Bitterness and Unforgiveness
What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is letting go of the thoughts of resentment and revenge.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.
Benefits of forgiveness
When you let go of grudges and bitterness it improves your life and gives you a peace of mind. Here are some forms of what forgiveness can lead to:
• Healthier relationships
• Improved mental health
• Less anxiety, stress and hostility
• Lower blood pressure
• Fewer symptoms of depression
Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?
We tend to dwell on hurtful events or situations. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.
If you hold onto the unforgiveness and bitterness you could possibly:
• Bring anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experiences
• Become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present
• Become depressed or anxious
• Lose valuable and enriching relationships with others
How to get to the place of forgiveness
Forgiveness is a commitment to a personalized process of change. Here are some steps to take to make progress:
• Recognize the value of forgiveness and how it can improve your life
• Choose to forgive the person who’s offended you
• Move away from your role as a victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life
As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt.
Forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the person who’s hurt you doesn’t admit wrong. Sometimes we need to try seeing the situation from their point of view; maybe you would have reacted in a similar way in the same situation or remember those times when others you have hurt have forgiven you.
You may have to choose forgiveness to others daily (maybe even more than once a day) but if you do, you will eventually walk in freedom.
Remember: forgiveness is for you and your freedom. It’s not your responsibility or job to change their behavior or actions; it’s more about how it can change your life bringing forth peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Holding onto these only hurts you and not the person you have an offense against.
We have all been hurt by actions or words of another; someone close to us such as a relative or friend, or maybe even a stranger. Perhaps a parent constantly criticized you growing up, a colleague sabotaged a project or your partner had an affair. Maybe you’ve had a traumatic experience, such as being physically or emotionally abused by someone.These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger and bitterness — even revenge.
But if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward.