written by Sara Arey
This is the 3rd article in a series about finding and releasing stuck energy. This article is about releasing resentment.
In the last two posts, we looked at how to empower ourselves in two important ways:
- Say YES to the right things (and stop saying no to the wrong things)
- Expand into receiving
These are deeply powerful practices. They free our energy and attention — and they help us allow more joy, synchronicity and abundance into our lives. In this post we move forward to forgiveness.
A big place our energy can get stuck is holding resentment (non-forgiveness). When there’s someone in our past we haven’t forgiven, we stay tied to them and to the ‘story’ of what happened. It’s a weight we lug around – a weight we complain about and resent.
It’s like having a piece of furniture in our house that we hate. It’s uncomfortable and unattractive. We’re angry and upset every time we see it. It takes up space and keeps us from having something we do like there.
We resent it, we complain about it … and we keep it in our lives! Often, we don’t know how easy it would be – and what a difference it would make – to just get it out of our house. Letting go of it is like forgiveness. So why don’t we just forgive, let go and move on?
Usually because we believe one of the following. These are things I hear my clients say, and another way to think about them:
If we forgive the person for what they did, it means that what they did doesn’t matter and we’re letting them off the hook.
If we forgive them it means what happened didn’t matter, wasn’t a big deal.
What if what’s happening today is more important than what happened then? Yet today, we’re choosing to still weight ourselves down by then.
If we forgive them it means what they did was okay.
What they did was what they did. Our being hurt and angry about it doesn’t change it.
If we forgive them it means we have to stay in contact with them or start being nice to them.
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean we have to continue to engage with them, be nice, or be in a relationship with them. Forgiving them makes those things more possible and more comfortable, but if that person isn’t healthy for you to be around, forgiveness allows you to truly let go and move on. Holding a grudge actually keeps you connected to them.
If we forgive them it means they’re off the hook and don’t have to pay for what they did.
Have you heard the saying that not forgiving someone is like drinking poison – and hoping they get sick? Is your being weighted down and depressed really a payback to them? If they are hurt by it, is it worth what it’s doing to you? Do you really want to use your life up making sure they pay for what they did?
If we “forgive and forget”, we’ll let our guard down and end up in the same kind of situation again.
We can make the choice to be aware and look both ways before crossing the street without living in fear of being run over. We can make the choice to be alert in our lives and make wise decisions coming from a place of strength rather than hurt and fear.
It’s too hard. There’s too much baggage.
It is possible. I promise. My work is all about dissolving these ties to that baggage.
We’ll have to start taking responsibility for ourselves and our lives in a new way, and that’s scary.
When we see ourselves as a victim, we have a reason for not being successful in business and in relationships. We have a built-in excuse for failure. “I would go out and really learn how to run a business and do what it takes to be successful, but I have these wounds so I can only do this much and only partially succeed.”
This can feel much safer and more reasonable than really going for our dreams and risk falling short of them. If we forgive our former lover, we drop our excuses for not fully investing ourselves in a new relationship, and that can feel too scary and risky.
True safety only comes from inside us. It’s never about how much money we make or whether we’re in a relationship or not.
So the question is, are you willing to take the risk of living a full and empowered life?
We’ll lose our membership in the club we’re in with others who’ve gone through something similar.
When any part of our identity is built on being a survivor-of-something-painful-and-unfair (abusive parents, cheating lovers, abandonment, etc.), we often form a network with others who’ve been in similar situations.
This can be healing and supportive, especially at the beginning of our recovery process. But it can subtly shift from being healing and supportive to being a way of staying stuck in the victim role – a way of identifying ourselves and our ‘story’ as victims.
We might feel like we won’t have any friends if we leave this group. Who will we call up when we’re feeling down? Who will we go to events and movies with?
You might find that others in the group are ready for a new way of seeing themselves and life, too. Other people may show up in your life. As you allow the old identity to dissolve, new relationships and opportunities appear.
You may find that you like going places by yourself and discovering what you really enjoy doing. And, you can make the shift over time.
The only question is, do you want to claim your power and freedom, or do you want to continue living your life as it is now? It truly is your choice. But you don’t have to do it alone. My work is about guiding people through this transition.
The way I picture forgiveness is this:
When something happens – let’s say being lied to by someone – we’re connected to what happened and to the person who lied to us by a rope.
When we forgive that person, we’re just putting down our end of the rope. That’s all. We’re choosing not to be tied to that event any more. We’re freeing ourselves from it.
Notice how much lighter you feel just thinking about that!
What the other person does with their end of the rope is entirely up to them. We may be connected to that person in other ways – or we may not – but we’re not connected this way any more. We’re free of it!
And all the energy it took to hold onto that rope and drag that stuff along with us? We get to invest it in ways that bring us joy. Pretty good trade-off, isn’t it?