Forgiveness is a powerful healing agent. Forgiving others (NOT making excuses for or condoning their behavior, mind you!) is the quickest route to self-acceptance and inner peace because it releases us from carrying a heavy burden of hurt and resentment. To forgive means to let go of the beliefs about others that generate our pain.
Hating those who did hurtful things to us will not save us, forgiving them will. The first creates more pain for us, the other releases us from pain.
When we insist on hanging on to how they hurt us, we go on hurting ourselves with those thoughts. When we see matter-of-factly, what they did, but choose to focus on the lessons and gifts that came from the situation, rather than to fixate on how we were victimized, we move into a more empowering, positive, and high-frequency place. Such higher frequency thoughts bring healing and more affirming life experiences.
Forgiveness comes when we insist on letting their behavior be about them, rather than to make their behavior into an attack against us. We are kinder to ourself, as a result. It doesn't mean we deny what those who act destructively are capable of, or that we wouldn't act to safeguard ourselves, and our loved ones from them, it's just that we do it from a place of loving ourselves, rather than needing to punish or “show them.”
In other words, our ability to forgive comes directly from our ability to love ourselves.