Letting go of grudges and bitterness
When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment, and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward.
Just about all of us at one time or another has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps you were the unjustly treated by a colleague, or your partner had an affair, or you may have been the victim of abuse. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance therefore damaging your emotional state of mind— if you don’t practice forgiveness you might be the one who pays most dearly, un-forgiveness can lead us down a path of bitterness and hate.
When you’re hurt by someone you love and trust, you may become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurt events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you may find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. If you’re unforgiving, you may pay the price repeatedly by bringing anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Your life might be so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present, and may even find yourself at odds with your spiritual beliefs.
What is forgiveness?
Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lesson its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.
By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace of mind, hope and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path to physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
How do I reach a state of forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you might:
- Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time.
- Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life and well-being.
- When you’re ready, actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you.
- Move away from your roll as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life.
As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt.
You might even find compassion and understanding.