Forgiveness can be a touchy subject. Why should we forgive someone who has caused us so much pain? I get it. In this episode, I’ll shed some light on how forgiveness is not actually for them- it is for you.
I’ll go over what forgiveness is, and what it isn’t. Some of the ideas people believe about forgiveness are faulty and create additional pain. We’ll uncover those and learn what forgiveness really is about and why it’s such a gift to give ourselves.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast,
Episode number 36, Forgiveness.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
living but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is, and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hey, everybody. How is everybody? I hope you are doing well. So I need to
tell you a little story. So this very day I flew home from Hawaii, this
very day. Just a few hours ago, in fact. So, I want to tell you something
cool. When I became a coach I made my kids a promise. I told my kids that I
was going to work really hard, that I was committing to my goals, and that
when I hit my first $100,000 as a coach I was going to take them on a trip.
Part of my reason for that was to show my children that they can accomplish
whatever they decide to do and work hard for. It came faster than I
thought, my second year as a coach, and so I needed to make good on that
promise and we went to Hawaii. And I just got back today. We’ve been there
for the past week. It was amazing. It was so beautiful. Went to Oahu, never
been there before. Took all of our children that live at home, so six kids
that live at home. It was amazing. Amazing.
So we got back home and I am getting this baby recorded so that I can get
my podcast out on time, because I love you guys and I appreciate so much
that you show up every week to listen to my podcast, and I want to keep my
end of the deal and get it out. So also I’ve been having all kinds of tech
issues with my microphone. My sound sounds funny. Anyway, that’s beside the
point. I’m working on it. Hopefully next week I’ll have that figured out.
So anyway, today we’re talking about forgiveness. I’ve decided to dive into
this topic because it’s something that I know gets misunderstood a lot.
It’s a hot topic. It can be something that’s a little bit painful to talk
about and I’m hoping that by talking about this today it might sheds some
new light on this topic for you. As I dive in I want you to be thinking
about your own beliefs around forgiveness. How were you taught it? Who is
forgiveness for? Why do we forgive? What were you taught as a child? In
this podcast I’m going to be going over what forgiveness is and what it
isn’t, and why that matters. I understand fully that this can feel very
touchy and I’m hoping that this podcast will just dissolve some of those
things, take out some of those misunderstandings, and help you to see
clearly what it is, and if you want to participate in it.
So what is forgiveness? I went and looked it up and I love the definition
that I found. Forgiveness is defined as a verb. It’s an action. To forgive
means to stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offense,
flaw or mistake. That’s all. That’s all it means. To stop feeling angry or
resentful towards someone. Now I’m going to come back to that, but let’s
talk about what first what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not
pretending to be okay when you’re not okay. Sometimes we may say that we
forgive someone because we feel it’s the right thing to do, but we still
harbor resentments and anger. Sometimes we say that we forgive someone
because we want to be people pleasers and above reproach, and a good person
forgives. But inside our experience might still be resentment and anger.
That is not forgiveness.
We may even have the desire to forgive somebody, but if we are still
feeling anger and resentment, we have not forgiven. Forgiveness is not
stuffing your feelings and pretending to feel something different than you
actually do. Forgiveness is not physically telling someone you forgive
them. It not a requirement. You might do this, you might not. It is not a
requirement. Forgiveness is not continuing a relationship with someone. We
can completely forgive someone and choose not to have them in our life.
Forgiveness is not on a timeline. There is no time that you have to
forgive. By this date, done. Have to have it done. That is not real.
Now let’s talk about what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is changing your
thoughts. Let’s change your feelings, which give you a different result. If
you’ve listened to my podcast for a while you’ll know that I’m all about
understanding our mind and shifting the way that we think so that we feel
new thoughts, do different things, have different results in our life.
Forgiveness is all about changing your thinking, changing your feelings,
and ultimately creating a different result. Forgiveness is more for the
forgiver than the forgiven. Forgiveness is something that can be done over
and over again for the same offense. It’s not necessarily a one and done
deal. Because we’re human sometimes we’ll forgive somebody and something
will creep back up that brings up anger or resentment, and we might be like
ah, I thought I was done with that. It’s not a problem. It’s just an
opportunity to look at it and decide what you want to think and feel
Forgiveness is taking full responsibility for how you experience the
circumstance someone gave you. We are not taking responsibility for their
actions. Absolutely not. We are not taking responsibility for that, but we
are taking responsibility for how we are letting the circumstance that they
gave us affect us. So I’m going to give you some examples of what this has
looked like for me and in the lives of some of my clients in hopes that it
For me, I decided to forgive my first husband, because I knew that by
harboring anger and resentment it was just hurting me. He is not here. So
here’s something funny that we do. Not funny, it’s just a common thing that
we do. We think well, if I feel mad enough, if I feel resentful enough,
then they’ll know and they’ll get to experience some of what they put me
through, then they’ll get to feel it too. I’m so sorry to say that that is
just a lie because it’s impossible. There’s no way that we can ever plop
someone in our brain and have them experience what we’re experiencing. It’s
just not possible. The only thing that we can do is give them circumstances
to have thoughts about. That’s it. So we can behave in a certain way, act
in a certain way, say certain things which ultimately go in their
circumstance line, that they can have thoughts about.
