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“FORGIVENESS”​​ By Sonia Arias 


“Blame keeps wounds open. Only forgiveness heals.” –Thomas S. Monson 

When someone hurts you, it’s normal to feel anger and pain. We didn’t choose to be hurt, 
but we can choose to forgive and let go of feelings of revenge and desires to retaliate. 
Forgiveness is a process that can be of great benefit for a human being. I chose to forgive 
and that decision helped me heal. Now I use what I learned about forgiveness in my 
personal life.  



Forgiveness is a “cognitive process that consists of letting go of feelings of revenge and 

desires to retaliate.” It occurs when a person lets go of these feelings, and changes his or 
her thoughts about the transgression and the transgressor. (Cahn, Abigail, 2014) 

The process of forgiveness: 

● It starts by acknowledging how the other person hurts you and allowing yourself to 
experience anger. 
● You move on from the “victim” stage and if possible, find people to support you in 
this process. 
● Try to see the other person as human being, just like you or me, and then try to see 
yourself as a human being capable of making mistakes and hurt others.  
● What did you learn from the situation? Try to switch from a negative view to a 
positive view of the same event. 1  

The benefits of forgiveness: 

● Holding onto grief and hurt is psychologically unhealthy. 

● Forgiveness is linked to both mental and physical benefits. It has been effective in 
reducing depression and anxiety, and raising self-esteem. 
● The process of forgiving oneself is different than the process of forgiving others. 
People who are unable to forgive themselves have higher levels of loneliness.  
● Learning forgiveness towards both others and self is an important skill. 2  

Multi-Facets of Forgiveness: 

● Giving up the need for revenge 

● Absolving the guilty party of responsibility 
● Forgetting negative offense-relevant characteristics of an offender  

“The benefit of multi-facets of forgiveness is giving yourself the peace you deserve and 
ultimately letting go of all pain the offender has caused you”. (Cahn, Abigail, 2014). The 
multi-facets of forgiveness give you the chance to move forward with your own life. 3  




It’s easy to talk about forgiveness and give other people convincing reasons to let go of 
feelings of revenge and retaliation. The hard part is to put these words into action. 
However, I can testify of the power of forgiveness because I forgave someone that hurt me 
10 years ago. For the purpose of this final paper, I would like to share my own story of 

I was only 17 years old when I was raped by my sister’s boyfriend. His name is Winston 
Arcos and until earlier this year, I only saw him as my rapist, the guy that ruined my life and 
crushed my dreams.  

“Holding onto grief and hurt is psychological unhealthy”: Yes. After what happened to me, I 
developed PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, and a Bipolar disorder. I attempted suicide twice and 
the only thing that stopped me from keep trying was finding out that I was pregnant as a 
consequence of me being raped.  

At the beginning of this semester, we were assigned a group and were asked to choose a 
topic for the group project. My group chose “Forgiveness” and one of the group members 
suggested “Thordis Elva” as the example for this topic. Later on, I realized Elva and I had 
more in common than I imagined. She experienced something similar to what I 
experienced. The more I read about her, the more I admired her and wish I had the 
strength to let go of all the toxic feelings holding me back.  

So I decided to begin the process. I acknowledged how Winston hurt me, and I allowed 
myself to feel anger and hate him for it. Then I moved on from the victim stage and took 
responsibility for my feelings. Yes, he hurt me ten years ago, but I was hurting myself now, 
ten years later. I finally stopped seeing him as a monster and started seeing him as a 
human being, imperfect and capable of making mistakes and hurting others, just like me 
(even not at the same level).  

For me, trying to switch from a negative to a positive view of what happened to me, was the 
hardest part. But when I think about it, I am actually grateful for my past because I ended 
up here, in the United States of America, married to a wonderful man and with three 


beautiful children. I love my family so much, if I could go back in time, I’ll do it and I wouldn’t 
change a thing because what happened to me brought me here.  

The four stages of the process of forgiveness include: hurt, hate, healing, and coming 
together. I’m in the last stage.  


I am already using what I have learned. Forgiveness is not a reduction of what has 
happened. It is the willingness to move forward. Forgiveness is a form of self-preservation. 

“Think of your mind as a radar screen and you as the air traffic controller. On that screen at 
any minute are all the things you need to think about and attend do at any given moment. 
And then imagine that on your screen is a plane that has been circling for 9 to 10 years. 
Think of how much energy it is taking to keep that plane up there. Forgiveness is letting 
that plane land.” -Fred Luskin, Ph.D, Stanford University 

I don’t want to waste energy keeping a “plane” in the sky. I want my sky to be clean and free 
of distractions. Letting the “plane land” is vital for my well being, both physically and 

Learning about Forgiveness helped me understand the following: 

● To forgive is not a weakness, it’s a strength. 

● When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the 

● The process of forgiving oneself is different than the process of forgiving others. 

● Learning forgiveness towards both others and self is a form of self-preservation.  

I choose to forgive, always, because I am responsible for my future and because I love 
myself enough to move on. 




● Cahn, D. D., & Abigail, R. A. (2014). Managing conflict through communication. 

Boston, MA: Pearson Education.