Forgiveness refers to the act of decreasing negative feelings toward someone who has hurt or offended the self. Sometimes forgiveness entails replacing negative feelings with positive feelings. However, many researchers believe that the reduction of negative emotions is sufficient.

Scholarly definitions of forgiveness often do not align with definitions held by the lay public, and these different definitions have created confusion. Thus, many researchers who study forgiveness start their writings by describing what forgiveness is not. To forgive someone does not mean forgetting or downplaying an offense. It does not mean behaving in a weak or timid manner, failing to hold offenders accountable or pretending that no offense occurred. People can forgive without trusting their offenders or choosing to have close relationships with them. Forgiveness is ...

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