Ua Ola Loko i Ke Aloha (Love Gives Life Within)

Mindful Forgiveness with Aloha


  • Melinda Lloyd Liliʻuokalani Trust
  • Shelly Tokunaga-May Aʻaliʻi Alliance
  • Laura Pokipala Liliʻuokalani Trust
  • Staci Hanashiro Liliʻuokalani Trust


Aloha, mindfulness, forgiveness


Aloha is more than a greeting of “hello” and “good-bye.” Native Hawaiians believe Aloha is a foundational cultural value encompassing love, compassion, and respect. Mindful Forgiveness is a process of releasing negative emotions and thoughts towards a person, or persons, or event (e.g., COVID, cancer) who has caused a grievance, harm, or offense to increase feelings of hope and peace. In this paper, we explore the role of Aloha in enhancing the Mindful Forgiveness process. Via a peer support group with individuals practicing Mindful Forgiveness, we found that incorporating Aloha values and practices into the forgiveness process helped participants let go of resentment and anger towards the grievance and offender and led to increased feelings of peace and well-being in a cultural context. Moʻolelo (stories) and our lived experiences and other findings suggest that incorporating the values and practices of Aloha into Mindful Forgiveness may deeply enhance the therapeutic benefits of releasing grievances and facilitating healing. Further research is needed to fully understand the potentiality of Aloha in promoting Mindful Forgiveness with Aloha in healing grievances and kaumaha (heavy grief).  



Burrage, R. L., Antone, M. M., Kaniaupio, K. N., & Rapozo, K. L. (2021). A culturally informed scoping review of Native Hawaiian mental health and emotional well-being literature. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 30(1-2), 13-25.

Clarke, K., & Yellow Bird, M. (2021). Decolonizing Pathways towards Integrative Healing in Social Work. Taylor & Francis.

Duane, A., Casimir, A. E., Mims, L. C., Kaler-Jones, C., & Simmons, D. (2021). Beyond deep breathing: A new vision for equitable, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed mindfulness practice. Middle School Journal, 52(3), 4-14.

Enright, R. D., & Fitzgibbons, R. P. (2015). Forgiveness therapy: A treatment manual for helping clients forgive. Journal of Counseling & Development, 93(1), 10-19.

Kanahele, P. (2014). Aloha-Based Mindful Forgiveness: A New Perspective. Journal of Spirituality and Psychology.

Kanaka'ole, K. (2013). The Aloha Spirit and Mindful Forgiveness: An Empirical Study. Journal of Positive Psychology.

Kaulukukui, J. (2012). The Aloha Spirit and Mindful Forgiveness: A Cultural Analysis. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.

Kawakami, K. (2019). The Role of Aloha in Mindful Forgiveness: A Theoretical Perspective. Journal of Religion and Health.

Kekoa, P. (2017). The Practice of Mindful Forgiveness in the Aloha Tradition. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology.

Keith, R. (2021). The Aloha Mindset: A Framework for Mindful Forgiveness. Journal of Positive Psychology.

Krishnamurti, T., & Hare, L. E. (2017). Forgiveness, aloha, and well-being: A qualitative study of Hawaiian women. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 30(4), 338-351.

Lee, J. (2018). Aloha and Mindful Forgiveness: A Cultural Perspective. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.

Loo, J. (2015). The Aloha Mindset and Mindful Forgiveness: A Review. Journal of Social Psychology.

Lui, K. (2016). Mindful Forgiveness in the Aloha Spirit: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Humanistic Psychology.

Luskin, F. (2016). Forgive for Good. Harper One.

Meyer, M. A. (1998). Native Hawaiian epistemology: Sites of empowerment and resistance. Equity & Excellence, 31(1), 22-28.

Nakamura, M. (2020). Mindful Forgiveness in the Aloha Spirit: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health.

Paglinawan, L. (2022). Forming Culturally-Informed Professional Identities for Social Workers and Pre-Medicine Students [Webinar]. University of Hawaii Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health.

Paglinawan, L. K., Paglinawan, R. L., Kauahi, D., Kanuha, V. K., & Kalahele, I. (2020). Nānā i ke Kumu: Helu ʻEkolu (Volume Three). Liliuokalani Trust.

Pukui, M. K. E. (1983). ʻOlelo Noʻeau: Hawaiian proverbs & poetical sayings (Vol. 71). Bishop Museum Press.

Pukui, M. K. E. & Elbert, S. H. (1986). Hawaiian Dictionary: Hawaiian-english english-hawaiian revised and enlarged edition. University of Hawaii Press.

Rhyss, JoYi (2018). Mindful Forgiveness Training and Companion Booklet. Moxie Fitness.

Serna, A. K. (2020). Living Hawaiian Values: Terror Management Theory Applied to Native Hawaiian Youth. Journal of Liberal Arts and Humanities, 1(7), 20-32.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014). SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4884. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Witvliet, C. V., Ludwig, T. E., & Vander Laan, K. L. (2007). Granting forgiveness or harboring grudges: Implications for emotion, physiology, and health. Psychological Science, 18(9), 772-780.