7 – Day Forgiveness Challenge – Day 6

Hello to all who are joining in on the forgiveness challenge! You are awesome for hanging in there! How did yesterday go, writing your not-so-hot behaviors and actions down?

Today, we’re going to look at a key factor in your ability to get to a place of forgiveness. Let’s jump right in…

Now that you have identified that your gripe is legit, i.e., that you don’t do the same things for which you are angry, and you didn’t get the ball rolling, it is time to look with new eyes, from 180 degrees.

Consider the ways in which your resentment has taken its toll on your life emotionally and physically. You may be trying to cope with damaged relationships, a divorce, etc., because of your resentments. So, the emotional toll for you may well be poor relations with others. I would suspect you are stressed over the issue and revisit it frequently, which leads you to great angst.

Physically, you are most likely affected by constriction of every part of your body, by a sour stomach, by clenching your gut, your jaw. There are many ways our emotional stress manifests physically. What is true for you?

You know, medical research has shown that being in a state of forgiveness leads to decreased risk of heart disease, heart attack, and cancer. Obviously, the opposite is true, and that’s something to consider as you look from a 180 degree perspective.

So, now look 180 degrees from where you are currently looking. Consider that you want peace in your life… peace for yourself… peace for your heart.  Remember, you forgive for yourself, not the other person. Is it worth the emotional and physical toll your resentment is taking? It never is, in my experience.

Here are the next steps to take. It involves some writing…

  • List out the ways in which you are consumed by your resentment; how does it affect you in your daily life – your work life, your home life, your life out in the world?
  • Consider that you want something different for yourself. Consider that you want to have emotional peace, no matter what it takes.
  • List out the things you want to be different in your life, or, if you have a need to hang on to the resentment, write about it and why that might be.
  • Consider the possibility that you can leave this misery and create a new story.
  • Visualize yourself in that story. How does it feel? What do you like about it? Write about it. If you cannot see yourself in a positive story, know it will come in time.
  • Spend some time and energy becoming willing to hear about how to devise a new story. Write about any resistance.

Sit with this desire to make changes in your life. It will resonate with you and feel good. Tomorrow, I shall talk about the one way to create forgiveness, as we wrap up the challenge. If you are struggling with this, I offer my coaching services to you so we can work together to get you unstuck. Simply call me at 415-883-8325 to schedule a session.

I’ll see you tomorrow. I wish you well in the writing exercise.





How to Manage Resentment

I spent 38 years of my life carrying a resentment against my parents for the things that occurred when I was growing up. I was a bitter, angry person, filled with self-pity. I drank heavily, saying, “You’d drink too if you’d had an upbringing like mine.” The thing is, the resentment was only hurting myself, and did nothing to move me forward in life.

Resentment is defined by Webster as a feeling of bitter hurt or indignation, from a sense of being injured or offended. In recovery circles, it is distinguished from anger by the thought that a resentment means to feel again and again.

Today, I have resolved my resentment and enjoy a fine relationship with my parents, as well as with others. How did I do that, get to that place?

First, I looked at what was behind my resentment. I found it was usually because I was hurt or disappointed by something someone did or said. I took that hurt and disappointment and ran with it, feeling it again and again, feeling indignant that “this” was done to me. As I mentioned, I was filled with self-pity.

The second thing I did was to conduct a self-appraisal. This involved looking at my positive points first, and then my negative ones, my negative thoughts, behaviors, and actions. What I discovered was that I had very high expectations, higher than, for example, my parents could meet, given their own wounds they received while growing up. They were incapable of being who and what I wanted them to be. When I realized this, I was able to let go of my expectations and enjoy the positive things that came my way.

Also in that appraisal, I discovered ways in which I had gotten the ball rolling on a resentment. In other words, I did or said something to hurt another and they reacted in a human way back to me. I then resented them for how they reacted. But I started the whole affair. I had to learn to identify my part in things, and in the case of resentment, I found it was caused usually by my behavior and actions.

That was an embarrassing thing for me to realize, as I thought I was “justified” in my resentment, but when I saw that I started the whole thing, I had to let go of the resentment. I had to learn to identify what was behind the resentment and it was most often hurt.

It was also because I was disappointed by something and blamed it on the person I thought disappointed me. After doing my appraisal, identifying when I was disappointed, I began to learn not to expect anything from anyone. This way, when something happened that was nice, it was a pleasant surprise.

To recap, my resentment was almost always caused by my high expectations that someone couldn’t meet, or by something I did or said to get the ball rolling. How did I get past my resentments?

Well, after the self-appraisal, I began to develop compassion for others. For example, when I allowed myself to look at my parents and what they endured during their childhood, I began to realize they were just repeating what was done to them. Knowing what that was like, I felt compassion for their childhood, and for them. From this compassion, I was able to forgive. That does not mean I condone what happened; it just means I am pardoning their behavior, having seen its root causes.

I hope this is helpful information that you can put to use now or in the near future. Here’s to the resolution of resentment in your life.