Forgiveness is the setting free of a prisoner only to discover that the prisoner was you.

As the watcher of my thoughts, I have learned that…

I remember when I first came into awareness that if I ever felt I needed to forgive somebody, it was because I’d had an expectation of them, and I judged them for not meeting it.

That startling revelation was a bucket of ice cold water thrown over me, waking me up to my own limitation.

Every time we choose judgement, we focus on separateness and we fortify the veil of that illusion – the very veil that we are here to learn to lift.


Forgiveness is a requirement that is only necessary for the ego mind, which makes its modus operandi a full theatrical production.

Farce or tragedy? I’ll leave that to you.

The stage is set as we hold the bar up and we ask our adversaries to rise to it. We seem completely oblivious to the fact, that this, of course, means positioning ourselves above them. And that is what they become – adversaries – even the ones closest to us, because that’s how we treat them when we decide they’ve done us wrong.

And all of this is a contrived concoction, served to us by ego, whilst reminding us of the pain “they’ve” put us through, and the suffering “they’ve” caused. Oh, how we fool ourselves as ego maligns our loved ones (or anyone who we see as an opponent), and tricks us into simultaneous stints of both victimhood and superiority.

The absurdity of such a dichotomy is always a sure sign that our psyches are being tampered with. Yet, we indiscriminately fall for it, because it’s an easier route than holding our hearts open.

And, thus begins the myriad of ways in which we undermine our relationships.

We willingly listen, when ego promotes expectation in the name of Love. And we watch, as ego vitriolically criticizes our loved ones, all the while evincing that we deserve so much better. Beguiled by our own insecurities, we accept all this conjecture, caught completely unaware of the pathological co-dependence we are creating with this insidious usurper who lives in our minds. We even go so far as to convince ourselves that we’re merely sticking up for ourselves through all our self-serving demands.

Arms flail, we throw the backs of our hands to our foreheads in anguish, as  tears splatter forth, and we give the most outstanding Academy Award worthy performances, without all the perks and paychecks.

And none of it gives us any sense of peace or satisfaction. It doesn’t feel right, because it isn’t.

The more we become disillusioned and disappointed by relationships, the more our expectations grow. And as our expectations grow, our own feelings of righteousness begin to elicit a startling propensity, for nose-in-the-air-itis.

From expectation, we are led to a prevailing sense of entitlement, and from there, we don our robes, hop up on our benches ready to dole out judgement on all those who come before us, and busting any who dares behave in a manner we deem unbefitting of the laws we’ve set out in our own minds.

This is how we becomes alleged victim, judge and jury, and then move onto warden, as we become the curator of punishment and penance, deciding how will have to earn our forgiveness.

Now back that up! Does any of this sound loving to you?

Just, who do we think we are?!!

And that’s the crux of the problem. In all of this… we’ve forgotten the truth of who we are.  We’ve forgotten our true role: our role – as the one who loves .

Love has no motive but to fulfill itself and to take action through kindness, compassion and acceptance. Love is recognising ourselves in each other, knowing that as we reach to console, we console ourselves.


When we have expectations of others to serve our own needs, then we do not accept them for who and where they are.  If we can’t allow people to learn and to walk their own path, then we’re more focused on being right, than on being loving.  Love doesn’t care a fig about judging or being right.

When our minds are closed, we miss out on a world of possibility and we limit our imaginations to what we have chosen. What a narrow existence that is.

“When we let go of our idea of what life “should” be, we open ourselves up to serendipity and to what life “could” be.”

As we open, we welcome possibility, and in possibility, there is great capacity for love. Possibility is about living in the now.


Everybody is always doing the best they can, whether we see this so or not, and whether they disappoint us or not. This can be hard to accept when we’ve seen them do better. But in every instance where a different choice is made, some other element is either present that was not there before, or missing, that had been there. So, literally, in each instance, we give the best we have in that moment based on our mind’s perception and the feelings that drive us.

Acknowledging that we’re all doing the best we can doesn’t let us off the hook, we still have to live with the repercussions of our choices. And we don’t have to like someone’s behaviour to love them.  Even if we decide that a relationship isn’t what we want the way it exists, we can let go of anger, blame, and sadness, and send a silent offering to the Universe wishing them well.

We are all responsible for the energy we bring to the world. It is only our own actions for which we must hold ourselves accountable.

When we lead with Love, every single happenstance becomes an opportunity to tune our awareness and to allow others to do the same.  As we lead with Love,  we draw back the veil to welcome the Light.


