I remember the first time I heard someone say that a resentment was like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. This made no sense to me. See my resentments were built on a platform of self-righteous indignation. Oh come on, you know what that is. It's that look that Steven Seagal gets on his face in all his movies, that feeling that he uses to justify him killing everyone in sight.
See I felt that what was done to me entitled me to have the hatred and contempt in my heart for another person. Somehow it was empowering me and helped me to deal with the pain I felt from the atrocities that were perpetrated upon me.
That couldn't be farther from the truth. Hatred and contempt held in a heart is toxic. Because as much as I want to say that it was only for this one person that harmed me, hatred and contempt can not be caged like that. It flowed and seeped into all areas of my life. In fact it took on a life of its own.
How much love can a heart full of hatred hold? I felt as though this person could never deserve my forgiveness. Not forgiving them caused them pain and suffering like they caused me. How can refusing to forgive someone who is not asking for or seeking my forgiveness effect anyone but myself?
I know for myself that it keeps me stuck. I have fooled myself into thinking that somehow refusing to forgive is actually a way of dealing with and working on the situation. That could not be further from the truth. It is how I deny, hide and avoid the problem and its solution. No matter how hard or many times I push it down it continues to pop up.
Avoidance and denial are exhausting and time consuming. I liken it to trying to out run a train, eventually I will get tired and have to stop to rest. When this happens the train rolls right over the top of me. When this happens I feel abused again, only this time I am doing it to myself.
I am holding on to something with a death grip that is killing me. Not a physical death but a death of spirit, soul and mind. In some ways this type of death is worse than a physical death. In physical death the suffering ends, not so in a death of spirit, soul and mind.
For most of my life I have misunderstood forgiveness. I thought that these people who had hurt me did not deserve my forgiveness. Like my forgiving them would be the key to opening a locked door for them to something they were being denied. In truth it was I who had a locked door denying myself the relief and healing that comes with forgiving.
I had always thought that forgiveness meant absolution. They are still responsible for their actions and that is for them to deal with. My forgiving is for me not for them. It is so I can let go and move on, allowing myself to step out of this spiritual and emotional loop that does nothing but hurt and drain me.
With hatred in my heart I can not live the life based in love that I want. Today I chose to release the hatred from my heart to make room for the love I need and desire. Today I chose forgiveness.
Author: Paul Hellwig
Paul is a Spiritual Life Coach specializing the Healing of Childhood Wounding and Addictions Recovery. I am a recovering addict myself with over 25 years clean. I have spent the last 25 years of my life on a spiritual and healing journey and I am now dedicating my life to help others do the same.
healingbearlifecoaching.com / @bear_healing