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five causes blocking the path to forgiveness

Forgiving should be simple, especially with a beloved.  But like many emotional actions, it is often a complicated process to navigate. Rebel Human co-founder Jenny Arrington shares five causes blocking the path to forgiveness.

Storytelling On Repeat :: You keep telling your hurt, angry, disappointed story over and over in your head. It's easy for us to get attached to the story of injustice we endured. Sometimes this happens because we think that if we continue to replay the story, we are punishing the person who hurt us and that it somehow honors the injustice. However, the person who hurt us usually has no idea what we're thinking, doesn't feel punished, or doesn't care. The good news? Habitual thought patterns can be broken. Chanting mantra either silently or out loud is a powerful way to retrain your brain and build new neural pathways.

Hiding In Full Sight :: You ardently, yet falsely, believe that you’ve already forgiven. You will know this is the case if angry, hurtful thoughts pop into mind at seemingly random times. Sometimes we push feelings down so far that we think we've forgiven and forgotten, but really we've just hidden them away out of fear or shame.

Hanging On To Self Blame :: You are forgetting that you may need to forgive yourself. All of us have done things that have hurt others, made us feel ashamed, embarrassed, or at fault. Forgiving ourselves for these things may be the first step to forgiving someone else. If you feel really stuck and unable to forgive someone, take a moment to investigate and see if there's something hanging around in you that needs some forgiveness.

Avoiding Pain :: You’re keeping busy and distracted so that you don’t have to sit with the original pain. Before we can address what's in #5, we have to be able to pause and feel the feelings. We may be using screens, alcohol, food, shopping, or business to distract ourselves from feeling hard feelings. If we can choose courage, and slow down for a few minutes to really feel, getting curious about those feelings, we may unlock a lot of helpful information. That information is a gift.

Ignoring Anger's Message :: You aren’t asking your anger what it needs. When we don't ask anger what it's trying to tell us and what it needs, we're ignoring the message it's sending. Glennon Doyle says it beautifully: "Anger delivers important information about where one of our boundaries has been crossed. When we answer the door to accept the delivery, we begin to know ourselves better. When we restore the boundary that was violated, we honor ourselves." So if we ask anger what it's trying to tell us, we may uncover the thing that is keeping us stuck, unable to protect ourselves, and unable to forgive.


Author Jenny Arrington co-founded Rebel Human with Tait Medina.  These dynamic, dedicated women understand that youth need a range of varied and accessible wellness support…and that being a rebel human is being “Someone with the strength and clarity of purpose to challenge the status quo in defense of a better future.”  They have been super busy partnering with educators and administrators to create yoga, meditation, and ritual tools for students in grades 6 to 12. Their fun modules spark creativity, inspire exploration, and encourage self-actualization.  Find them at

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