Resentment and Forgiveness
What is the price for holding a resentment?
To experience resentment is to relive an offense that injured you in the past. Broken down, the word “resent” means “re” (again) “sent” (feel or sense). By refusing to give up a “justified resentment,” you may believe that you are punishing the person who wronged you. However, resentful behavior actually leads you to feel hurt and victimized again, disempowered.To let go of resentment would be to experience increased freedom and mental health.
Why might it be tempting to harbor resentment?
- It gives the illusion of power and control.
- It provides energy and impetus to get things done.
- It is a way to avoid uncomfortable communication.
- It seems to offer protection from vulnerability, a way to feel safe.
- It allows a person to feel “right.”
- It may provoke guilt in others.
- It is a way to avoid the feelings under the anger.
- It is a way to continue to hold on to a relationship that might otherwise end.
- It allows a person to avoid responsibility and stay in the role of victim.
Steps for Self-Forgiveness
- Acknowledge the truth of what you have done and how it has affected others.
- Take responsibility for what you have done without blaming or making excuses.
- Make amends and repair damage in whatever ways you can.
- Learn from the experience by acknowledging the deeper feelings that motivated the behaviors for which you now feel guilty.
- Open your heart to yourself.
- Let go of the past and bring your attention to the present moment.
- Heal emotional wounds by taking care of yourself in healthy and responsible ways.
- Affirm your fundamental goodness.
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