How to Forgive When All You Want is Revenge

Gayle Kirschenbaum
5 min readSep 15, 2021

Five Steps That Can Help Lead You To Forgiveness

“Look at your stomach and your big ass,” my mother said with disgust, pointing at my belly. That hit me right on. Here comes another.

“Who would ever want to marry you?”

Is she done? I wanted to flee. Oh no, she’s got help.

“Look, it’s Shamu. Shamu, the whale,” my brother said, cackling.

The insults and criticisms kept coming. Mom led the way and the rest of my family followed. As I wore my scapegoat hat, their bullying continued for decades and my fighting back did, too. Although I had career success and received awards along the way, underneath it I was seething with anger and resentment. And that affected all aspects of my life.

Little did I know that the obstacles I faced in my childhood would end up being the biggest opportunity of my life. By facing those challenges, I figured out the secret to finding forgiveness and the power and freedom it gives you.

Today, my mother — the woman I wished would die during my childhood — is my closest friend.

Forgiveness Takes Commitment and Work

“Sometimes what seems to be a big tragedy turns out to become the greatest good in our lives,” writes Louise Hay, author of You Can Heal Your Life.

Today, my mother — the woman I wished would die during my childhood — is my closest friend. We speak daily and travel the world together.

Think about your life. Who hurt you so much you have not been able to forgive them? In some cases, the incidents occurred so long ago that you don’t even connect the trauma you suffered as a child to your current problems, such as autoimmune illnesses, stomach issues or asthma.

Family and friends from my youth who observed my relationship with my mother marvel at the transformation. It took commitment and work.

These are the five steps I took to finding forgiveness:

1. Create a Support System

We all need a team. Create a support system, which consists of friends, co-workers, spiritual leaders, therapists and…

Gayle Kirschenbaum

Emmy award winning filmmaker, TV producer, TED speaker, writer, photographer with a wanderlust. Teach forgiveness as seen in my film LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER!