Resentment can increase stress, as well as raise blood pressure, muscle tension and heart rate. Showing compassion and letting go of the desire for revenge can improve your psychological and physical strength.
Forgiveness isn't easy, but is necessary for well being. As Nelson Mandela said: "Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for it to kill your enemy."
Consider the following steps:
Step 1. Recognize and accept that someone or something has hurt you. Think about how much energy you spend holding on to past incidents.
Step 2. Let go of any thought that you are a victim. There may be pain and anger, but you are only a victim if you believe you are.
Step 2. Consciously commit to forgiving. Forgiveness doesn't happen just because the hurt fades or you forget. The choice is to take back the power the person or incident took from your life.
Step 3. Look at the person or incident differently. For example, look at the person as a human being with his or her own limitations. It may be that the act (or non-act) wasn't to vicitimize you as much as to take care of the person's own needs. It may help to try to put yourself in the other person's shoes. What was the person feeling or going through at the time of what was done, or not done?
Step 4. Wish the other person well -at least in your thoughts. Show mercy. Showing mercy, you will also be merciful to yourself.
- It is preferable not to make your forgiveness contingent on the other person acknowledging what he or she did or apologizing. The request gives power over your emotions to someone else.
- While it may happen, do not expect gratitude from the person who hurt you or a reconciliation or state of peace with the person. The key is to get rid of your inner anger. It is the release that let's you move on.
- Forgiveness is one of the techniques for copingn with stress. For additional techniques, click here.