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!
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.