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Regrets, Resentments and the Path to Forgiveness

(Republished with permission of Jonathan Lockwood Huie)

“forgive everyone, especially myself, for all actions and all inactions throughout my entire life.”
- jlh

My article Regrets, Resentments and the Path to Forgiveness has generated several comments and questions that I would like to address. First, a brief summary of the original article…

I forgive everyone for every “wrong” that I believe they have ever inflicted upon me. I forgive them for my own sake, that I may release the venom – the anger and resentment within myself – and regain my joy and serenity. I have compassion for everyone who has ever been a player upon the stage of my life.

Forgiveness is not a reprieve that you give to someone else. Forgiveness for another’s act or omission is a gift that you give yourself. You are the one who suffers the upset and the anger when you feel that you have been wronged. It is your own blood pressure that rises when you hold on to resentment.

Forgiving others is a gift to yourself, given not because the other deserves pardon, but because you deserve the serenity and joy that comes from releasing resentment and anger, and from embracing universal forgiveness.steps to nowhere Regrets, Resentments and the Path to Forgiveness

Three anonymous comments/questions I received…

“Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I have been wronged by the ones I loved all my life and I am not sure how to let go of the anger and to forgive them. I want to let go of the burden I have been carrying for so long.”

“I have been abused sexually and beaten by my father almost everyday, I stood there while he beat my mother and my sister and brother. He even tried to molest my sister. Well, he committed suicide a few years back and it’s very hard to forgive him for what he has done, but after reading this, I guess that I can try. It just hurts. I think about it almost everyday. Then I get very upset.”

“I was sexually violated by my stepfather many years ago and it continued through my whole childhood. The only reason it stopped is because I ran away at age fourteen. How can I forgive someone who said I was a liar? He did it to my 4 sisters and I have no family because they all turned on me for speaking up. I find myself very alone at times and I wonder “Did I do the right thing?”

I will attempt to answer your question, “How can I forgive?” The short answer is that your act of forgiveness is for yourself, to enable you to stop suffering.

To expand upon the nature and benefits of forgiveness, let’s look first at what it means to forgive. The dictionary tells us that “to forgive” means “to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for something they did or failed to do.” It does not mean that you believe what the person did was acceptable then, or is now acceptable, or ever could be acceptable.

Forgiveness is about ending your anger. Anger is a destructive human emotion that rots our insides. It causes much of the physical illness in the world as well as untold emotional suffering. Freeing yourself from as much anger as you are holding is like taking a three hundred pound weight off your chest and six daggers out of your ribs.

The better question might be, “How can you NOT forgive?” Forgiveness – forgiveness of all people and all acts – is a sure path to happiness.

So what can you do today to end the resentment and anger, and create forgiveness and happiness? Carrying around three hundred pounds of anger is a little like carrying around three hundred pounds of excess weight. It took years to grow that much anger, and it will take time to shed the anger. Today, hold the intention to be one percent less angry than yesterday. Do the same thing tomorrow. If you can stick to that emotional diet, you will have lost all your anger and resentment, as well as any regrets about anything you yourself did or did not do, in three or four months. I’m rooting for you.

JLH

This entry was posted in Aging, Habits of Healthy People, Personal Development
, Relationships
, Stress, Wellness for Women

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