Eight Essentials of Forgiveness

A mindfulness practice to help you forgive those who've hurt you the most.

Tamas Zsebok/Dollar Photo Club

We have all suffered hurts and betrayals. Choosing to forgive is a way to release the distress that arises again and again from the memory of these incidents—but forgiveness is often a long and difficult process.

This exercise outlines several steps that are essential to the process of forgiveness, breaking it down into manageable components. These steps were created by Robert Enright, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading forgiveness researchers. Although the exact process of forgiveness may look different for different people, most anyone can still draw upon Dr. Enright’s basic principles. In certain cases, it might help to consult a trained clinician, especially if you are working through a traumatic event.

And remember, everyone forgives at his or her own pace. We suggest that you move through the steps below based on what works for you.


1. Make a list of people who have hurt you deeply enough to warrant the effort to forgive. You can do this by asking yourself on a 1-to-10 scale, How much pain do I have regarding the way this person treated me?, with 1 involving the least pain (but still significant enough to justify the time to forgive) and 10 involving the most pain.…