So what is forgiveness?
“Forgiveness is a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness”Definition
Now for me, the act of forgiving someone whether they deserved it or not was tough. To me, forgiving the people who had done bad things to me was a sign of weakness and in my eyes, letting go of that pain, of the resentment, was giving permission to the other person to behave badly. That it was okay for them to treat me the way that they did. It was okay for them to lie to me, to abuse me, and to leave me feeling inadequate. I was having none of it! Nope. Not here. No thank you.
What I didn’t realise was that holding onto that resentment, not letting go only really hurt me, and it hurt me badly. My emotional and mental well-being was shot to pieces. The most hilarious thing about it was I didn’t think I was resentful, man, I was so wrong. If resentments were a physical object, I reckon, I would’ve been crushed by the weight, they were heavy. What I’ve learned is:
‘Forgetting about something is not forgiving. I will say that again. Forgetting about something, not having it at the forefront of your mind, is not forgiving someone.’
You might be thinking you don’t resent people, well resentment comes in many forms. I will name a few:
- Feeling irritated
- Holding a grudge
How many times have you been in a situation where you’ll be watching something on the tele and you will get properly emotionally riled up? The self-righteous part of you will rise with all guns blazing wanting to protect the victim. ‘God, how could they treat people like this? It is disgusting what they’re doing…etc.’ Usually, when there’s an emotional charge attached, there’s a part of you that needs healing, there’s a part of you that is still hurt from a past experience that left you feeling like the victim. I still have my triggers. When I see people getting bullied, it gets my back up, why? Because I was bullied and there is still a part of me that feels hurt by that. A part of me hasn’t let go of that pain. Maybe, you have you been in a situation where you’ve thought about an ex and it sends your mood through the roof and you’re Googling the ways in which you can get back at your ex? (I never did that by the way lol) Although, I did resent my ex, A LOT! I’ve resented a lot of people…
As I said before, holding onto resentment, a grudge, the feeling of being badly done to and not forgiving or letting go, was so detrimental to my own mental and emotional well-being. Why? Because I felt like a victim, I felt powerless over my environment, and I felt weak, I felt like I didn’t matter.
My teacher, Master Sha, so clearly shares…
“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves”Master Sha
By holding onto resentment, I was quite literally digging a grave for myself. I was angry, I was sooooo angry, did it help? No. It pushed me further into emotional isolation. I felt alone, I felt inadequate and I let the voice in my head batter me with abuse. By stewing on how much I resented someone I indirectly punished myself because it just confirmed what I already thought about myself. That I didn’t deserve to be happy, that I didn’t deserve anything worth having…
Not only that but holding onto the resentments that I had picked up from my past experiences began to affect my other relationships not only at home but at work too. It affected who I was on the inside, it affected how I showed up in the world. Holding onto resentments actually sent me deeper into my own head, which was a very dangerous place…I lived from the ego, from my defence mode, I didn’t trust anyone and I always thought someone had an agenda. Living this way is NOT THE WAY TO LIVE. Constantly second-guessing people’s actions etc. is really, really not enjoyable and I wouldn’t recommend it, you’re constantly in survival mode. It ain’t good…