I have been performing my one-woman play, My Brooklyn Hamlet, on and off since 2000. It is based on my journey from deep despair and darkness to acceptance and peace after my father (whom I adored) shot and killed my mother (my best friend) and subsequently married my mother’s sister.

After each performance, I lead a Q & A session. I also offer live workshops on the power of forgiving the unforgivable. After seeing the show, audience members share about their hearts opening. They reveal how they have gained more compassion for the people in their lives and for themselves. As they release their self-defenses, they see how the resentments they have held tight to have been stifling them.

There are some people that still refuse to forgive. Comments such as, “How can you forgive your aunt for what she did?” and “Why do you need to forgive your mother too?” express their outrage and confusion.

My answers to those two questions are simple, but not easy.
1. Forgiveness is for me. It sets me free.
2. I chose to forgive my mother, as well as my father,becaue I realized that I was still angry with her for the role model she was for me of how it was okay to be mistreated by a loved one.

Now a question for you: What are the reasons you cannot forgive?

Listed below are the 5 top reasons audience members, workshop participants and coaching clients have given over the years, in attempts to justify not giving forgiveness and the reasons why the present moment is the time to start.

Reason to Not Forgive: If I forgive this person I am condoning what he or she did.
Reason to Forgive: Forgiveness is for you, not them. It sets you free.

Reason to Not Forgive: My anger assures me that this person will never be in my life again.
Reason to Forgive: Your anger assures you that this person is constantly in your life through either obsessive thinking about them or suppressing your thoughts about them.

Reason to Not Forgive: If I forgive them, they will hurt me again.
Reason to Forgive: Being angry and unforgiving actually increases the odds of you being triggered emotionally (being upset) by something else that they do.

Reason to Not Forgive: Who would I be if I forgave them?
Reason to Forgive: You wouldn’t be the same person who holds a grudge, lives in fear and needs a wall up to protect yourself. Your open heart, good judgment and healthy boundaries would lead to a life of more joy and a freer self.

Reason to Not Forgive: What happened to me or a loved one was just too horrible.
Reason to Forgive: It was horrible. In order for you to create the beautiful and empowering life that you desire, you need to acknowledge that. You need to grieve what was lost and what was taken from you. You must learn how to release those parts of yourself that are shrouded in darkness and pain.

Please take a moment to think about which reason rings most true for you or for someone whom you care about who might also be stuck in “unforgiveness” right now.

And remember, forgiveness is a process not an event.

Instead of reliving the past by constantly judging it, and wishing it were different; with forgiveness, you will be able to move into the freedom of the present which is a most precious gift.

© Copyright 2009 Brenda Adelman

Want to reprint this article in your ezine or website? You may, as long as it remains intact and you include this complete blurb with it: Brenda Adelman, MA in Spiritual Psychology, The Queen of Forgiveness, teaches people who have a lot to offer but are stuck, how to become present, enjoy more success and peace in their relationships and lives by letting go of old and new resentments using the art of forgiveness. For FREE tips on how to finally be happy and free visit www.forgivenessandfreedom.com.