Anger is often a surface emotion. There is almost always a feeling underneath, like hurt or betrayal, that we cannot bear to feel because it is too vulnerable and too powerless. I provide therapy for people who have been wounded and are living with the torture of chronic resentment. Though it is important to experience all of our feelings fully, ongoing anger and resentment are only damaging to the individual experiencing them. We can only move through the anger when we are willing to sit with the pain of the underlying experience.
Overcoming resentment occurs when we can understand can have compassion on ourselves and others. Ultimately, we fully release our anger, resentment and woundings when we can forgive.
It’s tricky to speak of forgiveness as those who have been deeply wounded, traumatized and betrayed find forgiveness an appalling concept. What I do know, however, is that if you’ve been hurt and are holding onto resentment and anger, it has the end result of only hurting you further. The pain and betrayal stay alive in you in the form of resentment. It also keeps you in a state of victimization, because the person who hurt you continues to have power over your emotional state, even though he or she may be long gone.
It is through forgiveness that we fully heal. Forgiving others does not mean that what the person did was okay, rather, it’s a conscious act to reclaim to fullness of our joy and happiness in spite of the wounding that was received. It releases the hold the perpetrator has on us and takes us out the experience of being a victim. This is the meaning of the phrase “to forgive is divine.” Forgiveness is a really hard thing to come to, and I can speak from personal experience when I say that it is both possible and one of the most freeing things you can do for yourself.
- Article ~ Four Elements of Forgiveness. Ryan Howes
- Article ~ Maitri: The Love That Never Dies. Pema Chodron
- Dance ~ Angry Vulture. Travis Wall