In forgiveness, we usually start out the "fixing" of our mind by believing that someone ELSE is at fault. That the cause is external. It's usually a split minded state, riddled with dissociation, denial and projection. Scapegoating is happening and fingers are being pointed.
The general consensus is that you then work on unravelling this "confused" state of mind, recognizing your part in it, taking back the projecting, undoing the inner sin and guilt beliefs etc, to return to a state of love and peace.
What occurs to me though, is that over the much larger course of time, we are moving gradually out of "general false perception" towards "general true perception". And that entire process takes a considerable amount of effort. And there is a parallel to what we seem to do in our "little forgivenesses".
In effect, we all start out in quite heavy false perception, body identified, projecting often, filled with guilt and sin, fearful and blameful, confused and dissociated, in denial and scapegoating all over the place. We are "low" on the ladder.
Even if we do a forgiveness in that state, which may seem "complete" if done well, we still basically are quite low on the ladder. There is much more to be corrected and undone than can be done in one little forgiveness effort.
Over time we sort of "accumulate" the effects of all these forgivenesses and gradually move our mind, in general, up the ladder towards the atonement. Or towards "consistent forgiveness".
It takes a lot of purification work, dealing with life lessons, working through our personal curriculum, meeting people, forming and breaking relationships etc, to move all the way up to the forgiveness state of atonement.
In effect what we're really doing is just one BIG LONG forgiveness, in bite sized chunks, based on specific seeming situations, taking small steps gradually up the ladder each time.
As a result of this, I think, we start to "in general" lift up out of the darkness, so that overall, or most of the time, we're not quite as low and dark as we used to be. And as we chisel away at the granite block of sin, we gradually lift up higher. We're really moving slowly away from false perception - the starting point of unforgiveness - towards true perception - the final climax of TOTAL forgiveness.
So we can say, forgiveness is really not "finished" per se until your mind is in a complete forgiveness state, which would mean accepting the atonement IN FULL. And each forgiveness we do, tends to be in little pockets or bite sized chunks. We take each as far as we can shifting from false to true perception, but there is still a lot of baggage in the background - more stuff to be forgiven, before we can consistently live in an elevated state.
If you do a particularly strong and deep forgiveness, you can in fact take it all the way to atonement truth, in which sinlessness is recognized, innocence is accepted, healing is received and God's love is welcomed. This can be quite intense and profound and curative. But most likely it's not the end of your work, because there's a lot of other stuff buried in the mind, like layers of an onion, the next one being lined up for you to start working on right away.
Gradually we move up towards total forgiveness, just as in EACH forgiveness effort we're trying to get OUT of false perceptions into TRUE perceptions. If we REALLY did a really powerful super-deep thoroughly extensive forgiveness, we would perhaps wipe out all our ego in one swoop. But is that really likely for most of us? Not really. We take bites out of it. We deal with the current "form" of the overall one lesson, and we gradually generalize the learning.
"The Holy Spirit will repeat this ONE inclusive lesson of deliverance, until it has been learned, REGARDLESS of the form of suffering that brings you pain. Whatever hurt you bring to Him, He will make answer with this very simple truth. For this one answer TAKES AWAY the cause of every form of sorrow and of pain. The form affects His answer not at all, for He would teach you but the SINGLE cause of all of them, no matter WHAT their form. And you will understand that miracles reflect the simple statement, "I have done this thing, and it is this I would undo."
So really, until we reach total complete and unconditional forgiveness as a constant state, we have not really finished forgiving, and have not really completely moved out of our false perceptions. Mind correction can be a long road and take a lot of time, depending on where you're at. But eventually, gradually, we inch closer to the whole truth and each forgiveness effort we undertake helps to boost us a little more further towards it.
We could say, honestly, that the notion of doing a TOTAL forgiveness, fully successfully, having just forgiven one person or one problem or one form, is highly unlikely. Even if you feel that you forgave someone and let go, there's likely plenty more in your mind to forgive yet. In all truth, forgiveness is a gradual and unfolding process of many bursts of correction in many areas, until the whole thing culminates in a climax of perfection.
Probably the notion that "you're done" when you feel good about ONE problem, is really based on the blocks to awareness, whereby the conscious mind is not yet aware that there's a shitload more to work on yet buried behind denial. Just because you clear out your conscious mind at this time, doesn't mean you have dealt with your entire psychological baggage, or the totality of the ego thought system. There's plenty more where that came from!
In time, we are gradually brightening our light, sharpening our reason, clearing our mind, and ascending upwards towards heaven.