June 26 is Forgiveness Day, a designated 24 hour period in which to forgive and/or be forgiven. We know it’s hard (often near impossible) to let go of the anger, free yourself of the resentment or guilt, grant that pardon, or accept that “I’m sorry.” But considering what these 10 women you should know have to say on the matter, forgiveness might just be a concept and day worth embracing.

As for that little matter of forgetting… well, it probably needs its own special day! But more power to you if you can tackle both.


Hannah More (1745-1833), educator, poet, writer, social reformer, abolitionist

“Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.”


Joan Lunden, journalist, author, TV host

“Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life.”


Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), political theorist

“Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.”


Louise L. Hay (1926-2017), motivational author and the founder of Hay House

“Forgiveness is for yourself because it frees you. It lets you out of that prison you put yourself in.”


Maya Angelou (1928-2014), celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist

“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”


Sue Monk Kidd, bestselling author

“I learned a long time ago that some people would rather die than forgive. It’s a strange truth, but forgiveness is a painful and difficult process. It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s an evolution of the heart.”


Alice Duer Miller (1874-1942), poet, novelist, feminist

“Genuine forgiveness does not deny anger but faces it head-on.”


Erma Bombeck (1927-1996), humorist, newspaper columnist

“There is only one thing harder in this world than forgiving. It’s to ask forgiveness armed only with, ‘I’m sorry.'”


Patty Duke (1946-2016), stage, screen, TV actress

“It’s toughest to forgive ourselves. So it’s probably best to start with other people. It’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself.”


Anne Lamott, from Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”