In a final honoring to Dr. King, let’s explore the week’s topic: Forgiveness.

MLK Forgive

Emotional Fitness THOUGHTS 

Forgiveness is a learned skill, that means the ability to forgive can always be strengthened. The inability to forgive keeps the fire of anger and hate glowing in your heart. You burn and you burn others.  However,  some acts are evil; how can they be forgiven?

The acts cannot be forgiven, but the person can.  How? By understanding that something has gone terribly wrong in a person’s life to change them from innocent baby to evil doer.  Those things are usually complicated, twisted, hard to trace.

Jerome Kagan, renowned Harvard researcher into how we become who we are, is unwilling to commit himself to just one thing controlling where our lives lead us.  He is willing to list eight things, but says there are probably a hundred other things.

Curious about the eight?  Here is a quick run down: temperament, part of our genetic make up; birth order; identifications, who you think you are like;  what parents do; where you find success particularly academically and socially; surrounding supports in neighborhood/school/workplace; historical era; and chance.

We like to think we have choice, and often we do; but just as often we are driven, controlled by drives, forces, feelings, and thoughts that take over and pull us down dark paths. Understanding that is key to forgiving, not just others but ourselves.


In order to be clear it is the act that cannot be forgiven, not the person, you need to examine your ideas about why some people end up doing evil.  Think about the following questions:

  1. What you were told or thought as a child about the causes of good and evil behavior?
  2. What did your religion or parents teach you about good and evil?
  3. Did those ideas change?  
  4. What are your current ideas about why some people act in evil way?
  5. Which of your ideas help you be more forgiving? Which harden you?


If you cannot forgive others, you cannot forgive yourself.  Hopefully having examined some of your beliefs, will makc forgiving easier.

The need to forgive is a constant but like every feeling it can be managed.  Improving your overall ability to manage negative feelings will help.  The Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises  is an easy first step to taking charge of all negative feelings. 

If you like this post share it with another.  You might also find visiting me at Emotional Fitness Training on Pinterest.  If you are a parent, you might find my  When Good Kids Do Bad Things Facebook Page helpful as well many of my books.

Thank you and stay strong.



Even the most learned researchers and therapists quarrel about much.  Take their advice and mine carefully.  Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; don’t just think, listen to your heart.  Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you be others.  As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.


If  you need perfect posts, you will not find them  here;  I will understand if you don’t follow, like or share what  like me.  Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life,  dysgraphia–a learning disability has eaten my energy and diminished my productivity.   Some of my posts might be peppered with bad spelling, poor punctuation, and worse words that make no sense.  If  you want to hang in with me, thank you; you are kind. If a post doesn’t make sense or bugs you too much, try reading it a few days later.  Often I catch the worse mistakes when I read the post after a few days.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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