The art of forgiveness: Why holding on to resentment only hurts you more

The human experience is filled with experiences that brew resentment within us owing to a multitude of occasions where we feel wronged.

FILE: Revenge might be a dish best served cold, but, in the end, all you’re doing is depleting your own resources to replenish something that will never truly bring you fulfillment. Picture: Pixabay.com

Relebogile Mabotja speaks to clinical psycholgist, Liane Lurie, pastor at 3C Church, Arch Bilankulu, and monk Savyasaci Das Prabhu, about the power of forgiveness.

From civil injustices to personal betrayals, there is no shortage of situations that complicate our worldviews, emotions, understandings and reactions to the world and the people who occupy it.

Though there is nothing wrong with feeling and expressing hurt, pain and anger when it becomes something that engulfs you to the point of stagnation or vengeance, holding on to pain does more harm than good.

As all three guests note, holding on to resentment, in the long run, only ends up hurting you more than the person who inflicted this pain on you or the people you care about.

Revenge might be a dish best served cold, but in the end, all you’re doing is depleting your own resources to replenish something that will never truly bring you fulfillment.

Forgiveness is not necessarily about coming to accept what has happened or to make peace with what has happened. Forgiveness for some people may be about detaching themselves from the emotions associated with an event, considering the impact the event has had on them or their family or those close to them, and then deciding how they want to move forward, and also to look at are the emotions that they are carrying [holding them back] or are they necessary right now to process to allow them to heal in their own way.

Liane Lurie, clinical psychologist

Forgiveness, in simple terms, is to forgive the prisoner but ultimately realising that you’re setting yourself free…You can’t control what another person can do against you, but you can control how you respond… Forgiveness is really a process of acknowledging what has happened, not dismissing what has happened… It’s also understanding that, at some point, you need to set yourself free because many people are really locked into that, and they never move. Your life literally goes on pause because of this issue or this offence against you.

Arch Bilankulu, pastor – 3C Church

[Forgiveness] is an ornament to one who has become spiritually evolved… It’s not easy to do that because what we’re looking for is to get revenge. You’re seeing the perpetrator and you want to give double or triple what they gave to us. So, it is said, just like someone who is holding a burning coal in their hand, if you’re not forgiving of an offence to you, you are maintaining that coal in your hand, and who does it burn? It burns you.

Savyasaci Das Prabhu, monk

Scroll up for the full interview.

This article first appeared on 702 : The art of forgiveness: Why holding on to resentment only hurts you more

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