Here’s How to Forgive and Let Go of Resentment

heart broken woman photo

Here’s a lesson in how to forgive.

A few months ago I was on the beach with some friends, one of which starting talking about a woman whom I had known in college. She had formerly been a friend who had been so cruel to me I nearly transferred schools. In the midst of the discussion, I realized that the same anger that bubbled up a decade ago was still present. Resentment was like poison flowing through my veins. I needed to forgive her.

We all have the people in our lives that wrong us. In fact, entire societies are wronged on a global level. Recently, I was watching a news show that told the story of a woman who had forgiven the man that murdered her husband in the midst of ethnic genocide in Darfur. She didn’t do it for him, she did it so she could let go of the resentment and her community could begin to move on from the devastation. She knew how to forgive.

Refusing to forgive someone can become the defining feature of your life and it can hinder healthy relationships because you think that everyone is going to wrong you like the person who wronged you in the past.

One of the best ways to let go of resentment is through mindfulness meditation, specifically a form of meditation called loving kindness meditation. The meditation walks you through different people that you need to develop loving kindness towards:

  • a respected, beloved person – such as a spiritual teacher;
a dearly beloved – which could be a close family member or friend;
a neutral person – somebody you know, but have no special feelings towards, e.g.: a person who serves you in a shop;
a hostile person – someone you are currently having difficulty with.

The key is acceptance of the person that you’re having difficulty with at the time. Jack Kornfield offers a great loving kindness meditation as part of his beginner meditation audio session.

In the final stage, begin to pray for that person that wronged you. Forgiveness heals and it’s the only way to get over the pain that someone has caused you in life. Learn how to forgive.

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” ― Steve Maraboli

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