. But it is difficult.

I struggle with forgiveness as a constant, ever-present state of mind. I must find, and master, forgiveness for someone who hurts through their own limitations, their own wounds, and without presence of mind or mastery of self-control and self-awareness to stop the hurting.

I struggle with and pray for and work toward a forgiveness that remains and continues with each new pain brought by someone unaware. However, this is so divorced from my present emotional state, that it feels like a fantasy at this moment. Resentment pulses through me, and I flinch, emotionally, so often; it is a toxic way to live.

For me, forgiveness is both the answer and the riddle.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Egmont, A beautiful and heartfelt post. Yes, to forgiveness.
In my case I created a box, on the outside the words of forgiveness and the inside collaged views of the human heart. It physically helped me get to the place of making is such a healing force. I posted a photo on 11/26/2008.
Mary Ann

Eva said...

A wonderful post and photos as usual, Egmont. You said it all and so profoundly that there is nothing left for me to say except thank you for sharing.

layers said...

self forgiveness and self healing have to come first

Marina Colombo said...

Duemila anni fa c’era un uomo che predicava per le strade della Galilea. Tra i Suoi insegnamenti più importanti c’era proprio il perdono. Egli diceva: “se amate solo coloro che vi amano che merito ne avrete”? Nel corso della vita mi sono accorta che Egli aveva ragione. La vera libertà l’ho sperimentata mettendo in pratica il Suo insegnamento e quando mi manca la forza di perdonare… bhe… la chiedo a Lui!

Grazie per il bellissimo post!


Maggie Neale said...

Another lovely post and deep sharing. Forgiveness is such an important message to us all. A breathing, a letting go, a healing. Admittance is also freeing. Congratulations, Egmont; you excell!

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

well... When a picture is wonderful people says that it looks like a painting. When a painting is beautiful People says that it looks like a picture...

your picture are wonderfull


billspaintingmn said...

Wow! Egmont, I look for truth and
I have found a piece of it here.
I was fortunate to get to that point in life where I knew forgiveness was the way.
It was a paper tiger! Meaning, as tuff at it was,(because of my pride?)it was as easy as taking a breath of fresh air.
When all was said and done, I felt
as though God had his hand in it.
The person forgiven didn't seem to care, but it was the begining of
a long healing process for me.
I'll probably never completly recover, but now the glass is half full.

teresa stieben said...

Forgiveness of abuses is a long hard road I find. Fear and terror instilled in a child never loosens its grip completely. A few years back I titled a painting "Dancing the dark to see the light" Even with forgiveness that is how my life ensues, destined forever to dance the dark to chase back the shadow of memories.

Jana Bouc said...

Your beautiful photos lead me to take a deep breath, feel peaceful and sigh.

Catherine said...

So many thoughts and feelings in your post. Sometimes it takes us a long time to realize that anger and hate are too hard to live with. But it truly does eat you up inside.

We are always growing ~ always trying to find our way.

Warm thoughts being sent to,

Ange said...

Oh Egmont, another of your posts that I must read several times before commenting and even now - what have I to add?
I remember my Mother saying to me ' I don't know why you don't hate him' at the end of a year long violent relationship with my boyfriend (1st and last of that kind thank Goodness). I remember saying to her 'If I hate him, then I will carry him around with me where ever I go, and I will never be free. I want to leave - not take him with me.'
Once we are finally in the position of being able to 'not allow' violence and abuse to happen, we can afford to understand that, while people must be held responsible for their own acts, many cannot act otherwise than hurtfully for various psychological reasons. So true it is that we must forgive ourselves first...
So courageous are you Egmont and may you continue the healing process with an ever lighter step.

Have not forgotten the background but have been ill for a few days...

Kelly M. said...

how can one fly if weighed down with hatred and anger, resentment and horror? amen to forgiveness.

Laura Hegfield said...

Beautiful heartfelt post Egmont and so full of truth. How extraordinary that it took the physical act of having your heart opened surgically for your emotional heart to open to forgiveness and healing as well.


I enjoyed looking over your blog
Great Blog Title
God Bless You, Ron

Poetic Artist said...

Dear Egmont,
Thank you for your kindness.
I tried to send you a email but I was getting an error. Forgiveness is a strange thing. You think you are near that point and then all the pain and memories coming raining down and then it is as we have to begin all over.
Thank you again.
Take care,

Studio Sylvia said...

There is little left to write as previous comments practically say it all. From experience, letting go and allowing oneself to forgive is draining and exhilarating at the same time.

ruma2008 said...

In gentle light, it is very tasteful in the atmosphere flower arrangement.


From the Far East.
Best regards.