As Chad and I finished an Insight to Well-Being class last week with a group of women at the Falkenburg Road Jail, we  reflected on the insights that were discovered with this group. One being the Power of Forgiveness.

During one session, as we were reading a passage from Insight Inspirations: Messages of Hope by Jane Tucker in class, a participant pointed out a part of the passage that says,

Forgiveness is powerful. It frees us from the chains of a painful past. To forgive does not mean to approve; we can forgive someone without approving of the behavior.

As she highlighted this part of the passage, she shared why she felt it can feel tough to forgive someone who has hurt you. She struggled for many years to forgive her mom for the trauma she went through as a child, and because of this, the relationship she had with her mom was filled with years of ongoing arguments. However, the passage led her to realize that as long as she held onto the resentment, she was truly hurting herself even more – causing more trauma. She said, “I realize that I don’t have to approve of the trauma and decisions my mom made in order to let go of the hate I’ve carried around for so many years. I can allow myself to move on and create personal boundaries for myself and still have forgiveness.”

At the following class, the same woman came in beaming with a smile. As we went around the room and did our regular check-in with everyone, she was excited to share her new experience with her mom. She said “for the first time in forever, I was able to speak to my mom without the filter of resentment and I had way more compassion and understanding when listening to what she had to say.” She expressed how she felt more at peace and could now appreciate her life a little more.

We talked about how forgiveness sometimes is mistaken for weakness, but it truly isn’t. It takes courage, strength and self-love to forgive those who have hurt or betrayed us and when we finally get to that point, it is the most freeing and light feeling that takes its place.

You see, sometimes all it takes is a simple realization to make the next best decision for yourself. Sometimes, you just need an Insight to see the Well-Being that already resides within.


*SPARK’s Insight to Well-Being Program was designed to help transform the lives of adults involved in the criminal justice system by pointing them to their innate resilience and well-being so they can demonstrate a greater sense of hope and purpose in life. Learn more here.