Sep 14

Two Perspectives on Forgiveness as a Tool for Transformation

Dr. Amit Nagpal, New Delhi, India, and

Dr. Janet Smith Warfield, Florida, USA


Dr. Amit Nagpal’s Perspective

Amit Nagpal (new)(cropped)

Forgiveness gives peace and unburdens the heart and soul.

No, it’s not easy to forgive at times, nor will forgiving always help. It may be easy to forgive our juniors but it may be difficult to forgive parents, teachers, doctors, superiors because we expect them to be more mature. We expect some people and professions to be perfect, but no one is perfect. Grudges which result from lack of forgiveness can be slow poison.

Why and when should we forgive?

Forgive in your own interest

We should forgive simply because we and the wrongdoer both deserve to be forgiven. When we forgive, we lessen the burden on ourselves. If we don’t forgive ourselves for our past mistakes, we’ll carry guilt throughout our lives.

Once a lady who was having severe knee pain went to a sage and complained about her sister and how she had been seriously harmed because of her. The sage asked her to forgive and remove the grudges from her mind. She told the sage that if the sage were in her position, he, too, would not have been able to forgive her, so serious was the harm and hurt caused. The sage had to make lot of effort to convince her that by keeping grudges and not forgiving her sister she was harming herself. Finally, she was able to forgive her sister and as soon as she forgave, her knee pain started disappearing.

Forgive because we are human

Human beings will always make mistakes and sometimes lose control over themselves. Understanding this human vulnerability helps us forgive. When we set an example of being forgiving, we, too, are forgiven for our mistakes.

While reading Lord Buddha’s story, it was interesting to note that his cousin was jealous of Buddha’s enlightenment. He even made an attempt to kill the Buddha, but Lord Buddha continued to be compassionate towards the cousin. Remember, people are not really jealous of your success; they are rather frustrated with their own failures.

Take your time in forgiving. If we keep forgiving easily, people may continue repeating the mistake. Sometimes it’s good to take time in forgiving, so the person can realize the mistake and render an apology.

When not to forgive?

Though in personal life, it is better to forgive at some point of time, it is a different game at the workplace.

Forgiveness at the workplace

My ex-boss Brigadier C. Mukesh (retired from Indian Army) once told me, “If I have 5,000 people in my team and I forgive 5,000 mistakes (one each), it may cause drastic damage.” Easy forgiveness at the workplace can make people less alert (and professional) and team members may start taking their jobs lightly.


In case of small matters and mistakes, forgive and move on. Sometimes I say it with humour, “Forgive, for your own sake.” In case of complex matters, listen to your inner voice and decide.


 Dr Amit Nagpal is Chief Inspirational Storyteller and Mega Success Coach. He is based in New Delhi, India and specializes in personal branding with a holistic touch. His philosophy is, “Enlarge as a Human Being, Excel as a Social Media Being, and Evolve as a Personal Brand.” To learn more about Dr Nagpal, visit www.dramitnagpal.comContact for personal branding/social media speaking/training/coaching. If you have doubts about the power of storytelling on social media, connect with Dr Nagpal, on Linkedin or Twitter and see for yourself.


Dr. Janet Smith Warfield’s Perspective

Dr. Janet Smith WarfieldWhy Forgive?

Certainly not because somebody tells you to. That’s the worst possible reason. You won’t mean it and you won’t follow through.

You forgive because it benefits you. It gives you permission to move on with your life and stop giving free rent in your head to people who have hurt you. Why would you want to reward and empower those people by allowing their hurtful conduct to keep repeating itself in your mind? Take your power back by focusing on what you want to do with your life.

Who to Forgive?

Forgive yourself. You did the best you could with the resources you had.

Forgive those who have hurt you so you can take your power back and move on with your own life. To forgive does not mean to forget. If you forget, you haven’t learned the lessons you were intended to learn. If you forget, you won’t change your own conduct – the conduct which contributed to the hurt you experienced.

It is not your job to forcefully change other people’s hurtful conduct or pressure them to beg for your forgiveness. That puts you into self-righteousness. They need to forgive for themselves, if and when they are ready and able. It is your job to protect yourself from their hurtful conduct by telling them how you feel, asking them to stop, and asking them to start doing things differently. If they can’t or won’t, you may have to remove yourself from the relationship or ask them to remove themselves from your presence. In the process, you empower both yourself and them.

