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When Forgiving Helps To Heal and Improves Emotional Intelligence

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Forgiveness quote by James E Faust


Update 27 January 2019 – When I wrote this post back in 2013, my focus was on sharing my experience with the reader and how forgiving others benefits us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The tools I shared were of a metaphysical nature.

There is another benefit of learning to forgive – improving our Emotional Intelligence and raising our Emotional Quotient (EQ). I address this further in the post but first the journey of forgiving unknown people.

In my post How to break free of limiting beliefs created by others without cutting off relationships, I mentioned the nightmare that ensued after my website had been hacked. I also mentioned the support that I received and recognized the role of the Universe and Gratitude in my life.

What I did not mention was a tweet that caught my eye on Bucket Lists and my on the spur reply that my Bucket List included someday forgiving the Hacker who made a mess of things for me. I needed the power of forgiving to heal. My reply was favourited by the Tweep.

Since then, I have ticked off that item from my list and forgiven the hacker. I also pray that it does not happen again and affirm that All Is Well. I have taken control of my situation and am doing what is required to keep myself and restore the sanctity of my website/blog.

On a Good Friday afternoon, I started to reflect on what had happened and remembered a book I had read by Johann Christoph Arnold about a year ago titled Why Forgive?’ which makes a lot more sense now, whether it is how I felt or how any reader who has ever found themselves in a place where they have to forgive a wrong done to them.


What Forgiving has taught me

In forgiving, we are not belittling the hurt and pain that has been inflicted on us


By forgiving, I have opened the door to peace and can focus on things and people that matter more to me. I have time to be grateful for the friends and colleagues who helped me, the internet friends who shared their stories and gave me priceless tips.

In forgiving, we are not belittling the hurt and pain that has been inflicted on us, but rather, we are shielding ourselves from being drawn into the dark place where bitterness resides.

It allows us to acknowledge and accept the fact that a wrong has been done to us without the need to retaliate or take out our frustrations on other people.  We rise above ourselves and from a place of objectivity, try to restore what is ours and if it cannot be restored, then accept and move on.

We also take the first step to healing. Such is the power of forgiving.

It is easy, so very easy to give in to bitterness. Maintain a calm countenance and then let a small unrelated incident make us erupt like a volcano. And if we get away with it because family and friends understand, we might fall into the false sense that we can get away with it as and when we please.

It would not be too long before we would spiral into self-destructive behavior instead of stopping to smell the flowers and count the things that are good in life.

There may also be moments when our anger turns inwards on ourselves with the mind- game of reruns of how we allowed ourselves to be hurt.  When these thoughts start to invade, forgive yourself.

Use an affirmation that acknowledges that you have been hurt and proceed to forgive the perpetrator of the hurt and yourself. It does not have to be very complicated. Just a simple “In forgiving you, I forgive myself” can also work.

The book I referred to has a passage where it quotes the Gospel and the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus Christ says to bless our enemies and those who persecute us.  Who does not remember the famous words– “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”?

From a coaching perspective, my suggestion is to focus on those actions that are in your control. If it is anger or frustration at events or people, then acknowledge your hurt or pain and take the steps within your control to protect yourself. Use the powerful tool of forgiveness to retain your dignity and control of your life.


Emotional Intelligence and Forgiving

Nowadays Emotional Intelligence is being valued as much if not higher than knowledge, skills or even IQ.  People with high Emotional Intelligence have certain traits and skills.


Checklist - do your colleagues think you are emotionally intelligent?


One’s social skills are important and the level of competence in this affects our level of Emotional Intelligence.

Forgiveness is one such social skill the lack of which, as pointed out by psychologists is an indication of low Emotional Intelligence.

Forgiveness is not only good for your health but it also helps us to avoid release frustration, anger and resentment. Internalize these and I can guarantee your blood pressure will shoot up which is definitely not good for your heart.

The way I see it, having high Emotional Intelligence helps us to forgive easily BUT, when we learn to forgive, we raise our EI too!

It comes down to the first quadrant of Daniel Coleman’s Emotional Intelligence Model – Self Awareness that I showed in my post on empathy and EI.

Self-Awareness starts with knowing yourself and the triggers that lead to an action or reaction.

Coming back to my story, it meant I accepted and acknowledged that I had been hurt and even gave myself permission to cry and feel my pain and shock at the sight of a messed up website.

Once the emotions were out of the way, I accepted the situation and explored how I wanted to deal with it.

I knew I had a choice. I could have shut down the website and wallowed in misery or I could choose to clear myself of resentment and anger at an unknown person or persons by forgiving them and then do what was required to bring my website back in order.

The deed was done and even though I chose the latter course of action, it was not easy working once again with my website developer to fix things and then employing another expert to check for back-doors and plug potential loopholes while also servicing clients and a workshop that I was running at the time.

