September 30th this year, us Canadians have a brand new statutory holiday - the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This, together with Yom Kippur (also known as The Day of Atonement) this month made us reflect upon the topic of forgiveness.

Leaf on water

The Injured Party

It's no picnic in the park to be wronged by another. Worse yet is the amplification of any pain we felt at the time by replaying a narrative about it in our head. This evokes any number of negative emotions and can put us in quite a state.

Many conflate forgiveness with condoning an act. However, forgiveness is about accepting that something unpleasant has happened, not that it was okay. Rather, it's about recognizing that you'll be okay, whatever happens. It's a release from the intense energy that can sometimes be put into resisting reality. 

Forgiveness benefits you more than anyone else. You release yourself from the torment of hoping that the past was different.

It's in the past. So we let it go and free ourselves by not tainting our present and future.

Autumn forest
Consider writing a letter to the person with whom you are angry - but don't send it. Some people find burning such a letter afterward makes them feel a sense of release, and helps them to let go and move forward.


The Injuring Party


Who amongst us hasn't made a mistake? A serious error of judgment we deeply regret? Sometimes recognizing our own imperfections and desire to be forgiven can help us to forgive others.


When we've failed to do our best, it's easy to move quickly into negative self-talk. Although common, it's not effective. It's worth noting we're not our wrongdoings. We behaved inappropriately and behaviours can be changed. Every single one of us is much, much more than our worst mistake.


Once we forgive ourselves, we may wish to apologize.  Whether through a heartfelt note or in person, consider the apology from the other person's point of view. Take responsibility. Acknowledge your part in the wrongdoing. Express regret and make it right - offer to replace, or repair whatever was broken or ask what you can do. Don't use the word "but" after saying you're sorry and avoid saying "I'm sorry you...", which shows a lack of sincerity and responsibility.


Close to Home

🧡 Every Child Matters. Artist Jacqueline Shaver creates handmade orange poppy pins which are meant "to help remember and honour the lives of precious First Nations Children. Children that were forcibly removed from their families, homes and communities and sent to 'school'... To help support individuals affected by this tragedy, all profits from the poppies will be donated to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society."  

🧡 The Niagara Regional Native Center (NRNC) provides human services, social, cultural, recreational and educational programs to all Native people in St Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland, Thorold, Beamsville and Grimsby.

🧡 The Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre has produced a series of video projects to help educate and entertain those searching for knowledge and understanding. FENFC-TV's Indigenous Perspectives docuseries highlights Indigenous history in Niagara.

🧡 The Niagara Chapter – Native Women Inc. offers a friendly connecting place and supports Native/Indigenous women and their families through access to culturally relevant services and programs.

🧡 The Niagara Region Metis Council is a community council within the Metis Nation of Ontario. Their mission is to unite the Métis people and to promote the historical values, culture, language, and traditions of the Métis Nation.


Forgiveness and apologies can be tricky, but it's something we're all meant to learn. We hope we've inspired you to reflect on the relationships in your life and wish you much friendship, harmony and peace.

September 28, 2021 — Antoinette D'Angelo

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.