A Powerful Video on Forgiveness

This video says it all. Have a box of tissues ready.

Dr. Janet Smith Warfield serves wisdom-seekers who want understanding and clarity so they can live peaceful, powerful, prosperous lives. Through her unique combination of holistic, creative, right-brain transformational experiences and 22 years of rigorous, left-brain law practice, she has learned how to sculpt words in atypical ways to shift her listeners into experiences beyond words, transforming turmoil into inner peace. To learn more, go to, and



  1. June Steiner, PhD says:

    Forgiveness is the door to moving forward in love, action, openess and trust.
    Forgiveness of self sets us free from our own judgement, self-doubt and rigidity.
    Forgiveness of others reveals new doorways to empathy, understanding, acceptance and new healthy behavior, thoughts and beliefs.

  2. Antonius says:

    I am very happy because I read your opinion. I agrre with you. Thanks for your opinion. It’s lighten me.
    If I forgive, I can live easier.

  3. Harvey W Austin says:

    It seems all rather simple. There is nothing to forgive.

    People do what they do because the situation shows up for them a certain way. Put another way, a person’s action is a direct correlate to how the situation showed up for them. That action was designed to be in their best interest. That another feels hurt by that action (including a speech action) is true, but it is self-centered to consider it any more personal than the rain that wets you.

    The whole concept of forgiveness is based on the mistaken idea that the action was personal and aimed at you. If we consider that people do what they do and what happens to us is simply what happens to us ― then we take nothing personally. So nothing needs to be forgiven and no one needs to be forgiven, including ourselves.

    Another way of saying the same thing, inasmuch as the whole notion of forgiveness is so embedded in our culture, is that it works to forgive everybody and everything already and always.

  4. Dr, Janet Smith Warfield says:

    Hi, June,

    Nice addition about forgiveness. I might ask a follow-up question. What do the words “new, healthy behavior, thoughts and beliefs” mean to you?

    Much love,


  5. Dr, Janet Smith Warfield says:

    Dear Antonius.

    I am so happy you feel lighter. Here’s to easier living!

    Warm regards,


  6. Dr, Janet Smith Warfield says:

    Hi, Harvey,

    Your comment brings up a new issue: being impeccable with your word. (See Don Miguel Ruiz, “The Four Agreements.”)

    I do agree with what you wrote, except in situations where someone has said they would do something, and then neither does it nor tells you why it is no longer possible for them to do it. This creates a huge breach of trust in the relationship. It needs to be corrected if the relationship is going to survive.

    The correction is simple if both persons can speak transparently about what happened and agree that both will take appropriate action to prevent it from happening again. The person making the commitment needs to become more aware of how important being impeccable with your word is. Perhaps the person to whom the promise has been made needs to be more assertive in bringing the awareness of both persons back to fulfilling the commitment.

  7. says:

    One cannot say that another ‘needs’ to be impeccable with their word. Doing so is their choice, and is not a ‘should’ coming from outside. You can, however, declare that YOU will be impeccable with your own word.
    Being impeccable does not mean that you always keep your word, for that would be impossible. Impeccability refers to ‘honoring’ your word, meaning that, if you break it, that you honor your word by being appropriate to that breaking, i.e either let a person know you will not be keeping it, or, having broken it, asking what you can do to make up for it.
    Janet, I like this sensible definition of ‘forgive’ ― “no longer desiring to punish”.
    So the question I have for you is this… How much sense and workability would there be in life if one kept on desiring to punish every person who broke their word with you? Would it not make more sense to forgive them… and …choose either to not deal with them further or, choose to deal with them in full cognition that they have, in the past, broken with their word without honor… and thus are likely to do so in the future.

  8. admin says:

    Harvey, Harvey, it’s not about punishing other people. It’s about building trustworthy relationships. Are you saying that being impeccable with your word is not important in building trustworthy relationships? Or perhaps that trustworthy relationships don’t matter? It takes two to build a trustworthy relationship. One person can’t do it alone.

    True, we have the choice to do whatever we want whenever we want and just move on if others don’t honor their word or align with what we want to do, but where does that leave us? Only having learned some hard lessons about the kinds of people we want to bring into our lives and having to start all over again to manifest our dreams.

    Much love,


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