“When you forgive, you in no way change the past — but you sure do change the future.” — Bernard Meltzer
If we are honest, don’t we all carry a grudge towards someone or something? A heavy heart, lost loved one, or a belief that we have been treated unfairly?
I know I do. But I rarely stop to think how these resentments are affecting me.
Resentments are like weeds in our gardens, they multiply, take over and ultimately suffocate all the flowers. Sometimes they can be a big, blow-the-lid-off-the-container kind of resentment, and other times they are a small, sweep-them-under-the-rug kind of feeling. But the problem is that even if we sweep them under the rug, like Captain Jack Sparrow, on a rainy day they pop up, ready to strike. Surprise! And no one likes unpleasant surprises, right?
So, let’s take a look at why we need to get rid of these pesky weeds!
1. Resentments turn into anger
Anger is an ugly, clenched-fists, red-faced place, where no one wants to go. During the stage of retaliation, much like the Hulk, as much as you try to resist the urge to slam your opponent floor to ceiling, anger can make you feel like you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and unstoppable, powerful emotion.Advertising
You might catch yourself saying, “I wasn’t in my right mind,” and this is a dangerous place for any of us to be.
The truth is, anger is not caused by outer circumstances, people or things. Anger is a state of mind, and therefore only you can make yourself angry. You have the power to control your state of mind.
2. It’s bad for the body
Resentments can cause the following:
- Headaches and chronic pain
- Insomnia and a higher tendency for alcohol and drug abuse
- High blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke
- Skin problems
3. It’s bad for the mind
The effects aren’t just limited to the physical: letting go of old grudges reduces levels of depression and anxiety.
Our minds are like a busy freeway. The non-stop chattering, bouncing, judging, thinking, worrying about the future and reliving the past are exhausting.
When you’re holding on to resentments, your mind is agitated; it is centered around the ego, reconfirming that you were treated unfairly.Advertising
In this agitated state it is impossible for you to enjoy your life. Over-thinking manifests into a whole heap of problems. It can create unhealthy habits and leave us powerless against the devastating effects of poor mental health.
Forgiveness will bring you peace of mind.
4. Resentments ruin relationships
Resentments left unattended can lead to bottled emotions and unhealthy outbursts.
You may hurt your loved ones with physical and/or verbal abuse and isolate yourself from friends and family. It can lead to venting at innocent parties such as your children, spouse or pet. This can lead to low self-esteem and manipulation in our relationships.
Remember, no one is perfect. We’re going to hurt other people and other people are going to hurt us: intentionally and unintentionally. Do you want to become a bitter, resentful, unpleasant person? Letting go of resentments will renew your relationships, you will become a breath of fresh air.
5. Resentments subdue your instincts
We are all born with instincts to help us survive; animals know when to run from predators, baby kittens know how to nuzzle into their mothers, and we know when something just feels ‘off’.Advertising
The problem with resentments is all the unhealthy thinking, replaying and blaming. These states of mind subdue the otherwise beeping red alarm that tells us when something is wrong. Instead of tuning into our natural feelings, we are too busy thinking. We think, and then we think, and then we think some more.
We are always thinking! Stop all the chatter and let’s tune in to our inner compass, it won’t lead you astray. Start following the flow of life that you were meant to.
6. Resentments develop ignorance
Resentment arises from ignorance and from an unjustifiable sense of entitlement.
- I have been treated unfairly.
- I can’t believe he would say that to me.
- My husband never pays any attention to me.
- Why would she get the promotion over me, I am a much better candidate.
- It is unfair that my loved one was taken from me too soon.
And on and on.
If you check, any resentment is always in precious defense of the self.
Ignorance makes it impossible for us to see things clearly as they are. Ignorance is tuning out. Oftentimes, we are unaware that we are unaware. We project our assumptions, beliefs, hopes and fears and fuse them with reality. But it’s not reality, it is simply the way we have viewed a situation through our lens, and our lens can be discolored.Advertising
With a mindfulness practice we can become more and more open to what is and we can accept what has happened without so much blame and victimizing. All this blame actually catapults us into more suffering.
7. Forgiveness will enhance your life
When we skip from thought to thought in a foggy haze, these moments can end up filling up most of our lives.
The recognition that you can choose emotional well-being even when things don’t turn out the way you want, will change you, in spirit, mind and body. Dwelling on past injustices has no effect on the present other than causing you and your loved ones pain. Being angry will not bring back a lost loved one or mend your broken heart.
This may be difficult but you can still wish someone happiness, even if they hurt you.
Forgiveness can change your life. It doesn’t mean you have forgotten the past. It doesn’t mean you have to keep someone in your life. It just means that you have decided to move on and that you are ready to be happy.
Quick forgiveness tips:
- Explore your emotions.
- Seek professional help.
- Develop empathy.
- Forgiving is not forgetting.
- Think about your family.
- Rely on facts.
- Write down three good things that came from the negative situation.
