The root cause of negative emotions, the main factor that predisposes a person to blaming and to anger and resentment, fear and doubt, envy and jealousy, is the inability to forgive someone we feel has hurt us in some way.
As we develop as children, we go through a phase where "justice" is very important to us. We fixate on the concept of "fairness." We are upset by any situation in our lives that does not seem to be fair and equitable to anyone, especially if it concerns ourselves. Whenever we feel that we or anyone else has been unfairly treated, for any reason, we take it as a personal attack. Our fragile self-esteem is threatened. We react with anger and resentment. This is a normal developmental phase of growth that we go through as we move toward adulthood.
However, some people fixate at this stage and never grow beyond it. If we are not taught the importance of letting go of our grievances as children, we will come into adulthood with a gunnysack of unfor-given experiences. If we are not careful, we will then build our lives around our anger toward people who we feel are to blame for something they did or that we disapprove of. Many psychotherapists and psychiatrists spend their entire careers helping people confront and deal with these unhappy past and current experiences.
The most powerful and liberating decision you can make is to forgive everyone who has ever hurt you in any way. Only by freeing the other person, in your mind, by forgiving him or her can you be free yourself. This is why most religions stress the importance of forgiveness as the first step toward peace of mind and earthly bliss.
Just imagine how you would feel if you had no anger toward anyone at all in the whole world. Imagine being a completely positive, optimistic, cheerful person, with high levels of self-esteem and enthusiasm and unlimited self-confidence. Imagine being a warm, friendly, loving person filled with feelings of calmness and inner peace. All this is possible for you when you practice forgiveness.
In contrast, the refusal or failure to forgive lies at the base of negativity, anger, stress, anxiety, mental and physical illness, and most unhappiness. The refusal to forgive keeps you trapped. Forgiveness sets you free. And it is always a choice you make. It has nothing to do with the other person or situation.
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