It wasn’t just the unnecessary expenditure but the time crunch and having to wear a hat that I need not have but for an event that I later learned was part of a brute force attack at the time and I wasn’t the only person who got affected.

Yet something good came out of this harrowing experience – I developed empathy for other business owners who in later years have had similar experiences and was in a position to use my experience to help them cope with the indignation and outrage they were experiencing on the desecration of their online home where visitors are welcome but not intruders who mess up the home.

Forgiving helps to lessen the impact of the action that has hurt us and enables to move ahead. We never forget what has happened but we remember it as a simple chapter in our life as we write new and better chapters.

Have you ever needed to forgive someone you did not know but who had caused you pain? How did you cope with it? Did you demonstrate emotionally intelligent traits?


Additional Resources for embracing Forgiveness and Self-Awareness


Karmic Ally Coaching Self Awareness ebook and journal bundle




The book ‘Why Forgive?‘ by the famous author Johann Christoph Arnold is available on Amazon in both paper back and Kindle form. The edition that I am referring to is 2009 which has since been updated in May 2014. I’m providing a preview below of this must read book. Please remember to view my Privacy Policy should you choose to purchase this book.



Written by: Vatsala Shukla



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14 Responses to “When Forgiving Helps To Heal and Improves Emotional Intelligence”

  1. John Banks says:

    Hi Vatsala,Great post – I felt your pain when this happened to you. Your calm attitude and the fact that you are willing to forgive the hacker is simply amazing. What a way to be? I am a believer that good things happen to good people, so you should be on that path in life for sure.I am glad things are up and running and you are back to normal.Regards,John

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Hi John

      Welcome to my blog! It was a painful invasion of my sacred space, my website and blog. Thank you for the empathy. One reads about awful things that happen and I guess it is human nature to think it cannot happen to you – until it does. I practice what I coach and the only thing to do was not to panic, keep praying and systematically working through the problem with the help of my website host provider, my web designer and reaching out to friends, like yourself to show me the way back into the light.

      A big God Bless!


  2. Debra Jason says:

    I’m sure having your site hacked was a frustrating experience, but it sounds like you’ve bounced back stronger than ever.
    Good for you. When something happens that feels like it was out of control, it’s easy to say”why me?”
    Best to stay as optimistic as positive and as you suggested, focus on those actions you may control.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Hi Debra

      Thanks for dropping by. Fortunately I discovered the hacking within 24 hours and we were able to jump into damage control action immediately. It could have been worse. Apart from praying for strength it helped to immediately chalk out a plan of action or a To Do Checklist for myself while the experts handled the back-end. It was a team effort.

      Regularly checking one’s website and putting in necessary plug-ins and controls is an essential part of any website-owners manual.


  3. Uday says:

    Hi Vatsala,
    It is wonderful to see how you draw learning from adversity! You are making giant steps to an elevated spiritual plane! God speed.


    • Karmic Ally says:

      Hi Uday

      Thank you! I finally learned what the quote ‘Fire Proves Gold; Adversity Proves Men’ means. The hard way!

      Wishing you a great first week of April!


  4. Leila says:

    Great blog Vatsala.
    Unforgiveness is like eating poison and expecting someone else to die.
    We liberate ourselves first when we forgive and we create space for greater occurances.
    I think am going to check out the book on Kindle. Thank you for sharing.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      That’s a beautiful comparison, Leila, and so apt! Please do check out the book. I promise it will touch your heart.

  5. Heather says:

    You are so correct, it’s important not to dwell in the darkness. That’s where negative energy wants to pull you. It’s important to stay above that in the light. I’ve had to forgive many things over the years. It’s not been easy but I was much better for it.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I agree Heather. Negativity creates more negativity and it is an endless spiral of misery. Forgiving isn’t always easy but the rewards of being able to move on to an easier life and less stress is worth it. Thanks for sharing your wise perspective.

  6. CK Kochis says:

    There’s unspoken strength weaved into your wise words, Vatsala. Forgiveness of others and self is the greatest gift I can give myself.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Cindy. Forgiving others and ourselves is truly the greatest gift we can give ourselves.

  7. Forgiveness is so powerful and liberating, especially when we begin with ourselves. Thank you for your wisdom!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Absolutely, Kelley. We do need to forgive ourselves too because somewhere, some action of ours or lack of it, whether intentionally or not created space for the other party to hurt us. Without self-forgiveness, it will be difficult to move forward.

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I believe the world would be a better place if high achieving professionals accepted setbacks and challenges to their careers as Wake Up Calls to embark on a Journey where their empowered course correcting actions create a New World Order that encompasses achieving their career aspirations & potential with authentic life balance.

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