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The Long Path to Immediate Forgiveness

by Lorraine Segal
July 2015

Conflict Remedy Blog by Lorraine Segal

Lorraine Segal

I had a short lived fight with my wife, Linda, recently that I actually feel good about, because it shows the positive results of my ( and her) long hard work on forgiveness.

The situation:

It was Wednesday, when my wife does the weekly grocery shopping, and there was no turkey or salad greens for my usual lunch until she got home. I came back from errands and the gym at 2pm, ravenous, and she was still not back from the grocery store.

I was waiting, chopping vegetables, and getting grumpier by the minute, muttering to myself judgmental statements like,”Why can’t she get it together to leave earlier? It’s outrageous that she isn’t home yet.”

The Accusations

When she finally got home at 2:30, we had an “I’m so irritated and irrational that I’ll bite your head off” fight, with accusations and defensive counter accusations of the four year old temper tantrum variety flying back and forth. She stomped out of the kitchen, and I continued chopping.

The Transformation

A few minutes later, she came back into the kitchen, and we had a very different conversation.

Linda: (calmly and sincerely) You know, we don’t have to stay mad at each other.

Me: (genuine and curious) We don’t?

Linda: No, we don’t.

Me: Ok. I’m done then. I love you.

Linda: I love you too.


And the miracle was, we both were truly finished with the argument. It never came up again; there was no more irritation or resentment about that incident.

Of course, it was a silly argument in the first place, but that hadn’t stopped us in the past from being mad and holding a grudge for a much longer time.

 So what helped me let go so quickly?

  • Having done a lot of work to gently look at my flaws, emotional triggers, and negative character traits so I can acknowledge them, and compassionately work to heal and surrender them instead of acting them out.
  • Remembering all the times in our 25 years together when I did hold a grudge for hours or even days following a disagreement and how awful and terribly long it felt that we were distant and at odds, and how challenging it was to make our way back to love and harmony.
  • Remembering that my wife, like me, is a loveable, amazing, imperfect human being and deserves compassion and understanding.
  • Finding willingness to let my inner child, who is angry only for a moment, guide me in letting go.
  • Realizing that life is simply too short to hold resentments. It is no longer how I want to spend my time.


Lorraine Segal is a certified Conflict Management coach and teacher, specializing in communication and conflict resolution in the workplace. For many years a middle manager and tenured community college professor, she has her own business, Conflict Remedy LLC.

In her organizational consulting, classes, and coaching, she helps people learn new skills, get “unstuck” from negative stories, and shift their patterns of thinking and reacting so they can learn to: communicate clearly, resolve conflict effectively, and contribute to a more harmonious and productive workplace.

She currently teaches at Sonoma State University, Santa Rosa Junior College, and St. Joseph Health Life Learning Center (Memorial Hospital) and works with various businesses and organizations. 

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