If your life isn’t working, you may be clinging to a past grudge against someone who did you wrong. We know holding onto anger and blame of grudges is not good for us, but we can’t always find the courage to let them go. What if I told you there are steps to take, which will release the poison of toxic thoughts, and set your mind, body and spirit free?
You will feel pain as you work with buried resentments and grudges from your past, just stay with it. You are taking steps toward living a whole, free and peaceful life. Destructive influences in our past lead to depression in our present. Taking steps to forgiveness will replace cold fury with warm feelings.
Forgiveness is rising above conflict in order to take care of ourselves. This is contrary to the old concept that by giving in to someone else’s inappropriate behavior, we are labeled “doormats”.
Forgiveness is a conscious decision we make with the understanding that forgiving is not all about the other person, it’s about making ourselves feel better. The other person need never know you’ve forgiven them in your heart. What’s important is that you know.
Let go of Rage in a Productive Way
In 12-step studies, such as Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA), we are taught to symbolize our grudges and let go of rage in a productive way. Work on letting grudges you hold against one person at a time.
Get several small pieces of paper. Write a detailed statement on each piece of paper, until you’ve exhausted the reasons you are clinging to grudges against this particular person. This practice will make you tired and tears may come. Let them flow; tears are good medicine.
In ACOA, we were given three ways to symbolically rid ourselves of grudges: burn the little papers; rip the little papers to shreds and bury them; tie the papers to balloons and let go of them.
You’ve made a productive start to let go of the rage. If it were that easy, everyone would be free of anger and pain.
Practice Talking it out with the Person who Harmed
You’re the only one who can decide whether or not you want to forgive mentally or face-to-face. Remember, forgiveness is all about you. Neither decision is right or wrong.
If you choose not to meet in person, get a picture or make a mind picture of the person who harmed you. Use your creative imagination and put the picture or focus on your mind picture as if the person were in the chair facing you at the kitchen table.
Here you acknowledge your true feelings. State your grievances out loud until you run out of steam. If it feels right, and you can, forgive the person. Say something like: “_________ I now forgive you for harming me. You no longer have the power to hurt me. I release you completely to go your own way.”
If you aren’t ready to forgive, you may resume your practice another day. Regardless, you have set the stage for compassion. Without compassion, you can’t truly forgive.
Stop Letting the Person who Harmed Live in Your Head
We can’t literally live in another person’s head. In ACOA, we learned that by holding onto grudges, fuming about the person and even having nightmares about those who harmed us, we are letting them live rent-free in our head.
There really are two sides to every story. If your parent(s) were abusers, most likely they suffered abuse as a child. If another woman “stole” your husband, the same thing may have happened to her or perhaps she didn’t know he was married. Try to entertain the possibility that the person who harmed you did the best he/she could.
Because they have a side or didn’t know another way, doesn’t make it right. But, their business isn’t what we are working on. We are working on our healing business Understanding “why” they did what they did opens a possibility for us to get into our compassion.
Cling onto Grudges or Let them Go?
Until we can offer total absolution to person(s) who harmed us, we remain victims. Letting go of anger and pain created by clinging onto grudges is a process. You may never completely forgive for the grudges and/or let them go.
As your awareness opens to the potential of forgiving, whatever you experience is right for you at this time. Don’t force yourself to let go of grudges until you are ready.
While holding grudges may make you feel important (poor me), you are defining yourself as a perpetual victim. Letting go of a victim identity frees up space for all the good things that you deserve to enter.
Forgiveness – it’s all about you!
Are you excited to read other articles written by this author?
Idea sparked by “Let it go”, Ladies Home Journal”Adult Children of Abusive Parents” Steven Farmer, M.A, MFCC