How to find forgiveness for a family member

How do you forgive someone?

We often talk about the importance of forgiveness, and how when we are unwilling to forgive it can cause more hurt for ourselves. But in reality the act of forgiveness can be much harder, especially when you need to forgive a family member or someone who you have been close to.

In this video our team member and facilitator Joe shares his own experiences with forgiveness. How he has practiced forgiveness in his life with his alcoholic father, and he shares a practical step that you can take if you need to find forgiveness for someone in your life.

Joe shares his experiences with forgiveness


Hi there, my name is Joe Holtaway, one of the facilitators.

And given the theme, this month of forgiveness, I come to this part in London, and I wanted to walk with you a while and talk about my father, and how forgiveness relates to my relationship with my father.

So my father has, for many years previous to my birth had an addiction to alcohol. And I think probably something that started very recreationally. He’s a wonderful man when it comes to social interactions. But it became quite an issue kind of previous to my birth, I understand. And then through my childhood, into the separation of my parents, when I was about seven or eight years old. I remember my dad being such a loving man. And that continues to this day.

And I wanted to record something to say what, what brought me to a place of love with my father, which was forgiveness, and how that works.

So my earliest memories of my father and how it impacted on our lives were that he wasn’t around so much, he’d often be at local pubs and bars. And yeah, I understand later, that was many ultimatums and many other agreements that my parents made, about how things were changed.

Ultimately, they didn’t change enough and, and my dad went back home to live with his mother. And we moved, when I was about eight years old, we continue to see my dad around that time. And he was always very present with myself and my brother in his very loving and playful way. And that’s something that really stays with me, while there must have been so much difficulty, especially because I’m the age now that he was there. But it must have been so hard. But still, he did it and he loved us.

But still there are problems. Often, if we’re within for a longer period of time, longer than the weekend that maybe for a week or something, then going to a local pub with him would have been something that we did. Also, there were a number of times when I caught a taxi and go back home to my grandmother’s his mother.

So and we talked about it a bit as I grew up, and but my dad didn’t really engage in the conversation too much. And more talked about it with my mom or with my grandmother. And both of them said that it was something that was inherited. And I felt in that there was some forgiveness from them. Something that was inherited by society, by culture, and also by family.

I think one thing that really helped me and I think this is what I wanted to share about mostly was a meditation that I started to do when I was probably in my mid 20s. I’m now in my late 30s. And that was a meditation on my father as a child.

In this meditation, you imagine someone that you had difficulty with as a child. And with that comes an awareness of vulnerability, and possible insecurities, and also a societal and cultural elements that shape them. I saw my dad struggle. And I also saw that he’d made such progress.

We now have a good relationship. I see him a couple of times a year. And we still do go to the pub. And I drink my green tea and he still has a couple of beers a day. But I do believe there’s been a settling and an understanding that’s reached in me.

And I think my dad feels that and I really feel His love. And I feel Thank you. Maybe that’s interesting, and maybe that’s useful too.

By Frankie Dewar<br>
By Frankie Dewar

Starting her mindfulness journey during University, Frankie is passionate about making mindfulness accessible.

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Frankie Dewar