Summer is here! It is deliciously warm. It is the season where we take off our layers – both physically and metaphorically. We want to feel light and unburdened.
It is a great time to deal with any lingering resentment. It burdens both our physical and emotional aspects of our body. It taints our thinking toward the negative. It makes us look over our back as it influences our outlook of life.
That being said, it is not easy for many of us to give up our resentment and pain. For some, the feeling of indignation is very empowering. By holding the resentment over someone’s head, it gives them the power in the relationship, albeit negative. For others, it gives them a purpose and/or a focus for their thoughts. Still for others, it gives them the excuse to not take full responsibility over their life by blaming another. These are just a few types of justifications for not forgiving another human being.
Personally, when I feel resentment toward another, my body feels physically heavy as if it is dragging. It sucks the energy and joy out of my life. My thoughts become obsessively directed toward the person and/or situation. It is as if the past experience takes on a life of its own.
Experience has taught me that first I have to allow myself to grieve the loss or hurt that I experienced. I give myself permission to feel sad and angry and get it out of my system. Then I have to take responsibility for my part in the situation. (There are a few exceptions to this rule, but not many.) Was I aggressive, distant, self-centered, and passive or a slew of other possibilities? This is often very humbling when I recognize how I could have done a better job. This is often easier to do with the power of hindsight. I have learned not to beat myself up but simply own up to it. Then I identify how I am benefiting by holding on to the resentment.
Once this is done, I am ready to let go. What freeing experience! Some people let go all at once, but for me it usually comes off like layers of an onion until I am light and free. Depending on the severity of the situation, this process can take a few hours to a few months.
However, the end result is heavenly. I have learned about myself and others. I gain compassion and empathy. And the joy starts rushing back into my life as it fills the vacuum of negativity released. As a result, new opportunities usually pop up. Interesting people walk into my life. It is such an amazing journey.
This amazing journey, however, can be full of fear and pain initially. This is a good time to reach out to a professional counselor to help you through the process. He or she can nudge you if you get stuck, hold your hand through the sadness and redirect any negative badgering you do to yourself or others. And finally, they can celebrate the end of a cycle that brings insight, release and resolution.
Take the time this summer to peel off any layers that are dragging you down. You deserve to feel light and happy!
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA