Why do we forgive? Well, the truth is many of us don’t forgive or usually forget. It may feel like by not forgiving others, we are holding some emotional currency, one that wields a sense of control by holding resentment towards others and another that can be used to invest in maintaining an inner status of victimhood. And yes, there are layers to victimisation; one layer is in the legitimate assault on our inner peace and security. The other is the use of the event to foster a continued attitude of unworthiness. The truth is, holding on to resentments does not provide us with a currency. Harboured resentments cost us a great deal more: our inner peace. So, how do we embrace forgiveness and release burdens?
RESENTMENTS KEEP US FROM LIVING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
“As smoking is to the lungs, so is resentment to the soul; even one puff is bad for you.”ELIZABETH GILBERT
It should be easy enough to conceive, but the very act of harbouring resentment is toxic. It is often more toxic (long-term) than the event itself. Many people view letting go of resentments as allowing the other person to win or ‘conceding’ to their offender – this is not the case. Surrendering negative attachments at the expense of achieving inner peace will never truly make us winners. When we release resentment, we open ourselves to a genuine opportunity to live in the present, the only place our minds can thoroughly embrace forgiveness. Suppose we hold on to anger and sadness over the misgivings of others. In that case, we are at the mercy of our present condition, closing ourselves off from self-love, self-awareness, and our ability to genuinely connect to others from a grounded and respected place. What we resist persists – this is a classic way in which resentments can disconnect us from reality and keep us hyper-focused. We must control and assign ourselves (and our happiness) to expected outcomes.
Surrendering resentments gives us back our real superpower, to live our lives from a place of love rather than anger or fear. Surrender also gives us the clarity and objectivity required to see situations for what they are, not just how we would interpret them. We don’t believe we are to blame for what happens, but we are responsible for working through the barriers imposed between ourselves and our peace of mind. Surrendering resistance keeps us out of the emotionally charged black hole of living a life of fear-based regret.
FORGIVENESS ENABLES US TO SEE OTHERS AS THEY ARE (NOT AS WE ARE)
“Live the Life of Your Dreams: Be brave enough to live the life of your dreams according to your vision and purpose instead of the expectations and opinions of others.”ROY T. BENNETT
We all know what expectations represent; desire sprinkled with elements of control and, ultimately, disappointment. Resistance often occurs interpersonally, but inner resistance is one of the fastest ways to kick us out of alignment and off our paths. Where does internal resistance come from? The desire to cultivate expected outcomes and the way others see us. But people do not see us as we are; they see us as they are – which goes both ways.
When we are resistant internally and exist in a place of anger, resentment, or fear, we fail to see ourselves through a loving light and others lovingly. When someone has done us wrong, the primary instinct is to personalise the pain and shame and go through the proper grieving stages to process things fully. As time passes, if we do not aim forgiveness towards this event– which may be rooted in a desired outcome or attachment is gone wrong – we will fail to release ourselves from its clutches.
We absorb and replicate the habits and customs we learn in our home life and from our nuclear families. One of the best ways to interpret a harboured painful event is to think about it subjectively, i.e., considering the circumstances surrounding the people directly involved and how those factors could have impacted their behaviour. Was this individual criticised often, or did they experience a difficult childhood due to a parent’s death or other family issues?
Remember, while terrible, these reasons were not this person’s fault, but it is their responsibility to deal with their feelings. How often do we consider the lives of others – speaking genuinely? The guy who was aggressive in traffic isn’t a jerk; perhaps he has a sick family member and is trying to make it to visiting hours at the hospital. Is it fair that he flipped the bird as he merged onto the expressway? No. Is it personal? No. Looking at other people in the abstract is a challenge for most people. Thus, why we continue experiencing the projections of other people’s feelings and anger can lead to feelings of disparagement or inadequacy.EMBRACING FORGIVENESS AND RELEASING BURDENS (FOR THE HIGHEST GOOD) #spiritual #forgiveness #surrender #energetictherapist Click To Tweet
Hurt people will hurt people too. Even more, so is the reason for embracing forgiveness and making peace with ourselves.
STEPS CAN WE TAKE TO RELEASE ATTACHMENTS TO OUR BURDENS
“How often do we clutch the burdens of our guilt and regrets – or another’s violation in our life – when we have the option of releasing them? There are many things we need to release in order to experience true freedom.”SUE AUGUSTINE
The first step we must tackle when releasing our attachment to burdens is recognising that we are entitled to inner peace. Happiness is our birthright.
Our need to cling to resentments and burdens comes from a lack of self-awareness and boundaries. Lacking boundaries – both with the self and others – causes us to sacrifice our spiritual and physical space and robs us of inner peace. A lack of self-awareness will plague us throughout our entire physical existence and beyond – and it is increasingly shocking to see how many of us lack inner guidance and yet live our lives making endless decisions and choices.
Another critical step is to ask ourselves what benefits we unconsciously receive by holding on to burdens and resentments. When we were young and experienced sadness, anger, or fear, these emotions often provided us with attention and sympathy – components we often withhold from ourselves but demand from others. So, we must look deep within and determine if we are struggling with the burden or fear of who we will become when we release ourselves and others from concealed resentments. We must reconcile the following:
- Acknowledgement of the burden/resentment and awareness of how it is impacting our life
- Ask ourselves if it is our burden/resentment to own? It is not uncommon for people brought up in volatile or co-dependent situations to carry the burdens of their parents and even grandparents. Patterns are imprinted on us from birth, and it is possible that a burden/resentment could be part of your lineage and need to be cleared.
- Ask ourselves if we feel this is the right time to release this burden/resentment or something beneath that resentment we need to focus on connecting to and releasing the energy surrounding it.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON RELEASING BURDENS
Our burdens can’t be more rewarding than the freedom we can achieve from leaving them behind — but for many people, the burden provides more certainty than the ‘gamble’ of being free from it. We can release three things, whether we are ready to loosen our grip on burdens/resentments: our level of anger, the guilt we feel, and our attachment to our conditioning.
Our personal level of anger is a false comforting mechanism and a terrible motivator. (Spoiler alert: It’s not.) letting go of anger and resentments releases us from our misguided belief that our aggravation serves us in any helpful way.
Guilt. Ah, everybody’s favourite, am I right? Releasing guilt is all about asking for forgiveness when we have done something to another person who is out of alignment with our highest self. Releasing guilt is also about facing our inner forgiveness or the forgiveness of the self. As spiritual people having a human experience, our guilt fuels our burdens/resentments more than possibly anything else, which brings us to the last item, our attachment.
Our attachment to conditioning relates directly to our unhealthy and unrealistic external connections. When we attach happiness to things, people, and emotions, we create ridged terms for when, how, and why we experience joy. Beginning a daily gratitude practice for all we have right now will help lessen the false belief that we will only be complete when we have a bigger house, fancier car, a better partner, or a more ‘fabulous’ lifestyle.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” —Mark Twain
When we hear something is “an inside job,” it can sound like a kick in the chest when we carry the weight of internal battles and transferred emotional baggage. What causes such a gut reaction? The truth of those words.
Happiness is an inside job.
Forgiveness is an inside job.
Releasing burdens is an inside job.