Refusing to Forgive Does Not Empowering Us

Refusing to Forgive Does Not Empowering Us

Why is it that we feel choosing not to forgive empowers us in some way ? Lets think about this logically for a moment. We have decided, usually with self-righteous indignation that we will not forgive someone who isn’t seeking of could care less about our forgiveness. It brings about the saying that “ Holding on to a Resentment is Like Taking Poison and Waiting for the Other Person to Die”.

When we can’t forgive, we can’t let go and we are only hurting ourselves Why do we want to hold on to something as toxic as woundedness, pain and suffering? Do we feel it makes us right ? At what cost?

Holding on only allows us to maintain our position as a victim. I’ve been there and done that and it does nothing but drain my life’s energy. Slogging it through all areas of my life, allowing it to permeate into all the cracks and crevices of my soul.

Going through life with our wounds way in front of us just begging for someone to rip off the scabs. Do this for long enough and wounds can become not something we have but who we are

Being unforgiving can and will cripple us. It can keep us out of the game of life. How can we really move forward in our lives towing an anchor behind us that is getting heavier and heavier ? It is exhausting and can be all consuming.

Meanwhile, those who have hurt us are strolling through life without giving it a second thought. Do we really think those who have harmed us have somehow grown a conscious It is not up to us to make sure that they pay for what they did in the spiritual sense, not legally. Our forgiveness is not for them, it is for us. We must let go of the “I’ll fix you by hurting myself “ mentality.

Psychologist generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release resentment or revenge towards a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. I know that my motivation in not forgiving my mother for the pain, hurt, suffering, trauma and humiliation that she inflicted on me was to hurt her back. My mother never actively sought my forgiveness, let alone took responsibility for her actions. So I have no evidence that my refusal to forgive her had any effect on her at all. Forgiveness does not absolve the person that harmed us of their responsibility of their actions.

What I do have is plenty of evidence of what my refusal to forgive her has cause and cost me. I stayed wounded, stayed a victim and part of me stayed in the past. I blamed all women and thought of them as the enemy, and treated them as such. Not that I harmed them in anyway except leaving them alone, never trusting them, always on guard ready to defend myself.

Of course realizing all I lost was extremely painful. What could have been but wasn’t. fond memories and experiences that I could have had but didn’t. There were layers of pain and anger that had to be worked through. But my refusal to forgive changed nothing and kept me stuck in a loop going no where.

Forgiveness for me came at the end of a process that included courage, trust, work and letting go that led to freedom. It still is the greatest present that have given myself.


Paul Hellwig
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