I don’t think I possess the capacity to hold grudges. I mean that literally, in terms of quantity, space, dimensions. This is because the volume of emotions I feel on a regular basis leaves little room for anything else. I am ballooning with pent-up feelings. I also don’t hold grudges because even when I’ve been wronged, I somehow find a reason to blame myself. “I must have done something to deserve to be treated in this manner,” is how I rationalize it. Moreover, while my pride often prevents me from apologizing, I rather readily accept apologies from most people. I am a lover, not a fighter, which makes me a rather poor sparring partner.

Refusing to forgive someone is understandable under certain circumstances. The hurt may be too deep or a transgression too cruel. However, when a person is completely unwilling to forgive, it can reveal a great deal about his or her character. According to research we conducted at Queendom, some people who refuse to forgive may themselves be on shaky moral ground.

Collecting data from nearly 1,000 people who took our Integrity and Work Ethics Test, we focused on two distinct groups: Those who are willing to forgive others and those who are not. What our study revealed is a series of “red flags” in the personality profile of the unforgiving group, including the following traits:

(Note: Scores range on a scale from 0 to 100)


  • Score for Forgiving group: 17
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 61

Schadenfreude (otherwise known as taking pleasure in the misery/suffering of others)

  • Score for Forgiving group: 14
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 51


  • Score for Forgiving group: 17
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 50

Cynical view of humanity

  • Score for Forgiving group: 29
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 55

Disdain for weakness in others

  • Score for Forgiving group: 23
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 51

Disdain for gullible people

  • Score for Forgiving group: 27
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 52

Sense of Entitlement

  • Score for Forgiving group: 30
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 51


On the flipside, people who show a willingness to forgive also possess other commendable traits, including the following:

Willingness to practice discretion

  • Score for Forgiving group: 78
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 58


  • Score for Forgiving group: 82
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 64


  • Score for Forgiving group: 85
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 69


  • Score for Forgiving group: 86
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 73


  • Score for Forgiving group: 90
  • Score for Unforgiving group: 79

In some cases, an unwillingness to forgive is just one piece of a mosaic of troubling traits. Our study has shown that at least some of the people in our unforgiving group are not necessarily saints themselves, and show potential for cruelty and malice. Now, this tendency to refuse to accept apologies could stem from a deep sense of hurt or betrayal, or even a sense of self-preservation: That you have to be cruel in order to survive in an already cruel world. The thing is, an unwillingness to forgive could also be the result of a lack of empathy, and a misguided attempt to even the score.

You don’t have to forgive someone who has wronged you – that is your prerogative. Personally, if a person shows no remorse or doesn’t even attempt to make some sort of amends, I will write them off. But I’ve come to understand that forgiveness is a release, a form of catharsis, and this is particularly true if you’re the one who has been wronged. When you truly forgive someone, you are essentially giving yourself the freedom to release all the negative energy you have been holding onto -the sadness, the sense of betrayal, the anger, the bitterness, the desire for vengeance. Holding on to these feelings for too long will sap your sense of joy and peace of mind. It’s a waste of emotional energy, and serves no purpose but to remind you of the past. The only way to let go of the pain is to learn to forgive.


Insightfully yours,

Queen D