My biggest fault

This is an unusually personal post for me but sometimes writing down and sharing something helps me make progress toward a goal and working on this area (being too judgmental) and better managing the resulting anger and resentment that results is something I want/need to work on. 

I strive to be a better person but somehow, even though I know what my biggest failing is, it’s hard to change. I have a strong sense of right and wrong and find it hard to deal with people who put self interest above those of others and I am very judgmental about that. Even when I tell myself that it’s not my job to judge, that they are the ones missing out, I find the resentment builds up. 

I’ve actually come to terms with how to treat these people in my life and it may sound harsh but about 15 years ago, I decided that I would not expend energy on maintaining those difficult relationships anymore. I don’t benefit from them so why should I make the effort but I do find it hard to let go of the anger and resentment. 

So in comes the concept of forgiveness – it’s not something I’m comfortable with and there are very few people in my life that I care enough about to be willing to find my way though the process but in the interest of becoming a healthier person, I’ve been trying to find a way to let go of the negativity and yes, I still need to work more on the judgmental part!

I like a few of the points made in this article:

First, the definition 

Forgiveness is the letting go of a grievance or judgment that you hold against someone else. When you forgive you also let go of feelings of bitterness, resentment, and vengeance.

Second, I agree with her about the results of hanging on to resentment on me

Anger, bitterness, hate—these emotions weigh heavily on your body and in your thoughts. When you don’t process and release your emotions, they remain trapped inside you and can cause physical ailments like stomachaches and high blood pressure and can worsen depression and anxiety. When you forgive and let go of a grievance, you are freeing your body and your mind.

Third, one of the reasons I find it difficult to forgive is that I don’t believe people who don’t change their behavior deserve it so I really like this part:

  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are pardoning or excusing the other person’s actions.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you need to tell the person that he or she is forgiven.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any more feelings about the situation.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean there is nothing further to work out in the relationship or that everything is okay now.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you should forget the incident ever happened.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to continue to include the person in your life.
  • … and forgiveness isn’t something you do for the other person.

Finally, as an exercise – I like the idea of writing a letter (that NEVER gets sent!) She suggests:

 A letter writing exercise. Find a quiet space, some uninterrupted time, and a pen or pencil and paper. Write a letter to the person who hurt you. Write out your feelings, your thoughts, your experiences, and your anger. Remember, this letter is for you. No one else ever has to read it.

18 thoughts on “My biggest fault

  1. Julierose

    Lovely post–and I agree–it is difficult to step aside and try to see the other person’s view–especially if you are vehemently opposed to it as a matter of conscience–rightness/wrongness…
    but, it is tiring to lug around all those resentments …it ends up dragging you down…good luck with your attempts–I know I continue to make an effort in this arena–in these very trying times…hugs, Julierose

  2. Mindy

    I am SO judgmental……something I’m not proud of. I try to keep it in check and try to not share my judgmental feelings of others with others…..but, I’ve found I’ve not been very good about about keeping it to myself…..then I’m down on myself. You never know what that other person is dealing with, especially nowadays. When I went thru my divorce, I was SO ANGRY. I didn’t seek therapy, probably should have, but did research it online (isn’t Google wonderful! Ha!) to help myself through it. I did sit down and write a letter back then, as suggested, and it did make me feel a bit better. Time, though, is the greatest healer and eventually those angry feelings faded away.

    I thank you for putting your feelings out there. I know it’s not easy. I have enjoyed following your blog the last several years. I’m going to be retiring in two weeks and have contemplated doing a blog myself, if only as an online documentary of my day-to-day quilting activities. Stay cool, lady, I would miss your blog should you ever stop. ~Mindy

  3. Penny G

    Letting go of people who choose to cause pain and don’t care is essential. I have been writing letters and not sending them for over 50 years. One that got shared did a great deal in building our marriage because it was to my husband about my fear of losing our first child during pregnancy and when shared he learned a lot about me and a lot about himself. The fact that I assumed that he knew so much that he was clueless about was squarely on my shoulders. The majority of my letters over the years have gotten either burned or torn into little bits. I actually had an agreement as part of a settlement that a cousin who had proudly announced that he intentionally caused stress in my life could never contact me again. Many of my cousins didn’t understand, but the others who were part of the suit understood and agree. Any person that I walk away from is a person I have attempted to talk to, have prayed for and have decided that I am the most important person in the relationship and walked away. You have to make yourself the most important person as long as you respect the other person and in some cases walking away is the best thing for both of you.

  4. Sara F

    I’m much like you and also have trouble letting go of the resentment towards the people who hurt me or mine. Great thoughtful post. Made me think too!

  5. Shirley

    Thank you for sharing this article! Forgiving is very difficult for me and something that I am constantly striving for. I try to overlook pettiness, but have found difficult relationships to be energy draining. I have moved away from what I call toxic people to avoid becoming toxic myself. Letting go of the relationship is the first step, but like you letting go of the anger and resentment is very difficult for me. I especially liked the point that forgiveness isn’t something you do just for the other person.

  6. Julia

    Mary, thanks again … you have given me food for thought. I too have started a path “to live happily: steer clear of people who are not adding value to your life.”

    Happy Sewing!
    Julia

  7. diane

    Thanks for sharing Mary. Went thru resentment and anger about 20 years ago much like your post and I believe laying the anger in written words out in a letter was put to rest with the letter writing. It made me mad to write the letter and tears flowed while doing so. After a short time I burned it and that was the end. Let it go. I try hard to not have friends/extended family that are hard to get along with or negative in my life. I like myself too much!

