Radical Forgiveness

Firdaus Adib
4 min readSep 4, 2023

What does it mean to truly forgive? In our society we talk of forgiveness as though it’s a singular act — the offender apologizes and the wounded party accepts and everyone moves on. But real forgiveness goes much deeper than this transactional approach.

True forgiveness is a radical act of surrendering our deepest hurts to gain profound inner peace. It is an act of faith that by letting go of our resentment, we can heal our own souls and maybe even transform the hearts of those who harmed us.

Forgiveness is radical because it contradicts our ego’s desires. Every natural instinct cries out for justice, for evening the score, for the satisfaction of seeing remorse in the eyes of those who wronged us. Yet real forgiveness seeks no such retribution. It quietly strives to see our shared humanity even in those who cruelly stripped our dignity away. It recognizes that we all carry wounds from the past, and seeks to be a balm rather than a weapon aimed at those old scars.

Let Peace Fill Your Body, by Sage Friedman

The act of forgiveness also contradicts our inner skeptic. We tell ourselves that by clinging to anger and blame, we can somehow undo the harm or at least assign fault to justify the depth of our pain. But at its core, radical forgiveness acknowledges that the past cannot be changed. Our only real power lies in how we shape the present moment and the future.

Today, I’ll explore the principles of radical forgiveness, why it’s so challenging, and the incredible benefits it can have for our wellbeing when we choose to embrace it fully. Join me in examining this counterintuitive but potent pathway to freedom from suffering.

What is Radical Forgiveness?

Radical forgiveness goes beyond just forgiving someone who has wronged you. It’s about adopting an overall mindset of letting go of resentment, anger, and the desire for revenge. Some key aspects of radical forgiveness include:

  • Forgiving unconditionally without expecting apologies, changed behavior, or repayment from the offender.
  • Releasing our right to get even and refusing to dwell on the wrongdoing.
  • Making a conscious decision to let go of the anger and hurt, replacing those feelings with compassion.
  • Accepting that we cannot change the past but can shape the future.
  • Taking responsibility for our own emotions and happiness rather than blaming others.

Why is it So Challenging?

Embracing the mindset of radical forgiveness goes against our natural instincts. When someone hurts us, we want to hurt them back. We feel justified in holding onto our anger and we judge those who have wronged us harshly.

For example, when my business partner betrayed my trust by stealing money from our company, my first reaction was pure rage. I wanted to see him punished. I stewed in anger for months, playing the events over and over in my mind. It took conscious effort to eventually let go and realize that holding onto the grudge was only hurting me.

It’s also difficult because it requires vulnerability. We have to face the pain we feel and process it in a healthy way. True forgiveness also means giving up any perception of moral high ground or victimhood. This can be an uncomfortable process. I had to give up feeling like the “wronged” partner and take responsibility for my own choices to go into business with someone dishonest.

The Power and Benefits of Radical Forgiveness

Despite the challenges, putting radical forgiveness into practice can be incredibly rewarding. Here are some of the key benefits I’ve experienced:

  • It frees you from past hurts so you can live in the present. Holding onto resentment keeps you trapped in the past and drains your energy. After I forgave my old business partner for stealing from our company, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was no longer dwelling on those events and suddenly had so much more mental space freed up to focus on the present.
  • It allows you to take back your power. Blaming others gives them control over you. Radical forgiveness returns your power to choose happiness. I had to give up seeing myself as just a victim in the situation with my ex-partner. I realized I had to take responsibility for my own role by entering into business with someone dishonest. Forgiving him allowed me to reclaim my power to move forward.
  • It leads to greater peace of mind and emotional relief. Letting go of anger and judgment brings calmness. I used to have insomnia and stomach troubles when I was upset with my business partner. After offering forgiveness, I was able to sleep better and had less anxiety.
  • It improves psychological and physical health. Holding onto negative emotions has been linked to higher anxiety, depression, and health issues. Forgiveness can reverse these effects. Studies have shown that the act of forgiveness lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of stress hormones.
  • It strengthens relationships. Forgiving deep hurts in a relationship allows for rebuilding trust and restoring intimacy. I’ve seen this in my own life when choosing to forgive friends or family members after arguments. Our relationships become closer and more authentic when we clear the air through forgiveness.
  • It aligns with many spiritual teachings about letting go of ego and choosing love over fear. Practicing radical forgiveness allows you to reflect these values. Many of the world’s faiths emphasize forgiveness as a virtue. It has been incredibly meaningful for me to align my values with this wisdom.

Radical forgiveness is a bold path of unconditional letting go and starting anew. While incredibly challenging, it holds the promise of incredible freedom and peace. By choosing radical forgiveness, we open ourselves to receive the best life has to offer and build a society based on compassion rather than resentment.

What hurts or grudges do you need to forgive today to live your best life?



Firdaus Adib

Web craft. Rails. Data Science. Biohack. Currently learning iOS.