There are times or experiences in our lives that can be difficult and illicit very strong feelings. Some of the strongest emotions we feel are anger, forgiveness and love. These three emotions effect all relationships. The closer you are to someone, the more these emotions will effect your relationship.
Forgiveness is a difficult emotion for some people to master. Often hurt, resentment and feelings of betrayal get in the way of forgiveness. Lack of forgiveness toward a person who has hurt you however can be destructive. It can be a poison that slowly kills love until the relationship is unsalvageable.
In order to forgive someone, you must first express and release your own anger. Expressing and releasing your feelings is critical to begin healing. In order to do so you must first fully understand your own feelings of love, anger and let go of your resentments. Doing this will allows you to move on. It frees you from your own hurt and opens the space in your relationship for total forgiveness.
It all begins with Love
Every living creature is born with the ability and need to be loved. Each individual has unique needs. No two people are alike so no one will be able to meet our exact needs. It stands to reason that we will inevitably be hurt when we don’t get our needs met. It’s only natural to feel hurt when someone we love doesn’t meet our expressed and unexpressed needs. In fact, that pain can feel extreme, especially when it is inflicted by means of humiliation, manipulation, stone-walling of many other behaviors that are abusive.
It is vital to your mental health that you experience your feelings and not repress them. Once you have experienced and expressed them you should let it go. This is when you are ready to forgive and engage in love. To forgive someone completely is a process that only time can heal. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself, not for the person in need of forgiveness. When you commit to forgiveness, you give yourself permission to move on from the hurt, the anger and the resentment. It opens the space to love again.
Sometimes we get stuck and misdirect our anger. We lose our sense of perspective and focus intensely on the person you betrayed your trust or hurt you. Focusing on the “wrongdoer” makes it difficult for you to move on with your life and could very well keep you stuck, unhappy.
Sometimes people confuse anger and forgiveness because they share many of the same characteristics. When we forgive another person prematurely, we often do so without looking at ourselves deeply and without taking full responsibility for our part in the situation. This is a subtle form of the blame game with a bit of self inflicted martyrdom. We feel righteous because we took the high road and we hold that righteousness over our partner. When playing the martyr, we end up feeling even more resentment. This is not true forgiveness because not only did we victimize ourselves, but we didn’t take responsibility for our own behavior.
When you forgive someone without having really understood or expressed your anger, we dishonor ourselves. Going through the motions of forgiveness is not true forgiveness and does not lead to a good outcome. Deep inside, your heart and soul still carries the torch of anger and resentment.
True forgiveness is placid and peaceful. It resonates throughout your entire heart, mind and spirit. Until you have released and resolved those feelings there will always be lingering anger and resentment.
Understanding your responsibility and theirs when dealing with angry feelings.
It is very important to know the difference between your own behaviors and theirs. You are not responsible for the other person’s behavior that triggered your anger. You are responsible for your own emotional reaction to that behavior and the actions you take as a result. In other words, the only person responsible for your feelings is you. The only person responsible for your actions is you.
Authentic and healthy forgiveness involves:
- Love without agenda or an expectation for a particular outcome
- Personal Empowerment to take responsibility for emotions and behaviors that belong to us
- Constructively expressing and releasing negative emotions allowing you to move on
- Being open to love, seeing yourself as your partner sees you, seeing your partner as they need you to see them, and allowing love to flow in and through each other.