[…it’s an asshole, “should is an asshole” ~ Jen Pastiloff]

Forgiveness is something that comes up A LOT for adult daughters in regards to their mothers. And it usually gets one of two reactions:

“Oh I really should forgive her, but I don’t know how.”


“Oh hell no!”

The “I should” crowd tends to see forgiveness as a way to be “the better person” and as a way to reduce or eliminate guilt.

The “Oh hell no!” crowd tends to see forgiveness as saying “It’s okay that she _______” and going back to the relationship the way it was.

There’s a healthier, simpler, less “moral” option: change the way you think about what she did so you can feel better.

In this TED talk, Sarah Montana shares insights about forgiveness (and some “how to”) after her mother and brother were murdered.

Some key points:

When it comes to forgiving…most of us forgive too quickly and for the wrong reasons and that’s why it feels crappy. We forgive because…

1. We think, “It’s the right thing to do. It will make me a good person.”

2. We get pressure from others. They want us to forgive so they can feel better/more comfortable.

3. We think it’s a shortcut to healing, but when we forgive too soon, it’s actually an avoidance of healing.

So why forgive?

To heal and set yourself free, not to make you a better person, not to force yourself to be in her presence if you don’t want to be, and not to gloss over or sugar-coat the truth.

You do it because you want to be free.

“What if forgiveness, instead of being a pansy-ass way of saying ‘it’s okay’ is actually a way of wielding bolt cutters and snapping the chain that links us…of saying ‘what you did is so not okay that I refuse to be linked to it any more’.” ~ Nadia Bolz-Weber, Forgive Assholes

What are your thoughts about forgiveness in terms of your relationship with your mother…have you forgiven her because you think you should? Because of the moral implications? Has that left a sour taste in your mouth? Or have you said “oh hell no”? And if so, do you still feel connected to her in a way you wish you didn’t?

Much, much love,


Reveal patterns. Heal shame. Transform legacies.

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