But when we think that we’re going to punish somebody else we ultimately
are punishing ourselves far more than we are punishing them because we get
to hang out with anger and resentment, and feel all of those negative
feelings. We are experiencing them. We are creating them, or blaming them
that we’re feeling this way, but ultimately it’s our thoughts and feelings
that are playing that music that goes round and round and round.
So with my first husband, he literally is not here. If you’ve listened to
some of my earlier podcasts that talk about how we got divorced and seven
months later he passed away in a car accident, I can never go to him and
have a conversation and tell him how I feel or ask for an apology or
anything like that. That is not happening in this life. I could choose to
be angry. I could choose to be resentful, but I know that that is robbing
me of peace. And I want peace so I try not to go there. I try not to rehash
and point fingers and remember all the hard things. It just feels yucky for
me. And when I’m feeling that way I show up around my family from that
space. So I choose not to. I choose to forgive. So times where I struggle
still, where I have to remind myself of the very thing I’m teaching you
about being able to forgive again and again, are when things come up around
my kids, where I see my kids hurting, and I’ll give you an example.
So my first husband had a birthday in January, and that day one of my
children was really hurting and she posted something on Facebook about him,
and it was really thoughtful, but it stung. And I’ll tell you why. Because
I knew and I experienced a different version of him than what was stated,
and it hurt to think about because I remembered. I dredged it up. I thought
about it. And so when I thought about it I felt bad all over again. The
other piece of that was well, what about me? What about me? And what
happened is I was letting that resentment come in, which if you’ve heard me
talk before about resentment is a need that we’re not having met, that
we’re blaming somebody else for. Like, I can’t have this thing because of
this person. And as I look at it from that angle what was happening is that
my brain was saying oh, all of this praise. Oh, such a great guy. And this
was my experience and that’s not fair. And what about me? And just really
made it about me.
I realized that, corrected it, realized that what was happening is I was
invalidating myself by not remembering my own worth, my own greatness. And
once I got that straight I was able to let it go all over again, allow my
daughter her feelings, her remembrances, without taking anything away from
me. And in truth, when I think about it from a place of abundance I want to
remember all of those amazing things, which were there, for sure. They were
there. I want to remember those things. But when I’m coming at it from a
place of deficiency or insecurity it’s harder for me to allow to see those
So how have I done this and how have my clients done this? So I want to
talk about that a little bit. Number one, exercising compassion. Growing
your muscle for compassion, not by blaming myself, not by blaming them,
just by trusting that that person was having the experience they needed to
have, and what a hard experience for them. When I think about my first
husband, I think wow, what a painful life experience for him, and then to
pass away at 39 and not have the opportunity to raise his children. I can
hold a lot of compassion for him. He was really troubled and I could be
grateful that I am not in that position. I can hold compassion.
Another thing to try is reframing the story. Instead of the labels, like he
was just a liar and a jerk, I can think of it in ways of, he was quite
unhappy. He must have been really unhappy to do those things. He must have
been really struggling. He must have felt really tormented to be living the
way that he was. I can hold space for him and his experience without
minimizing my own experience. Me, trying to understand his experience,
takes nothing away from mine.
Now I’m going to share a personal story that I haven’t really talked much
about, but it illustrates some of what I’m talking about. So as a little
girl, I’ve mentioned a little bit, my dad was killed in a plane crash when
I was two days old. My mom got remarried to a man who was not nice. They
were married for a few years. They got divorced. Then she married my dad
now. They got married when I was a month shy of my seventh birthday. And he
had come from a lot of pain. He had been in a lot of pain in his past
marriage, and he brought some of that into his new marriage, where he was
still hurting about some things.
He had some daughters, there are three of us, and he didn’t know how to
love us all when he will still hurting so much himself. And if my dad is
listening to this, he knows that I love him. We’ve talked about this. And
as I grew up and became a mother myself, especially after my first daughter
was born, I really was hurting because I hurt a lot as a little girl. I
often felt I isolated. I often felt like that no one really, really loved
me or saw me. And when I became a mom with a daughter, a whole lot of pain
came out. I was visiting my parents when after I had my second daughter and
I really just let it all out. I was really hurting, told him how I felt,
not so delicately. I was pretty hurt. So when I told my dad these things
through my tears at first, he was a little bit defensive. And then he
started talking and he told me his side of the story, and how hard things
were for him, and how he wished he could go back and fix things.
And even though he said those things, what happened is that I decided to
think different things about the situation. I decided to feel different
feelings. Instead of feeling really hurt I felt a lot of compassion for my
dad, a lot of love for him, trying to understand where he was coming from
and why he might have behaved the way he did. And when I did that it
strengthened our relationship. And to this day I have a very good
relationship with my dad, and know that he loves me, and know that he was
doing the best he could. And it came not from his apology, not even from me
saying those things, but from me deciding to change the way I viewed the
situation. And that is available to you too.