  8. CC

    Great post today. Just this morning a friend received word her father had died. She has been estranged from him for several years due to a deeply abusive relationship. She had just said to me yesterday she didn’t know what she would do when she learned of his death. So much good information in your post I can share with her.

  9. MaryAnn

    Hi Mary. This is the very first blog I have ever read. It caught my eye because of today’s topic of forgiveness. You have given such great advice and I found it very helpful. Unfortunately, because of all of my pent up feelings and emotions I suffer from depression and anxiety and often times cannot fall asleep at night. I will try the suggestion of forgiveness and writing the letter to myself. It sounds encouraging.
    I have been thinking about starting a blog myself and wanted to see how you began. I went back to the very first blog you posted back in December of ’05 and enjoyed reading about your family and love of quilting. I have had to stop working due to illness and recently decided to try my hand at quilting! I have made several already with the help of youtube videos and have been very proud of the tops. The actually quilting part is a different story. The quilts I did complete I “stitched in the ditch”. I was wondering how you learned how to free motion quilt? I would love to learn!
    I will continue to follow your blog. Thanks!

  10. Betsy

    13 years ago my mother was brutally murdered and the guy who did it and confessed to the crime is now on Florida’s death row. My victim’s advocate advised me to get rid of the anger because at execution I would only be watching a man die, and wouldn’t feel any vindication from the experience. My Christian friends all told me I needed to forgive this man. It seemed impossible. Like you I read many articles on forgiveness, and tried letter writing but it didn’t help. Eventually, (about 5 years) I just accepted the fact that it happened and nothing was going to change it and the anger is now gone. I really don’t think I forgave him by anyone’s definition. I have to see him from time to time at court, but not interact with him. I agree that holding on to anger is not good for you and I hope that you can find a way to release it. As for being judgemental, no one is perfect, and if that is the worst thing anyone can say about you I wouldn’t worry about it.

  11. Anne O'Connor

    Thank you for the post and the article, Mary. Never easy to write publicly about such personal things. Thank you also to the other people who replied to your post particularly Betsy – really feel for you as you must have gone through so many dark hours. Forgiving is very hard for me too and the article is very helpful. I will keep it close

  12. Cindy in NC

    For me, “letting go of a grievance or judgement” is not forgiveness, but pardon. These two words are often used interchangeably, but I believe there is an critical distinction. In my opinion, forgiveness requires two parties —one to ask for (and genuinely want) it and another to grant it. Pardon requires only one party, much like the author’s list you quote. Whichever word you prefer, it is important to remember forgiveness and pardon are two different things.

    I also think society makes us feel terribly guilty about anger. Like money, anger can be used for either good or evil. Anger has motivated me to make some needed changes in my life, and it sounds like you have had similar experiences. Don’t feel guilty (sad maybe, but not guilty — another tricky distinction) about putting your time and efforts where they will do the most good.

  13. Sue

    I understand where you are coming from. Thank you for posting. What do you do with a son that has chosen his wife over his mother? A very long story I won’t go in to. Actually 15 years worth. A son that hasn’t spoken to me for almost a year. An apology letter written to both of them which was their fault to begin with when she left him. A lot of harsh words were shared between everyone. They eventually got back together but in my opinion is a toxic marriage.

    I’ve left them alone and don’t ever expect him to talk to me as long as they are together. It use to hurt me deeply but I’ve decided they are meant for each other and life goes on. He will be the one that loses in the end. Life is too short to disown family. It seems mil’s are doomed from the start & I can’t wait until she is one. It’s not easy.

  14. Corry

    One time when I was so angry and saw red with rage, I went out and bought a punching bag and beat the sense out of it. I have never felt like that before, or since. This one time was more than I could just ‘deal with’ or suck it up. After the supreme beating, I felt better. You cannot beat the person, but imagining you could and punching a bag really was theraputic. I highly recommend it. (:
    BTW, it was 11 1/2 years ago and the punching bag now hangs neglected and lifeless in my garage, but still is a reminder of a place I went to once and hopefully never again.

  15. Cynthia Marrs

    I found your post very thought provoking. I will ponder it and hope for self improvement. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I look forward to your posts. They’re the highlight of my email reading.

  16. Girl in the Stix

    I think forgiveness has to start with forgiving one’s own self first. How we judge other people is how we judge ourselves. We must accept our own flaws with compassion before we can forgive and accept other people. The “love thy neighbor” commandment comes with a catch–“as thyself.” I admire that you own what you call your shortcomings, but I would more admire if could own how remarkable you are! All the best!–V

  17. Linda H

    Thank you for sharing this. It is SO timely in my life right now. Living in a smaller community with a few quilt groups I’ve found myself “tormented” by one individual who adds nothing but turmoil and stress in my life. I’ve continued our association because there are limited sewing groups but lately decided that I am eliminating people who are “toxic” to me in my future. I will continue to attend the groups I like, be friends with those who are in those groups and minimize my contact with her. I pray for the strength to follow through on these as she’s very confrontational and “in your face”. I, on the other hand, am not that way and avoid conflict when I can. Consequently I get “pushed around” by someone who is “always” right and it is “always” done her way. THANK YOU for sharing this article and your thoughts. Your blog is a source of support and inspiration to me. Merry Christmas to you, Keith, Finn and your entire family! Linda

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