Holding grudges, harboring unforgiveness, staying mad at someone, being bitter about a circumstance or situation - they're all the same. They all lead to that continued frown on your face. Effect the way you interact with and treat others. Hold you back from experiencing internal freedom. And perpetuates anger and hatred. Choosing to remain bitter only hurts you. It does not adversely impact the person you're mad at as you may believe. Nor will it change the circumstances you complain to everyone about on a near daily basis.
Granted, there are many tragic incidents that occur in life which give most a sense of entitlement to continue to be mad or bitter, and rightfully so. Many have been victims of various crimes, childhood abuse, sexual assault, or have experienced betrayal from someone near and dear. A situation or circumstance may not have gone according to planned, or an unfortunate unforeseen incident may occur which seems to turn your entire world upside-down. However, at some point, you have to decide to allow the grieving process to not stop at anger, rage and resentment. Yes, it is completely normal to experience anger when these occurrences arise. Yet, unpacking your bags and deciding to stay in your unforgiving place will ultimately hurt you more.
Acknowledging the expected feelings and thoughts you experience during a difficult challenge will enable you to feel the emotion. It's as if you are giving yourself permission to FEEL. This is a good thing! So many want to pretend as if they don't feel anything at all, and that they are completely unbothered by any and everything that happens in life. This "numbing" method only delays the healing and forgiveness process.
A part of healing and forgiving includes giving yourself permission to feel whatever emotion is necessary to clear the internal blockages that you may have revolving around a person or situation. I'll share my own experience as an example. It took me nearly three decades to heal and forgive my abusive and alcoholic father. I thought he didn't "deserve" my forgiveness and that by forgiving him, I was excusing his behaviors and sending this message that what he did was okay. This is the furthest from the truth! I later realized that forgiveness was for me! I had been so bitter and resentful for so long, that I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. When I finally forgave my dad, I felt a sense of relief, as if a huge burden had been lifted from me. I felt lighter. This was the moment I realized forgiveness was more about my own freedom, rather than letting someone else "off the hook."
Being more aware of your own thoughts, feelings, and also having a good understanding of who you are as a person can also help you along your forgiveness journey. If you tend to be one with high expectations, you may often feel disappointed when others don't measure up to what or how you think or feel they should be. Maybe you can identify this as an area to improve upon. Meaning, when you constantly expect someone to do or be something, and they don't deliver according to your high demanding standards, this can leave you feeling disappointed. You may find yourself slowly beginning to resent that person as well. Now, let me ask you, is this their fault or your fault? Did you ever articulate your expectations? Or, did you keep them inside of your mind while expecting the other person to telepathically know what you were thinking? Is the disappointment you're experiencing a direct result of the other person failing to deliver, or you failing to either articulate what your expectations were, or setting unrealistic expectations?
A part of the forgiveness process is accepting some accountability in your part to play in how you feel. Sometimes, no one has done anything at all to you. Sometimes your own stinking thinking is to blame. By placing blame on someone else, you allow the resentment to linger, which ultimately keeps you stuck. This also holds true for situations that may warrant your rage. However, at some point, you have to decide to let it go.
Bitterness can make someone mean and nasty, causing one to not operate from a place of love or peace, rather hostility and hatred. Forgiving others can be challenging at times, but forgiving yourself can be an even greater task.
Sometimes it's hard not to beat yourself up for all of the times you should've, could've or would've done or not done something. We think about mistakes made and choices not made. We contemplate on the times we were impatient and the times we didn't act due to fear. The times we didn't let someone go the first time we knew we should have and the time we didn't hold onto someone a little longer can plague a soul. These are all a part of the growing pains of life. By learning to embrace the lessons learned, allowing those learned lessons to hone our wisdom, and then apply it to our lives is how we evolve and develop into the best version of ourselves. Knowledge is not power. The application of knowledge is power. If you are learning and applying lessons learned, all is not lost. Forgive yourself!
I challenge you to stop waiting on that apology to forgive someone. I challenge you to stop replaying that old circumstance in your mind over and over again in hopes to change the outcome. It is keeping you stuck. I challenge you to stop blaming everyone else for your own misery and start accepting some accountability for your own choices, thoughts, feelings and actions. I challenge you to decide to let go of any and everything that is no longer serving you best so that you can evolve into the best possible person you can be! I challenge you to forgive today!
P.S. Have you gotten a chance to join my private transformational support group on Facebook? If not, I encourage you to subscribe and then head on over there and join my community of others who are committed to transforming their lives from the inside-out! I share insight, inspirational content, and much more! You don’t want to miss out on this awesome opportunity! Once you become a member, please share how this blog post resonated with you the most. I would love to hear from you!