Cheap vs. Genuine Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not something one person has to do alone.  In fact, forgiveness should not be done alone.  It’s not something the injured party just bestows on someone else out of thin air, without the other person working for it.  This is the difference between cheap and genuine forgiveness.

When we forgive too quickly, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to share our true feelings about what has happened.  The offender has no real way of knowing the impact of their actions if we don’t show them how hurt we might really be.  In addition, subtle messages are communicated to the offender – it’s no big deal, it didn’t really matter, you can do it again and I’ll forgive you right away.

Genuine forgiveness, on the other hand, means providing opportunities for the offender to earn back your trust.  This doesn’t mean holding a grudge or making the other person beg for forgiveness.  Instead, it means being vulnerable and open about your feelings and needs for safety and security in the relationship, and then letting the other person show you they get it – by taking steps to demonstrate they’re actively trying not to let you down again.

If you want to read a bit more about forgiveness, we recommend a few of Dr. Janis Abrahms Spring’s books: How Can I Forgive You? and After the Affair

If you are struggling with forgiveness, or feel it is something you need to improve on to help your relationship then book in a session with one of our qualified staff to get your forgiveness journey started. To book an appointment please click here for all of our contact details.


By: Dr. Elizabeth Landau