Forgive and Let Go

It’s always been amazing to me how adults often behave quite a lot like children. We’re always told to ‘grow up’, to be more mature, to start acting our age… But what does that actually even mean?

As human beings, we follow by example, not by what we’re told. We’ll replicate the behaviours of others, not just what they tell us to do. This is something a lot of us know already, but don’t internalize enough.

Today’s topic will be linked to a specific aspect of childishness, but more so to do with forgiveness and moving on. I’ve come to realize that adults have a lot to learn from children in this regard, especially when it comes to putting your ego aside and letting go.

Let’s talk about what forgiveness actually means, why it only harms us to hold onto resentment/grudges, an Islamic perspective, and what children have to teach us about letting go.

What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is about letting go of resentment. It’s the process of voluntarily changing your attitude towards someone or something that has done you harm (in any form). It’s not about forgetting the wrong that has been done unto you, but it’s about understanding that we’re all flawed and make mistakes.

“To err is human and to forgive is divine.” 

This is an important concept to grasp, because we’ll only be able to forgive if we actually know what it means to forgive. So all that is great in theory, but what does it mean in practice? Do we just allow people to step over us and endlessly forgive them?

The obvious answer is no. Practically speaking, there are two aspects of forgiveness to consider; internal and external healing.

Internally, it involves letting go of your ill feelings towards the other person. Externally, it’s about confronting them, setting new boundaries, and ensuring it doesn’t happen again. It’s a tough process that requires you to put your ego aside, to create the space for justification, and to make a logical decision about the relationship when you’re not overwhelmed.

You have to be aware of the underlying assumptions that you created in your mind and how they shape your current view of the situation. Give people the benefit of the doubt and always think of reasons around why they could have made that mistake.

Why does it harm us to hold onto grudges?

It harms us to hold onto grudges because we are the ones who sit with that negative energy. We end up using up a lot of time and energy trying to deal with those thoughts. We end up feeling resentment towards other people. It may affect our relationship with other people as well.

In essence, there’s a lot more to gain from the process of letting go, than holding on. Even if we don’t get the other person to apologize or justify their actions, we still need that inner peace and contentment. Kids do this quite well. They sulk for a bit but find it easy to let go rather quickly.

Islamic perspective on forgiveness

Islam emphasizes forgiveness on a daily basis. When it comes to our own sins and mistakes, we are obligated to seek forgiveness from God and repent. When it comes to other people, we are also obligated to have mercy on them and be forgiving.

One of the core teachings of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) is that we should forgive others as well. We should live out the values of patience, mercy and compassion, as this is what would ultimately lead us to be closer to God.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Do not harbour a grudge against one another, nor jealousy, nor enmity, and do not show your backs to one another and become as fellow brothers and slaves of Allah. It is not lawful for a Muslim to avoid speaking with his brother beyond three days.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

What can children teach us about this?

Children are quick to move on. Yes, they get upset and make a fuss about trivial matters, but it doesn’t tend to last very long. They forgive as quickly as they get upset, which helps them maintain their relationships in a strange way.

Children also don’t have a very future-oriented way of seeing things. They’re incredibly present and perceive time in shorter intervals than we do. The advantage of that? They don’t think about the future as objectively as us, allowing them to make amends for mistakes sooner rather than later.

The point I’m trying to make with all this is that we’re all human at the end of the day. We all make mistakes, we all mess up, we all falter and hurt each other (knowingly or unknowingly). When we incorporate forgiveness as a core value and act upon it, we live with a lot more ease.

We forge stronger relationships. We don’t allow trivial matters to ruminate in our minds and cause us to have ill feelings. We get closer to God in the process as well.

The next time someone messes up (even if it’s you!) forgive them. Not just for them, but for yourself.

The sun always rises after it sets. So should you.

Mindful Monday #4

Do you want to find peace of mind and learn how to deal with disappointments?

I hope by now the practice of mindfulness is becoming an ingrained aspect of your life. I’ll keep talking about the different ways in which I calibrate my mind to stay present and the thought processes that help me get going.

In today’s post, I’ll run you through certain aspects of our thinking that we should try and take control of. This includes dealing with expectations, disappointment, hope and forgiveness.

Make sure your life vest is strapped on, it’s about to get deep.


It’s almost impossible not to have expectations. It’s an evolutionary advantage to some extent. The key then, is to be conscious of those expectations and understand when they might be flawed.

Whether you agree with me or not, you’re constantly expecting certain things to happen. When you’re hungry, you expect yourself to get food. When you’re tired, you expect yourself to get some rest. When you’re out with your friends, you expect yourself to have a great time.

Issues arise when our expectations don’t coincide with reality.

More often than not, that’s exactly what happens. The food we ordered didn’t taste as lekker as we thought it would. We couldn’t fall asleep because our minds were restless. We didn’t enjoy our outing with friends because of complicated dynamics.

Our projection of reality is a direct reflection of what’s going on inside of us. The more we’re able to accept the fact that life is unpredictable, the better we’re able to expect more realistically.

Why then, do we get disappointed so often?


When our minds aren’t calibrated to the way reality functions, we constantly expect outcomes that aren’t feasible. I’m not saying don’t be a dreamer or don’t have ambitions beyond your current limitations. All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t allow yourself to fall prey to the mind’s illusion.

Disappointments are essentially a result of our expectations not being met. That is completely in your control. Who else made you expect that?

It’s infuriating yet absolutely liberating. We have control over our thoughts (to a certain degree). We therefore have control over our expectations. Which ultimately means, we are in control over our disappointments.

The more we expect, the more false hope we have, the more we’re disappointed. We need to constantly bring ourselves back to the present.


What is life without hope? Despair and despondency are satan’s allies.

When life gives you lemons, you squeeze the hell out of them and make something delicious. Then, you take the seeds and plant more lemon trees, giving you more lemons to squeeze. Thanks life.

Our minds are like gardens. Every thought is a seed that will eventually bloom. When we plant seeds of hope and positivity, it results in a plethora of beautiful flowers. Hope gives us something to look forward to.

As always, we need to acknowledge the fact that now is all we have. The way to utilize hope is to take action now. Be conscious of the seeds that are being planted in your garden and put in the effort to remove thoughts which aren’t serving you.

Hope is just another form of expectation. It must therefore be realistic for it to serve you.

Do you want to know how to remove weeds from infecting your mind’s garden? Through forgiveness.


Possibly one of the best things you can do for yourself. It’s a concept that absolutely develops your characters and allows you to become a beacon of mercy. When we’re able to forgive others, regardless of all the wrong they’ve done to us, our gardens start to flourish.

This is not to say that we should ignore those faults and allow people to step over us. But let go of the mental baggage. Let go of resentment. Let go of the hate, envy, grudges and toxicity.

The mental clarity and relief you obtain from forgiving others is like no other. 

Keep in mind that forgiving yourself is just as crucial. You need to accept the mistakes you make – you’re only human after all. Love yourself by being kind enough to forgive yourself. Make a definitive plan to move forward and learn from where you’ve messed up.

By now, you should see the point I’m trying to make. Most us don’t take time out to mow the lawn or get rid of alien plants. It’s up to us to take charge of our mental garden and look after it. The thoughts we have directly influence our behaviour. Our behaviour ultimately influences our mood and emotional state. This cycles back to our thoughts.

By being realistic in your expectations and understanding that life is full of disappointments, you should find solace in maneuvering through your thoughts. Hope and forgiveness are key aspects of acceptance, don’t let go of them.