‘Revenge is sweet when served cold. Always remember that”
Sister Lucy the most feared nun in my highschool never failed to remind us as she punished us for offences even we had no recollection of. It stuck, and it soon became a distant thought to forgive.
Most of us talk about forgiveness and always speaks of how wonderful it is.
“Oh forgive her she didn’t mean it that way” “Oh let it go you’re overreacting” but there is a reason so many can’t seem to forgive — it requires a willingness to feel pain. More than the offender probably already caused.
When people hurt us, our natural inclination is to commit an offense against them. Not just any offense, but an offense that is bigger, badder, and one that hurts far more. We call this revenge. It’s not a horrible thing, there are people that hurt us in ways we would call unforgivable. INTENTIONALLY. How do you let go of that?
After revenge, we tell ourselves that justice has been served, and believe this because deep inside of us, it feels really good to get even. Except, we didn’t get even — we simply started another chain of it. So vengeance will come back around to bite us in the ass. We will receive payback, and then we will pay it back again. On it goes with vengeance — it never ends.
The other route, also well visited is to nurse a grudge rooted in unforgiveness. Someone hurt us, and we will forever punish him or her by not forgetting or forgiving. Probably because we believe that withholding forgiveness will allow us to control the situation, but it doesn’t. It slowly kills us. It’s like drinking poison and expecting it to kill someone else. It doesn’t work. We only imprison ourselves. It’s exhausting carrying all that baggage, from experience.
If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges you will be filled with resentment, vengeance, and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. And the world is a cold, unfair place so you might never make sense of it.
What are the effects of holding a grudge?
If you’re unforgiving, you might:
- Bring anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience
- Become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present
- Become depressed or anxious
- Feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose
Basically, your life passes you by.
Forgiveness means different things to different people but generally, it involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.
The act that hurt or offended you might always be with you, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help free you from the control of the person who harmed you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.
I feel like I can’t forgive someone
Forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the person who’s hurt you doesn’t admit wrong.
- Practice empathy. Try seeing the situation from the other person’s point of view.
- Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation.
- Reflect on times you’ve hurt others and on those who’ve forgiven you.
- Write in a journal, pray or use guided meditation — or talk with a person you’ve found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a therapist or an impartial loved one or friend.
- Be aware that forgiveness is a process, and even small hurts may need to be revisited and forgiven over and over again.
It’s painful revisiting and processing what hurt you. Letting it go isn’t any easier but if you don’t, they win.