Forgiveness is one of the most essential keys to opening the door to a happy, healthy life. It enables you to let go of negative emotions and move on toward a brighter future.
Authors, poets, leaders, monks, Gods, and religions have all preached forgiveness. In fact, there is an endless supply of quotes about forgiveness from these figures.
We’ve sorted through the best and created this list of inspiring forgiveness quotes by some of mankind’s greatest minds and hearts.
But before we dive into these inspiring forgiveness quotes, it’s important to first have a deeper understanding of how to let go. Before we are able to truly forgive, we must learn how to let go of our feelings of anger and resentment.
How Do You Forgive and Let Go?
When faced with adversity, it is perfectly natural to feel negative emotions. Moreover, it is all-too-common to hold on to those negative feelings, perhaps for a lifetime, because we are uncomfortable with the idea of letting ourselves fully feel them.
It is important to take time and energy to completely feel the pain and come to terms with it, learn from it, and be able to finally let go of it.
If you are able to move through pain, nothing can forever hurt you. Worlds of personal freedom can be gained by allowing yourself to move through pain and unpleasant emotions.
Move through them, move past them. To become someone greater, stronger, and move loving because of them.
But we must do this in order to start the forgiving process.
Here are some actions that may help you express and release your negative emotions:
- Cry. That’s right, crying releases loads of harmful inner chemicals and can heal deep wounds in very transformative ways.
- Allow yourself to fully feel the pain. Us humans have an incredible ability to stay frozen in a moment of pain for a very, very long amount of time. If we don’t release this pain somehow, it gets stored in our body (not just in our mind). Allow yourself to feel and move through the pain, but certainly don’t dwell in it.
- Do something physically active. This can release negative, stagnant energy that may be stored in your body. Plus physical exercise releases a great number of “happy” chemicals that you may have forgotten still live inside of you.
- Find a creative outlet. Some of the most inspiring works of art have come from people moving through moments of pain. Try writing a poem, painting, or even dancing.
- Visualize yourself 10 years from now. Looking at the bigger picture of your life can change your perspective of the situation you are currently in. It can make it appear less of a big deal.
- Practice compassion. Try to empathize with the person who hurt you. I know, this one can seem a bit daunting. But try opening your heart to the other person’s situation. Coming from their perspective, ask yourself “what pain must they be suffering through to do this?”
What Did Gandhi Say About Forgiveness?
One of the greatest influential leaders in history, Mahatma Gandhi, is best known for his global movement of nonviolence. In this regard, he had some extremely powerful ideas about forgiveness.
What does nonviolence have to do with forgiveness?
Have you ever considered that, even if you don’t inflict violence (physical or otherwise) upon someone who has hurt you, you are still inflicting violence upon yourself by holding onto pain?
As Buddha once said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
Nonviolence, both within yourself and toward others, begins with radical forgiveness. This is the underlying sentiment behind Gandhi’s nonviolent movement and teachings.
I believe that nonviolence is infintely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment… An eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind.― Mahatma Gandhi
What Gandhi taught us is that the strongest person isn’t the one who can throw the hardest punch or deliver the harshest words. Rather, the real mark of strength lies within one’s ability to forgive.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.― Mahatma Gandhi
Revenge harms the other party, yes, but it also harms yourself. Forgiveness, on the other hand, elevates both: everyone is set free.
To learn more about the power of forgiveness, how to forgive others (and yourself), and much more, check out our guide on all things forgiveness.
14 Inspiring Forgiveness Quotes From True Warriors
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.― Mark Twain
Forgiveness is a transformative act because it asks you to be a more empathetic and compassionate person, thereby making you better than the person you were when you were hurt.— Kamand Kojouri
Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.― Martin Luther King Jr.
Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.― Nelson Mandela
To err is human, to forgive, divine.― Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience.― Oprah Winfrey
I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.― Corrie Ten Boom
We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness.― Ellen Goodman
Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.― C.R. Strahan
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.— Martin Luther King Jr.
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.― Oscar Wilde
Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.— John F. Kennedy
God has sent you nothing but angels — everyone who has come in your life and done something to wrong you — you can choose to perceive that as an angel doing something to get you to the next level of your evolution— Vishen Lakhiani, Founder of Mindvalley and author of Becoming Limitless
How Do You Ask For Forgiveness Quotes?
Wow. That’s a whole lot of beautiful inspiration on how to forgive others.
But what if you are actually on the opposite end? What if you have done something hurt to someone else, and are yearning for their forgiveness?
We have some quotes on that, too.
But before we dive in, it’s important to know that, just like forgiving others, being able to ask for forgiveness requires a lot of strength. If you are here for that reason, if you are ready to bravely ask for forgiveness, you are doing great. Beautiful work.
Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.— Bruce Lee
There is one more thing, though. Before you can ask for forgiveness from others, you must be able to forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself come sometimes be the hardest of all. For that, we’ve created a guide for you, How To Forgive Yourself: Opportunities To Grow And Learn.
Without further adieu, here are 9 quotes that can help you with asking for forgiveness.
9 Do You Forgive Me Quotes
Sorry doesn’t prove anything unless you mean it.— Ashley Sexton
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.— Paul Boese
I have more issues than I could possibly count. And on my worse days, I’ll go from happy to sad in seconds. I won’t always like myself, and sometimes I’ll even assume you don’t like me either. I’ll push you away and I might even drive you insane. But I promise you this, nobody could ever even think about loving you as much as I do.— A.N.B.
Never forget the nine most important words of any family: I love you. You are beautiful. Please forgive me.— Jackson Brown Jr.
I know it will be very hard for you to forgive me, but I want you to look into my eyes to see that I am truly sorry. I cherish you.— Unknown
I’m not perfect, I make mistakes, I hurt people. But when I say sorry, I mean it.— Unknown
Let us forgive each other — only then will we live in peace.— Leo Tolstoy
Sorry means you leave yourself open, to embrace or to ridicule or to revenge. It is a question that begs forgiveness because the metronome of a good heart won’t settle until things are set right and true. Sorry doesn’t take things back, but it pushes things forward. It bridges the gap. Sorry is a sacrament. It’s an offering. A gift.— Craig Silvey