Now, with some of my clients, in the world’s view they have every reason to
be bitter, to be resentful, to feel wronged. They have the right to feel
wronged. Their families are often chiming in, giving their opinions,
telling them to hold on to some of those bitter feelings, to be mad, not to
give an inch. But in the end, what we work on in our coaching sessions is
showing my clients how these thoughts are affecting their life. They’re the
ones that have to live in those thoughts and feel those feelings, and
they’re taking action from those feelings and creating results for
themselves. They have to feel that. Is it something they want to keep or is
it something they want to let go of? What they generally understand is that
it’s hurting them far more than it’s hurting the other person, their
partner, their ex, whatever the situation may be. So they intentionally
lean into compassion, forgiveness, and become the person they want to be.
This does not mean that they take their spouse back. It does not mean they
stay in the marriage. It means that they create for themselves a peaceful
experience around it. It does mean that they sometimes make boundaries that
they hold, but it’s not coming from a place of punishment. “I’ll show you.”
It’s coming from a place of love for both parties. It’s very different.
Now, just one little side note as I was preparing this, there’s a scripture
about, “I will forgive who I want to forgive, but of you is it is required
to forgive all men.” I’ve been thinking about that and I really believe
that everything that we learn scripturally or otherwise about forgiveness
is 100% for the forgiver. I used to think it was totally for the other
person that we are trying to make them feel better, that it was our job to
forgive so we could make it better for the other person, and I just don’t
agree with that anymore. Because that other person, it’s up to them if they
want to feel better, right? Haven’t you had experiences in your life where
you do something you’re embarrassed about and you go apologize to somebody
and they say, “Oh, it’s fine. You’re fine. I forgive you.” And then you
might play out over and over again because you’re creating that. So
forgiveness can only be accepted if the person who’s being forgiven changes
their thoughts. You can’t change anybody’s mind. Each person is responsible
I believe that forgiveness is all about creating the kind of life
experience that is the best for us, where we get to feel the most peaceful,
where we get to feel the most love. So I’m going to give you a couple
examples here of different thoughts that would create different results
So, first of all, the circumstance I’m using is that a husband had multiple
affairs. The thought that somebody might have is what a selfish,
narcissistic jerk. They might feel angry. They might replay instances and
images in their mind, review them, hold themselves as superior, talk about
them to other people, try to get others to agree with them. The result that
they’re creating for themselves is they are keeping absorbed within
themselves and keeping themselves miserable and stuck. They’re creating
that for themselves by replaying that over and over again. It might seem
totally valid. It might seem like, yeah, of course they’re going to think
that. But they’re creating all of those feelings of anger for themselves.
You’re not handing it to the other person. We can try, but ultimately we’re
creating it for us.
Another thought to have around that same circumstance of husband having
multiple affairs is its sad that he chose that path. You can feel sad. When
you feel sad you can process emotion, feel grief, not go into shame or
blame, be curious about why he chose the path he did and the result you’re
going to create for yourself there is to allow sadness, and move forward.
Now, like I said, that doesn’t mean staying in the marriage. It doesn’t at
all. It means that you get to create a place of peace for yourself, where
you allow yourself to move forward.
There are so many different thoughts you can have about one single
circumstance. I tell my clients sometimes when they’re really stuck on a
thought that feels really, really true to them, I’ll say okay, we’re going
to pretend 10 women just walked into this room. I’m going to give them all
the same circumstance and I’m going to hear their thoughts on it. And they
likely are all going to give me 10 different thoughts. What do you think
person number one is going to say? What’s their thought?
So for that same circumstance, husband had multiple affairs, their thought
might be he doesn’t love me. That might be somebody’s. Somebody else’s
might be that’s not what I want for myself. I know that I want more than
that. On down the line. We have so much power to create the experience that
we want. We have so much power and we hand so much power over to that
person who handed us that circumstance. Yes, they put something in our
circumstance to have thoughts about, but what are the thoughts that you are
letting create your results? What are they? The more you see them, the more
you can decide if you want to keep them or not.
So, when should you forgive? There’s one simple answer. When you want to.
When you are ready to stop feeling anger and resentment. That is it. When
you want to feel differently. That’s it. When you want to feel something
different then you can start thinking different thoughts, making room for
different feelings you’re going to create a different result.
So that is all I have for you today, my friends. I hope that this has been
helpful. I hope that as you look at your own life that you don’t go into
any kind of guilt, or shoulds, or coulds, or things like that, and really
just take what I’ve said and look at areas where maybe you’re holding onto
resentment or anger and just ask yourself the question, is it actually
serving me? Is it serving me? Is this creating for me the experience that
is actually helping me to heal and move forward, whether I stay married or
Now, one more thing to reiterate, just because we forgive somebody does not
mean we have to have them in our life. In fact, sometimes the most loving
thing we can do is to let somebody go. That can be very loving when it’s
done from a loving place. So I hope that this has been helpful today. I
hope that it gives you some things to think about. I love you all. Thank
you so much being here and I will see you next week. Bye.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
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it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-dash infidelity/. I will see you next time.