When you harbor a grudge against yourself or those who have hurt you, you nurture your anger and hurt and prevent its resolution. You are actually punishing yourself. By exercising forgiveness, you relieve yourself of the burden of carrying the hurt, anger, pain, and loneliness. You relinquish your grievance and consequently your grief—and healing occurs. This does not mean that you condone or are legitimizing the hurtful behavior, or that you have reestablished a comparable level of trust with the person who wounded you. When you forgive, you concede that your pain has passed. You let go of your resentment so you can get on with optimizing your life.
Martin Luther King Jr. believed: "We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us." Once you make compassion a higher priority than judgment, it makes sense to forgive. When you forgive, you are no longer resisting life. You are allowing life to express itself through you. You can ask yourself:
• What am I thinking or doing that is causing me to hold on to the hurt and anger?
• What changes can I make to release the pain and resentment?
• What is my best strategy for letting go of these feelings?
• What is the best action I can take right now to move on with my life?
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