A Guide to Forgiveness for the High Holidays

A Guide To Forgiveness For The High Holidays

As the high holidays approach, you get to create a life where you feel deeply connected to yourself and the people around you.  

Are you committing to being bold and brave this new year? 

This is an opportunity to clear the ‘stories’ you have about people in your life, the ‘stories’ that are preventing you from being present and truly in relationship with them or yourself. This is a powerful way to understand forgiveness, so much of the work we can do within our own minds. This is simple yet, mindblowing! 

Personal Reflections on My Relationship with My Mom

I created a story that my mom and I were always in a power dynamic so I was interacting with her and living as if that was true and felt threatened or, that I couldn’t do certain things at different public events because in my head that was her space to shine; when in reality, that was all happening in my head.

I remember when I cleared the story with her, with the same steps I share below, she had no trace of that story and it was a powerful opening to a conversation about what we want to create in our relationship. It was important for me to understand how much of a story it was for me, and by taking full responsibility and it being about me and things I had been self-conscious about and by clearing it I can now be fully in the relationship with myself and my mom in a way I couldn’t before. 

What relationships in your life do you wish were stronger, better, more connected? Are you ready? Grab a journal, a pen and an open mind and respond to the following prompts:

1. Make a list of important people in your life, both people you have strong relationships with and those relationships that keep you up at night or take up a lot of mental space. 

Start by choosing two and answer these questions:

2. What am I pretending or hiding in this relationship? 

3. What do I resent about this person or the relationship?

Now, take a step back and internalize this.

All that you wrote about above is “your story,” it is the meaning you put to whatever happened. This is a harsh reality to hear, and the most liberating. By understanding that you put the meaning to that person/interaction, you can now free yourself from holding onto regret, resentment or stifled self-expression. You are the one that attached meaning to that interaction, and now you interact with that person with that clouded story in between you two. Whether you feel it or not, it is affecting your relationship. Also, I want to remind you how human this patterning is, AND, we don’t have to be victims and just live with it, we get to work together to create a new reality to live into.

By holding onto that story you are getting a payoff for feeling RIGHT and making them WRONG but, let’s get real, holding onto that payoff is keeping you from some HUGE costs, like actually being in a real relationship with that person, feeling love, connection, self-expression, fulfillment, and the list goes on. 

4. What did I do (concrete interactions) that I want to take responsibility for?

Go one step further, why did I do that? Did I feel threatened, jealous, left out, misunderstood?

For example: “I kept distant from her in certain situations because I felt like we were in competition and I felt conscious about being the daughter and I having to wait my turn and therefore misunderstood.” You get this was all happening in my head. 

Your behavior might have been masking your pain and vulnerability. This is a step to own our pain and vulnerability as an opening there to teach us something about ourselves and an opportunity to the deepest form of connection with another person, sharing vulnerability and taking off our hat of ‘looking good’, it is so worth it. 

5. What would be possible in that relationship if (insert resentment/frustration/story) was not present? 

6. What do you see possible for your relationship with (insert person’s name)? Dream Big! 

For example: “I see the possibility that my mom and I can share any ‘stage’ and both shine because we aren’t in competition together and at family gatherings, I can share my strong voice confidentially without any story about what she will think, because there is no story here anymore.”  

I am inviting you this new year season, to give up BEING RIGHT. And, I know you have reasons and considerations as to why you are right, and yes, they might be true, but let me ask you this, what are you sacrificing in that relationship by holding onto that? What is that cost that you are giving up for being right instead? Is it worth it? 

7. Consider these two options

Option 1:

If your clearing ‘that story’ it’s truly clean and you are giving it up for the possibility in the relationship, then you can go to that person and say…

“I have been making up a story that (insert story), and I want you to know that I made that whole story up, and I am taking responsibility for that story, I now realize I made it up because I felt (threatened, hurt, misunderstood), and my clearing this story I see so much possibility for our relationship (insert possibility), because (insert gratitudes and appreciations about them and your relationship).”

IMPORTANT: The key is that you truly truly need to give up that story, and it takes work so you can also ask that person or someone else that is dear to you to be your ally, that if they see that patterning or behavior connected to an old story come up, to nicely point it out and you can create an alliance around how they do that with you.


“I have been making up a story that (insert story about the impact of what you did to them), and I want you to know that I am taking responsibility for that story, I now realize I made it up because I felt (threatened, hurt, misunderstood), and that is not an excuse, I take responsibility for how that impacted you. And, I see so much possibility for our relationship (insert possibility), because (insert gratitudes and appreciations about them and your relationship).”

Option 2:

You can do this work and not need to clear it with them and the key here is to tell someone else in your life that can hold you accountable for acting differently in the relationship you journaled about. 

Next Steps After Reflections

This is an invitation to go into the Jewish New Year season taking a step beyond symbolic repentance, beginning the new year on a high, one that is pure, authentic and in integrity.

This guide is about cleaning up your relationships with others. To deep dive into yourself and your goals for whatever new season you are entering into, join me in an in-person two hour intention setting experience in Chicago, and if you are not local, there will also be a digital experience too, for those celebrating any kind of ‘new beginning.’ Looking forward to leading you through these experiences to start the new year living into your possibilities. 

Discount code available for $10.00 tickets for the first few that sign up use code ‘ChiTribe’ at checkout. 

New Year, New Chapter, New Day = New Possibilities


Nasya Miller is an educator, facilitator, and coach in Chicago and a contributor to ChiTribe’s community. You can find more about her on her platform Wide Open Spaces LLC or on her Instagram @nasya.miller

Nasya Miller

Nasya Miller