My therapist gave me this gold nugget to ponder during a session. “You can’t actually forgive. I believe you simply create conditions for forgiveness with compassion. Forgiveness is a byproduct of compassion.”

I’ve been noodling on this for a long time.

Hi! I’m Bevin! I want to be a good influence on you! You’ll feel so free when you set down all that baggage of unforgiveness.

Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping someone else is going to die. We hold our grudges in our hips and that’s part of why you may have cried during a yoga class.

When I was 31 my friend V became an ancestor. The last blog post she ever wrote she said the world would be better if everyone had more compassion for one another and for themselves. I had NO IDEA what compassion was or how to have it.

Simply setting the intention seemed to start softening my heart. I was gifted a candle with my initial on it and I started lighting it with the intention to be more compassionate. A lil candle magic before I knew what I was doing.

When I endeavored to write this post I was trying to come up with some sort of tidy protocol for developing a more compassionate lifestyle but it doesn’t feel like a protocol, it is more of a way of life and a lens with which to view the world.

“If you remain open and hopeful, and willing to discover things that are unknown to you, the gift of curiosity will lead you to treasure beyond your wildest dreams.” Colette Baron-Reid

People assume they know everything because it feels safer to experience the world as “known” when in fact there is so much rapid change that most of the unfolding world is unknowable. Most of us are raised to be safe rather than to be strong.

The strongest people I know are the most compassionate. Uncertainty and risk are the most verdant places to create in because that’s where all good comes from. It’s also where so many of us have felt terror because we’ve experienced the worst from the unknown. Living with jacked up nervous systems constantly trying to asses for danger creates chronic stress, anxiety and disease.

The truth is that life comes with risk. And we can’t be our best unless we are willing to do things we haven’t done before, step outside of our comfort zone. Ask for what we want. Digest disappointment. We give so much of our personal power away by waiting for closure and waiting for some perfect apology or atonement.

I can forgive someone while simultaneously choosing to not engage with them any further in this lifetime. My dad consistently ignored my boundaries and I don’t think it’s because he didn’t love me. It’s because he didn’t consider me.

Compassion practice involves considering the other person’s humanity and experience. Turn off the clutter in your own mind and focus on the thoughts and feelings of others. It’s impossible to do that if you’re focused on judgment–either judging them or focusing on how they might be judging you.

The consequence of my dad ignoring my boundaries is that I didn’t spend time with him or connect much with him. As I developed more compassion myself I would feel emotionally strong enough to connect with him, he would violate my boundaries again, I would take more space. Lather rinse repeat.

When he died I couldn’t remember what happened that made me stop talking to him for 18 months. (Eventually I did remember.) I forgot because I am better and better at not rehashing old stories to myself of how I was wronged. It happens, I digest it, probably process it with my therapist if I need to, and move on.

There was a former business associate I had and I couldn’t remember why I no longer trusted them but it was clear that I didn’t. Again, eventually I remembered, and it was because I caught them in a lie! You only need to lie to me once. (My moon sign is Scorpio.)

I have compassion for how my dad experienced the world as a mentally ill, violent alcoholic, abused, abuser. But it doesn’t mean I put myself in the line of fire. I’m so grateful for Al Anon recovery for teaching me I was far from alone in my experience of my family culture and giving me tools and resources to reconsider how I connected in relationships.

We are raised (especially in certain cultures and religions) to consider our feelings 0% and consider other people’s feelings 100%. To judge ourselves in advance of being judged (that’s insecurity!). I find both judgment and curiosity are feedback loops. The more we give out the more we get back.

I teach frequently in my aerobics class that compassion and judgment are feedback loops. The more we judge others the more we are judging ourselves, the more compassion we have for others the more compassion we can have for ourselves.

I have some mantras I tell myself that help interrupt those thought loops. We don’t choose our first thoughts but our second, third, and subsequent thoughts are in our control.

If an old grudge pops into my head I ask myself “do I want to tell myself this old story?” and shift my thoughts.

“All bodies are good bodies” was a very helpful one as I was on my early body liberation journey. We are SO trained to evaluate other people’s bodies and aesthetic. When, in fact, it’s none of our business.

“Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have at the time.” This one helps me so much especially with feeling guilt or remorse about my actions. I can go into a deep freeze response when I remember things from the past I haven’t forgiven myself. But applying compassion frees me up to just work on being 1% better all the time.

“How can I add value to this person/situation?” This takes my focus off unforgiving judging thoughts and puts me in the driver’s seat of how I prefer to interact in all circumstances.

Much of the time we aren’t responsible for what happened to us that makes us feel unforgiveness. There’s so much trauma and abuse flinging around from generations of harm. But we are responsible for whether we heal and whether we dwell in the negativity or seek a more harmonious life. The book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do is incredible and a lot of the things they avoid are in the realm of unforgiveness. Specifically dwell on the past.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in trying to stay safe instead of being brave that we cut off connection before it happens. I got called out by a healer recently on shooting off “never again” vibes. When, in fact, I can’t add value and connect to new people if I’m doing that!

In these bonkers times I want to be a space of love and compassion. I want to have a thick skin and a soft heart. The key to change is surrender, and the key to fully loving people is to release the weapons we hold to protect ourselves from the things that have already happen.

My therapist is fond of saying “Sorry to be a broken record about this, but the answer is usually self compassion.”

The best way to reframe how you experience the world is through the people you hang out with. You become the five people you spend the most time with and the books you read. Are they focused on the past or the present? How’s their compassion?

If you want to become more compassionate and release old garbage grudges, curate who you allow to influence you. I don’t think you need to be directly connected to someone to allow them to become a primary influence, you just need to get that input from them. Podcasts, blogs (thanks for reading!), media of all kinds count as influence.

I could probably talk about compassion for six hours and I definitely missed some things for this post. But done is better than perfect and I hope this added value to your walk in the world!

Do you find value in what I write? Please consider supporting my work; I am able to keep creating and pay for web hosting because of folks like you! (you can follow for free and get updates and freebies from me!) (safe and secure way to buy me a snack!)
Venmo: @bevinb
Cash App: $BevinBoss
Amazon Wishlist:
Tee shirts:
Instagram: @fatkiddanceparty @bevinsparty
Podcast: (Search “Bevin” on Spotify or Apple/Google Podcasts)
You Tube Channel:
Email list:
Buy anything on Amazon using this link to go to their website and I make a 3% commission on anything you buy! Costs nothing extra to you and cuts into that “astronaut’s” profits just a lil bit.
Threads, Tik Tok, Twitter: @bevinsparty

Like/subscribe/review/send a link to a friend! It all helps!