Respondents in a Global Survey on Forgiveness, with responses from 18 different nationalities, agree on one thing — there is not enough forgiveness in the world today.

The World Needs More Forgiveness. Especially Within Families

January 11, 2017 — A global research study conducted late last year reveals many differences held around the world with regards to forgiveness, except for one thing — 88% of the respondents agreed there is not enough forgiveness in the world.

Conducted in September and October, the Project You Global Survey on Forgiveness received responses from 18 different nationalities and one respondent who identified herself as a “world citizen.” 

“This is an astonishing response,” notes Steven Howard, co-founder of Project You, which conducted the survey. “Equally astonishing is that 39% of the respondents to our survey said members of their own families are not forgiving at all, while another 16% said that their family members were not forgiving very often. No wonder people feel there is insufficient forgiveness in today’s world.”


The survey also revealed the large levels of reluctance to take action is a key hurdle preventing more forgiveness in the world. Over 45% of respondents said their instinctive first reaction, if asked to forgive one person in their life right now, would be “no way.”


In addition, a full 35% selected the option of “do nothing” when asked in a subsequent question what action they would take with regards to a person with whom they are currently in conflict.


When asked what is holding them back from forgiveness, 31% said pride while another 30% indicated anger as the chief cause.


Self-forgiveness is also a key challenge for many, with only one in five respondents (21%) in this global survey on forgiveness stating they have no difficulties in forgiving themselves. For the remainder, they often or always have some difficulty in forgiving themselves.


Lastly, the survey shows that forgiveness on a national or workplace level is highly situational.


42% said forgiveness in the country in which they live for someone who has done something wrong “depends on the situation.” Only 18% felt such forgiveness happens “most of the time.”


However, 19% said forgiveness happens “not very often” and 3% felt forgiveness doesn’t happen at all in the countries in which they live.


Similar responses were received regarding forgiveness in the workplace. When asked “how forgiving is the workplace in the company or organization in which you are employed?” over one-third of the respondents (35%) said it depends on the situation. Another 12% said “sometimes” and a full 31% said “most of the time.” Only 3% believe their workplaces for forgiving “all the time.”


“Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we do as humans,” says Howard, the co-editor of the Project You personal development book series. “But it is also one of the most beneficial things we can do for ourselves.”


“One of the outcomes from these survey results,” adds Howard, “is that Project You will shortly embark on a series of initiatives to encourage people to consciously be more forgiving in their lives. There is too much anger, fury, and antagonism in today’s world, as we all witnessed last year with Brexit, the tonality of the U.S. election, and increasing incivility in the workplace across the globe. We are encouraging everyone to consider how they can intentionally be more forgiving in 2017, even to the point of adding forgiveness to their New Year’s Resolutions.”


Responses to the Project You Global Survey on Forgiveness were received from 18 different nationalities, as self-indicated in an optional question: Argentinian, American, Australian, British, Canadian, Dutch, English, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Malaysian, Pakistani, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Sicilian, Singaporean, and the one woman who identified herself as a World Citizen.


The detailed survey results can be downloaded from the Resources Section of the Project You website by clicking this link: 2016 Project You Global Survey on Forgiveness


Media Contact:

Steven Howard

(760) 835-7870