“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 3, 2020
30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life
In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:
1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to
Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.
2. Focus on your breath
Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.
3. Get organized and purge old items
A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.
4. Stop yourself from being judgmental
Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.
5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often
Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.
6. Smile more
Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!
7. Don’t worry about the future
As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.
8. Eat real food
The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.
9. Choose being happy over being right
Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.
10. Keep technology out of the bedroom
Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.
11. Make use of filtering features on social media
You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.
12. Get comfortable with silence
When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.
13. Listen to understand, not to respond
So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.
14. Put your troubles in a bubble
Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.
15. Speak more slowly
Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.
16. Don’t procrastinate
Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.
17. Buy a coloring book
Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.
18. Prioritize yourself
You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.
19. Forgive others
Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.
20. Check your expectations
Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”
21. Engage in active play
Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!
22. Stop criticizing yourself
The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.
23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want
Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.
24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.
Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.
25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of
Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.
26. Manage your money
Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.
27. Stop trying to control everything
Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.
28. Practice affirmations
Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.
29. Get up before sunrise
Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.
30. Be yourself
Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.
Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com