- Acceptance, acceptance, acceptance. Let it go.
- Live in the moment.
- Take up a meditation practice.
Peaceful mind, peaceful life. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we want — it can be really tough. Sometimes we will be caught in violent storms, and these resentments will make us seasick. Accept the storm and you will find a life boat amidst even the strongest waves.
Last Updated on July 18, 2019
What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People
Some people just seem to float through life with a relentless sense of happiness – through the toughest of times, they’re unfazed and aloof, stopping to smell the roses and drinking out of a glass half full.
They may not have much to be happy about, but the simplicity behind that fact itself may make them happy.
It’s all a matter of perspective, conscious effort and self-awareness. Listed below are a number of reasons why some people are always happy.
1. They Manage Their Expectations
They’re not crushed when they don’t get what they want – or misled into expecting to get the most out of every situation. They approach every situation pragmatically, hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.
2. They Don’t Set Unrealistic Standards
Similar to the last point, they don’t live their lives in a constant pursuit towards impossible visions of perfection, only to always find themselves falling short of what they want.
3. They Don’t Take Anything for Granted
Happiness rests with feeling fulfilled – those who fail to stop and appreciate what they have every now and again will never experience true fulfillment.
4. They’re Not Materialistic
There are arguing viewpoints on whether or not money can really buy happiness; if it can, then we know from experience that we can never be satisfied because there will always be something newer or better that we want. Who has ever had enough money?
5. They Don’t Dwell
They don’t sweat the small things or waste time worrying about things that don’t really matter at the end of the day. They don’t let negative thoughts latch onto them and drain them or distract them. Life’s too short to worry.
6. They Care About Themselves First
They’re independent, care for themselves and understand that they must put their needs first in order to accommodate the needs of others.
They indulge, aim to get what they want, make time for themselves and are extremely self-reliant.
7. They Enjoy the Little Things
They stop to smell the roses. They’re accustomed to find serenity when it’s available, to welcome entertainment or a stimulating discussion with a stranger when it crosses their path. They don’t overlook the small things in life that can be just as important.
8. They Can Adapt
They’re not afraid of change and they work to make the most out of new circumstances, good or bad. They thrive under pressure, are not overwhelmed easily and always embrace a change of pace.
9. They Experiment
They try new things, experience new flavors and never shy away from something they have yet to experience. They never order twice from the same menu.
10. They Take Their Time
They don’t unnecessarily rush through life. They work on their own schedule to the extent that they can and maneuver through life at their own relaxing pace.
11. They Employ Different Perspectives
They’re not stuck in one perspective; a loss can result in a new opportunity, hitting rock bottom can mean that there’s no where to go but up.
12. They Seek to Learn
Their constant pursuit of knowledge keeps them inspired and interested in life. They cherish information and are on a life-long quest to learn as much as they can.
13. They Always Have a Plan
They don’t find themselves drifting without purpose. When something doesn’t go as planned, they have a plan for every letter in the alphabet to fall back on.
14. They Give Respect to Get It
They are respectful and, in turn, are seen as respectable; the respect they exude earns them the respect they deserve.
15. They Consider Every Opportunity
They always have their eyes open for a new road, a new avenue worth exploring. They know how to recognize opportune moments and pounce on them to make the most of every situation. Success is inevitable for them.
16. They Always Seek to Improve
Perpetual self-improvement is the key towards their ongoing thirst for success. Whatever it is they do, they take pride in getting better and better, from social interactions to mundane tasks. Their pursuit at being the best eventually materializes.
17. They Don’t Take Life Too Seriously
They’re not ones to get offended easily over-analyze or complicate matters. They laugh at their own faults and misfortunes.
18. They Live in the Moment
They don’t live for tomorrow or dwell on what may have happened yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity, a new chapter. They live in the now, and in doing so, get the most out of every moment.
You can learn how to do so too: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future
19. They Say Yes
Much more often than they say no. They don’t have to be badgered to go out, don’t shy away from new opportunities or anything that may seem inconvenient.
20. They’re Self-Aware
Most important, they’re wholly aware of themselves. They self-reflect and are conscious of their states of mind. If somethings bothering them, they fix it.
We’re all susceptible to feeling down every now and again, but we are all equipped with the necessary solutions that just have to be discovered.
Lack of confidence, inability to feel fulfilled, and susceptibility to stress are all matters that can be controlled through the way we handle our lives and perceive our circumstances.
The main philosophy employed by the happiest includes the idea that life’s simply too short: life’s too short to let things get you down, to take things for granted, to pursue absolute and unrealistic perfection.
For some, employing these characteristics is a second nature – they do it without knowing. For others, a conscious effort must be put forth every now and again. Self-Awareness is key.
More About Happiness
- How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up
- How to Be Happy Again: 13 Simple Ways to Shake off Sadness Now
- How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy
Featured photo credit: Charles Postiaux via unsplash.com