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How to Forgive Without Resentment

by Sarah Casimong

Forgiving somebody who has done you wrong is easier said than done, especially if you still harbor resentment against the person. To forgive is to let go of resentment and the need to punish your wrongdoer, according to "Webster's New World College Dictionary." If you’re still holding on to hurt feelings, you haven’t truly forgiven. Although it’s not easy, forgiving somebody and letting go of resentment can happen, but it takes commitment.

Be Honest About Pain

If you are the type of person to “forgive” easily just to avoid conflict, you are creating an unhealthy situation for yourself, says Janis Abrahms Spring in her book “How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To.” By brushing off the incident without admitting your true feelings of hurt, you are holding on to resentment. It’s important to let the person who hurt you know what she did and how it made you feel.

Let Go of Pride

Acknowledge and take responsibility for any part you may have had in the incident. Your resentment could come from low self-esteem and your negative feelings about yourself. Letting go of your pride and allowing yourself to see your imperfections can not only help you learn to forgive, it can also help you learn more about yourself and enhance your personal growth. This could take some time and deep self-reflection, and you might consider consulting a therapist to help.

Don't Take it Personally

Although somebody did something to hurt you, it may not be about you -- it might have more to do with him. Sometimes the hurtful things that a person does says more about his behavior than it does about yours. Put yourself in his shoes. Maybe he is overly aggressive because he was bullied as a child. Looking at your offender through more empathetic eyes, not only allows you to see him more clearly, but it enhances your self-esteem, as well.

Forgive Yourself

Somebody else caused you pain, but it is important to forgive yourself in the process of forgiving the offender. When you are too harsh on yourself, you allow others’ criticisms to hit you hard. Develop self-compassion when you find that you are replaying those criticisms in your mind and reinforcing negative beliefs about yourself. You can’t control anybody but yourself, says psychotherapist Mark Sichel in his Psychology Today blog. Your resentment does not change the other person, it just affects you. Forgiving yourself first will make it easier for you to forgive your offender and let go of the resentment you hold against her -- and yourself.

References

About the Author

Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".

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