Tips for moving toward loving acceptance:

  • Understand that you are responsible for the way you perceive your life and other people
  • Know that everyone has their own path to walk and  their own lessons to learn
  • Never let a problem to be solved be more important than a person to be loved
  • Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you
  • Detach from emotion and look at the experience from the other person’s vantage point
  • Live fully in the present moment. Leave the past where it belongs and know that the future will always be what you make of it
  • Put your energy into solution instead of focusing on perceived problems
  • Welcome possibility and let go of your notion of how things should be
  • Embrace  every challenge knowing that it brings you closer to uncovering your inner truth.
  • Make a commitment with yourself to lead with love and kindness in every moment, no matter how hard it might sometimes seem
  • Be grateful for every moment no matter what it brings.

Just imagine what a love like that can do for the world!



24 Responses to The Folly of Forgiveness

  1. Harleena Singh says:

    Hi Shelley,

    Beautiful post indeed 🙂

    Loved all that you wrote…especially the quotes sprinkled all along. Simply speaking…I think when you forgive, you help yourself more than anything else.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    • Shelley Lundquist says:

      Thank you, Harleena.

      And, agreed. Forgiveness helps us let go of the judgement we’d already chosen. When we come to a place of acceptance and learn to be and to open our hearts, there is no need of forgiveness. There is just an understanding that a moment we did not choose is now behind us and that we are living in the present.

      May all your days be filled with much love and an open heart.

  2. Kellie says:

    Awesome article! I know that forgiveness is an important part of my life. When I look back at times of struggle and anger, it always was held by unforgiveness and judgement. Releasing myself first and then others from the offence or pain has transformed my life.

    • Shelley Lundquist says:

      Agreed, Kellie. When we are still focused on expectation, then yes, forgiveness is an important part of allowing and letting go. Anger is does come from judgement and expectation. And forgiveness is a way to release those misguided misbeliefs.

      When we come to a place of being, our expectations are only of self. As we learn to let go of judgement and allow others to walk their own path, we discover there is no need for rest of the drama. Live and let live… and just Love.

  3. Chara says:

    Shelley, you’re wise to remind us that judgement comes from holding expectations of others that they may or may not be able to meet. This is helpful to me as I reflect on feelings about a relationship to a relative. Our expectations may be valid, but that doesn’t mean the other person has to meet them, or can meet them!

    • Shelley Lundquist says:

      Yes, it does, Chara. And when we accept that simple truth, it becomes easier to let go of the control we are trying to wield.

      It reminds me of an old episode of Star Trek: TNG. On one planet, they strove for perfection. They only allowed children to be born who were healthy and not considered defective. A blind child would not have existed. And in that episode, it was a blind officer that found the solution to the problem at hand, because he could think and see differently.

      So when we do not pre-decide, we remain open to possibility.

      I’ve found this applies in real life too. My best relationships did not have what i thought i wanted. And when we allow others to be who they simply are, we discover joys that we might never have even imagined. 🙂

  4. Carina says:

    In the middle of a tough one myself this brought some really relevant reflections. Thank you x

    • Shelley Lundquist says:

      I’m glad, Carina. Old patterns of thinking stay up front until we learn not only a new way to think, but also a new way to be.

      There is such freedom in allowing and in honouring the light in ourselves and all others.

      I wish you well with your situation. Your heart will guide you. It knows the way. 🙂

  5. Debra Oakland says:

    Shelley thank you for shining your light! This is a beautiful post that brings great clarity to how we choose to live our lives. Ego loves us to be in judgement, (I was just mulling all this over as I woke up this morning) which lowers our energetic frequency. It is our responsibility – if we wish to shine our light, to live in the moment as peacefully and lovingly as possible, which raises our energetic frequency. This lifts all life and this planet…and we think we don’t make a difference as just one person!!! We make a world of difference by just being happy. 🙂

    • Shelley Lundquist says:

      Oh, yes, Debra.. so very true… one person never knows how much of a difference they make.

      And when we love ourselves and open to loving all others, we emit the most beautiful vibration.

      In a deeply connected state, I was granted the gift of hearing the most beautiful music in the silence. And I was so overwhelmed upon the revelation that i was hearing my own vibration in harmony with the Universe.

      Blessings to you, dear Debra. You are a beautiful bright beacon of Light.

  6. Laurie Seymour says:

    Every word you wrote resonated within me with the energy of truth. Beautiful! Thanks, Shelley!

