What’s the Formula for Forgiveness?

What’s the Formula for Forgiveness?

What''s the Formula for Forgiveness?

I’m weepy today. 

13 years ago today my father passed away.

Dad loved to joke, to dance, to party. To have a good time. To bring home treats.

Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, the Twist.

My math brain comes from him.

Sadness and loss.

But of course, there’s more to it.

Good memories and also plenty of hard ones.

Today’s grayness and rain today echo my melancholy mood and set the perfect stage for curling up with a cup of coffee to reflect.

If I’m  honest, I’ve been weepy and out of sorts for the past week and a half.

There are regrets.

I start to write then fidget. My brain wants to run from the discomfort. I get up and start to clean. Flip on the radio and hear,

And all those things I didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain

Rachel Patten, pre-chorus Fight Song


Then I turn the radio off and sit silent again. Sometimes it was things I said, or that were said, which caused regrets and hurt.


MLK Forgiveness Quote at www.LisaNalbone.com

Even more that what others did, intentionally or unknowingly to me, it’s so much harder for me to forgive all the things I’ve done or should have done.

How do I forgive my judgements of other people and myself –for making mistakes, not being perfect, being human and not being able to live up to my own standards, or follow my own advice?

And perhaps trying always to look on the bright side doesn’t work if you deny that there are things that hurt. There are things I thought I “dealt with”, understood and didn’t need to forgive from long ago that are still swirling inside, and are part of feeling stuck and the unexpected tears.

So what’s the formula for forgiveness?

Here is the formula I’m trying: Acceptance + Gratitude = Forgiveness.


There was hurt; there are regrets.  I feel them. Dad was doing the best he could at the time. Things I wish I could do over. I was doing my best at that moment, too.

Accepting that:

Our parents are not perfect.

Our children are not perfect.

We are not perfect. 



 How can I be thankful for the experience?

What were the strengths?

Joie de vivre, laughter, joking, how to get along with people, time with friends, giving presents, hosting parties, unconditional love.

The opportunities for learning?

  • Being honest
  • being happy with what you do have
  • responsibility
  • drive
  • how to cope with stress and disappointment
  • how to deal with sorrows instead of drowning them
  • how to reach out
  • patience
  • choosing a new perspective
  • staying true under pressure to conform to medical decisions
  • negotiating
  • empathy
  • feeling instead of denial.

Acceptance + Gratitude = Forgiveness

Does that equation work? I can think it. I can do the math.

BloedlReserve Forgiveness quote

Now, to work on feeling it, and proving a new equation.

Forgiveness – Shame = Peace + Moving Forward


Minus the shame: I’m human and make mistakes, even though I don’t want to.

As a kid.

And as a parent.

In relationships.

I am learning all the time.

Now it is time to breathe in peace and take the next step.

I wasn’t sure about sharing these raw, first-draft thoughts with you today since forgiveness is not what pops to mind when thinking about self-directed learning and helping our kids grow and learn.

But then I thought, maybe it would help if we did pay attention to forgiveness.

Maybe it is some of those hidden unforgiven hurts that interfere with how we help ourselves and our kids move forward.

And maybe I’m not the only one struggling with forgiving myself, maybe I’m not alone?


So, over to you.

How do you think forgiveness, or lack of forgiveness, impacts your parenting? Your learning?

What is your formula for forgiveness?

Do you find it harder to forgive others or yourself?

Do you have a tip or resource to share?

I’d love to hear your thoughts,  Lisa.


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