March 1, 2018

16. The Forgiveness Letter Template

Written by Rachel Eddins


the forgiveness letter template written

Myths of Forgiveness

Throughout our lives, parents, teachers and religious leaders have urged us to: “Forgive and forget”, “Turn the other cheek”, “Let bygones be bygones”, ”Kiss and makeup”. As a result we have all grown up with certain ideas about what forgiveness really is. If we are to forgive and let go, it is essential to dispel some of the common myths about forgiveness.

Myth #1

To forgive means to forget about what happened.

I may still remember the incident that lead to the emotional pain but the memory will no longer carry the emotional charge that it once had.


Myth #2

Forgiveness can only be accomplished if I’m a spiritual or religious person.

Forgiveness can be accomplished by anyone who has willingness and can see the value in it for themselves.


Myth #3

I must feel like forgiving before I can forgive.

Forgiveness itself is a choice and is available at anytime. The choice to forgive does not deny our feelings. In actuality, the opposite is true. Forgiveness requires that I first acknowledge my feelings.


Myth #4

I can only forgive if the other asks for it or forgives first.

If I am waiting for the other to take the first step, I will be waiting for the rest of my life. If I am to resolve the pain that I carry because of unforgiveness, I need to take the first step.


Myth #5

Forgiveness means pretending that nothing has happened.

The opposite is true. Forgiveness means facing the upsetting situation and acknowledging the fact of it. It means acknowledging the emotions that have arisen out of the upsetting situation.


Myth #6

I must forgive immediately.

While forgiveness is available to me at any moment, I need to respect my readiness and willingness.


Myth #7

I must have a guarantee that I won’t be hurt again.

There are no guarantees that I won’t get hurt again. Forgiveness itself is unconditional and is an expression of letting go of the past. In contrast holding on to hurts does not guarantee that I will never be hurt again.


Myth #8

I am supposed to forgive because my religion says I should.

Forgiveness itself is a choice that is motivated by the benefit and advantage to me and my life. If I should forgive, I probably won’t. If I could forgive, I might. And if I choose to forgive, I will.


Myth #9

Forgiveness is for the other person’s benefit.

In actual fact, forgiveness is for my benefit. I am the one who is released to live my life again. The other may certainly gain out of my forgiveness, but forgiveness is primarily for me.


Myth #10

To forgive means that I am approving of someone’s negative behavior.

Forgiveness does not say, “Sure go right ahead and hurt me again.” In actual fact, forgiveness acknowledges the hurtful situation. In the context of a relationship, forgiveness trusts that you will take my hurt into account.


Forgiveness Heals

Now that you have dispelled the myths of forgiveness, you can take steps to repair a relationship through forgiveness. Use the forgiveness letter template below as an outline for forgiveness.

the forgiveness letter template

The Forgiveness Letter Template



Regarding the situation/time where/when__________________________________________________

(What happened? Who is involved? When/Where did it happen? What was said?)

I have been holding feelings of__________________________________________________________

 Label the specific feelings

And I have been holding these feelings ever since__________________________________________

Holding on to these feelings have cost me_________________________________________________

And what these feelings have done to me is_________________________________


My payoff in keeping these feelings has been______________________________________________

The possible difference it could make in my life if I could let these feelings go is_________________


The fears I have in letting go of these feelings are___________________________________________

I am able and willing to let go of these feelings now and I would like to replace these feelings with feelings of________________________________________________________________

And I would like to tell myself such things as_______________________________________________

I am able and willing to let those feelings in. The behaviors I want to show when feel these new feelings are_________________________________________________________________________

And the words I want to say when I feel these new feelings are________________________________

A previous time when I have felt similar feelings was the time when____________________________

Thank you for your loving presence for me to let go.

Click here to download the pdf version.

Asking For Forgiveness Letter Template


Dear __________________,

Regarding the situation/time where/when I ________________________________________________________________

Describe the situation and behaviors in detail.



I have been holding feelings of _________________________________________________________________________
Label the specific feelings

And I have been holding these feelings ever since __________________________________________________________

Holding on to these feelings have cost me ________________________________________________________________


And what these feelings have done to me is _______________________________________________________________


My payoff in keeping these feelings has been ______________________________________________________________


The possible difference it could make in my life if I could let these feelings go is ___________________________________


The fears I have in letting go of these feelings are __________________________________________________________


I am asking if you will forgive me for the hurt I caused. Will you forgive me?

The behaviors I want to show you are ____________________________________________________________________

And the words I want to say are _________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for your loving presence.

Go to the next journaling exercise: What Are My Needs

Click here to download the pdf version.

*Journaling exercises written by Cort Curtis, Ph.D, used with permission.


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