  7. Christa says:

    Beautiful, and leaves me pondering in such a deep, resonating way…I absolutely agree with all you’ve written, and thank you for sharing these important truths! I love the way you state it – Forgiveness is the setting free of a prisoner only to discover that the prisoner was you.

    Thank you for this, and for sharing your light with us all!

    • Shelley Lundquist says:

      Thank you, Christa. And that is the truth of it. Our answers always lie within. When something resonates, it’s like hearing the words and remembering they are truth. The message was already there within you.

      Thank you for sharing your light. Together we make this world a brighter more beautiful place. 🙂

  8. Lisa says:

    Ok – where does this fall? My siblings and I were abused and neglected by our parents. Finally the county government intervened and removed us from the home. However, when sent to a safe haven, a foster home, things became worse. Now – is a child foolish for having an expectation that her parents and/or care givers will treat her with love, respect and kindness? That they will not hit, hurt, terrorize and forget she needs to eat?

    • Shelley Lundquist says:

      Dear Lisa,

      I am sorry for all the pain and suffering you’ve been through. Yes, all children deserve to be treated with love and respect and kindness. All beings do.

      And when we are living from the pain, then forgiveness can help us free ourselves and move on to living a life of joy.

      Life is not fair. Most of us who have suffered deeply walk through life shrouded in darkness for a long time. But the light is always there within.

      When we choose happiness and have the courage to let go of the identity we chose to wrap around the things that happened to us, we free ourselves.

      Many choose to take their past experiences and use them to lift others who have suffered the same.

      You have survived… and I hope you’ll choose to thrive, Lisa.

      I am sending you lots of Love and Light and warm healing ((hugs)).


  9. Peggy Nolan says:

    An unforgiving heart is what stops the flow of divine goodness…and goodies. Forgiveness is never for the forgiven…it is for the forgiver so she (or he) can move onward and upward.

    And for those that say they can never forgive someone for “what they did to me” (short of murder), good luck having a good life. You’ll be too wrapped up in anger and bitterness to enjoy the life you’ve been given…

    (I feel I should caveat this for those who have suffered severe trauma from another human being…comments are short and sweet…lots goes into the the philosophy of forgiveness….)

    • Shelley Lundquist says:

      Unforgivness comes from being trapped in the ego mind. When we approach life as though we have chosen everything that happens to us, then we can come from a place of strength and let go of the pain.

      In the mean time, forgiveness at least releases us of the suffering to begin to live and love.

  10. Sheila Callaham says:

    This also goes for whenever we feel disappointed in someone else, it’s because we have carried expectations for a certain behavior that they didn’t deliver on! Understanding how our judgement of others impacts our lives (and our state of happiness) is truly powerful!

    Thanks so much for this post!

    • Shelley Lundquist says:

      I agree, Sheila. We are here to reach full awareness in our own time and to let others do the same in their own time.

      Our focus must be on being… and serving our true nature.. no matter what we’re given.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. xo

  11. Andrea says:

    This post has me thinking about how fortunate I was to work with women who had trauma in their lives and makes me think about something I saw recently:”Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting ~ it means remembering without the pain.”

    Many of these survivors were motivated to forgive — not to “make it OK” for the abuser(s) but to keep them from stealing any more feelings of safety, joy or contentment.

    Thanks for helping me think about this today.

    • Shelley Lundquist says:

      Thank YOU, Andrea. as we all stretch our minds and hearts we learn to let go more easily. I also worked in the Violence Against Women field and am a survivor myself.

      I know from my experience that it is possible to let it all go. Things that happen to use are there to show us the truth of who we are and how resilient we are.

      And for me letting go, also meant taking it past forgiveness to letting go of judgement. They are not the same thing. Forgiveness is for oneself.

      I have no need to judge the journey of any other. We all have our own paths to walk and experiences that we perceive as horrific that have led us to where we are.

      I have found compassion in my heart for those who once hurt me and for their suffering too.

      That doesn’t mean tolerating. It just meant letting go with love.

      Thanks for visiting. 🙂

  12. Minette says:

    Shelley, I love all your posts but I especially appreciated this powerful perspective on forgiveness as a form of judgement and expectations. This was my favorite sentence, “When we lead with Love, every single happenstance becomes an opportunity to tune our awareness and to allow others to do the same.” I appreciated the tips at the end on how to move forward towards loving acceptance! I find that I am a harsher judge of myself than others and I that I need to move towards self-acceptance.

  13. Little John AOG says:


    I always enjoy reading your insightful thoughts. This was my favorite line:
    “Love doesn’t care a fig about judging or being right.”

    Heaven Bless You All Day! 🙂 <3

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