“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~ Louis B. Smeeds

There is a kabbalistic concept called tikkune, which means that everything that happens to us is exactly what needs to happen, regardless of who is the cause.  Tikkune means correction, and it is in these challenges and difficulties that lies the opportunity for growth and transformation in order to reveal our truest nature.  It sounds great and it is a gift, but it usually comes in a package that we don’t want.

The kabbalists teach that when a person goes through a process where somebody really hurts them or perhaps does something that their ego doesn’t like, the natural reaction of the ego is to:

1.  Lash back

2.  Hold a grudge


3.  Be upset about it.

What you want to do when things like this happen is to come to a place where you know that this occurrence was necessary for your tikkune.  You might not know how, or the details surrounding it; but what you do know it that it IS necessary.

There are 2 levels:

  1. I’m not happy about what happened but I know I needed it.
  2. The deeper level is to actually come to love this opportunity.

The natural response, or more appropriately the ego’s response, is the desire to stand up and lash out at the person.   Whereas the kabbalistic response is to understand that this is something you need with certainty, something you need for your correction, and essentially it is in your best interest. The logic behind this idea comes from the teaching of a great kabbalist, the Baal Shem Tov.

Remember: The way I behave towards the world and others is how the Light of the Creator behaves towards me.

Every time we do something negative we create a negative energy that will at some point come back into our lives.  The good news is that there is a way to remove the negativity that we have created for ourselves. When somebody harms us, we need to let go of that anger. By doing that, the negativity we created in harming others leaves us as well.

The kabbalists teach that if a person comes up to you and slaps you in the face (for whatever reason) in that particular moment of pain, shame, disappointment and hurt, if you are able to let go of the anger and pain it caused you, then the negative things that you may have done unto others will be washed away from you as well.

Often in life, it is wrongness not rightness that can teach us who we are. The experience of being right is imperative for our survival and it gratifies our ego, but in a culture that associates error with shame, stupidity and ignorance (of all the things that we’re wrong about) the idea of error may be on the top of it. To put it simply we are wrong about what it means to be wrong.  Perhaps this is why it is so difficult to forgive. Our ego steps in and doesn’t allow us to forgive, even though we know that holding onto the hurt really harms us.

When we err it allows us to have empathy, imagination, conviction, and courage. Wrongness is a vital part of how we learn and change. When we make mistakes, we can revise our understanding about ourselves, and our ideas about the world.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “The history of errors of mankind, all things considered, is more valuable and interesting than that of their discoveries.” His profound words help support the idea that the healthiest and most productive attitude we can have about making mistakes (as difficult or humbling as they may be), is ultimately that it is our wrongness, not our rightness that can teach us who we are.

To effectively apologize and to forgive is an act of:

  • Honesty
  • Humility
  • Commitment
  • Generosity
  • Courage

Often we expect people who really wronged us (like an abuser) to be capable of asking us for forgiveness. But if we thought about it logically, these people don’t own these characteristics. If they did, they wouldn’t commit the act in the first place. It would serve US to release the one that harmed us.

Everything that happens to you is the effect of something you have done in this lifetime, or even in a former one – or it may be an experience that is being given to you to assist in your transformation. In either case, what takes place is exactly what you need at that moment.

Once you understand this, forgiveness for those who have “wronged” you is easy. In fact, vengeance will even be replaced by gratitude.

Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a different past and an apology is an end of our struggle with history. While you can’t change the past, you’re the only one who can make your future.

There is no playbook for forgiveness, no manual for getting past betrayals, disappointment and hurts. Forgiveness concepts are simple; it’s the execution that’s hard. The decision to forgive touches you at your very core and to who we are as human beings. It involves your sense of self-esteem, your personal worth, the worth of the person who’s hurt you and your relationship with that person.


1.  Think of someone who has wronged you recently.

2.  Consider the situation and the events of this “wrongness”.

3.  Combine the circumstance with the message of tikkune “correction” and try to free yourself from the hurt and pain by forgiving them.  Truly.

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