How Forgiveness Sets Us All Free
There is an ancient quote that I’ve always loved:
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Let me ask you a question: have you ever been deeply hurt by another person? Maybe it was someone who broke your heart, or a business partner who stabbed you in the back. When you think about this person, do you feel a tightness in your chest? Do you stand up straighter? Does your breathing become quicker? That’s the flight or fight response, once again kicking in when it isn’t useful!
As human beings, we are hardwired to remember when another party wrongs us. It’s a simple survival mechanism. Back when we were living in caves, it was important to remember if someone in your community stole your berries or “borrowed” your animal skin. Those things could be the difference between life or death. Today, the stakes are a little lower, but it’s still incredibly easy for us to form resentments over perceived or actual slights.
The problem is that it becomes incredibly easy to dwell on these slights, letting them poison our lives.
When you think about “that” person who wronged you, do you get angry, upset, or frustrated? Let me ask you this, do you think that they feel anything similar when they think of you? Honestly, probably not.
This is at the heart of the quote I mentioned above. While you are holding onto your resentment and anger, the chances are that they are not. Chances are that they don’t care. Yes, that’s super blunt, but it’s often the truth.
Now, the question becomes what purpose is your resentment serving here? If your anger and frustration are impeding your ability to lead the life you want to live, then that resentment isn’t helping you, it’s hurting you. If you had your heart broken, that resentment might be stopping you from opening yourself up to another person who might be your soulmate. If you got stabbed in the back, that resentment might be preventing you from taking a professional risk that would require you to trust another. Your anger isn’t protecting you from the original person; it’s stopping you from moving forward.
Letting Go Isn’t as Easy as it Sounds
I’m not going to lie and tell you that letting go of resentment is easy. As I said, it’s a hardwired survival mechanism. But working towards letting it go can be a powerful way to start thriving in our lives. This is where forgiveness comes in.
Forgiveness means different things to different people. For me, it simply means letting go of resentment. When you forgive someone, it isn’t about them. In fact, you can forgive someone without even telling them about it.
Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily mean to forget. If someone has hurt you in the past, you might not want to forget about it. But you may want to forgive it to release all of that negativity that you’ve been carrying around with you.
Being able to forgive doesn’t happen instantly, especially if the wound is fresh. But once you’ve healed and all that’s left is scar tissue, holding onto that resentment doesn’t make sense anymore. But how can you let it go?
Time to Thrive
This is one of the things that we are going to be looking at in Time to Thrive. Together with your tribe, you will be able to talk through these events that happened in your past, maybe even gaining a new perspective on them.
I think that one of the most important things you can say about forgiveness is that it’s kind, and not just kind to the person that you are forgiving. It’s being kind to yourself. It allows you to acknowledge what has happened in your past but gives you the permission you need to move beyond it. It isn’t for the other person’s benefit; it’s for ours. In other words, being able to forgive sets us up to thrive and sets us all free!