Without forgiveness life is governed by…an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.
– Roberto Assagioli
The positive cycle of forgiveness
OK, be honest. Do you hold grudges? Do you allow old drama to determine your behavior? Is there someone you just can’t seem to forgive? Grudges and a non-forgiving attitude do nothing but harm both parties. You might feel like you’re “winning” by not letting someone off the hook, but you’re only increasing your own worry and stress. Bitterness can lead to hate, which can sour a life. Today, write a letter explaining your point of view to the person you feel resentful towards. Clear the air; forgiving him. Even if you don’t send it, it is an excellent way to relieve tension. Forgiving someone does not absolve them of the wrong that you experienced. It can simply free you to live a life that isn’t anchored to the hurt and resentment of past events.
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I was never one to hold grudges. Nope. I got even, usually, without the person even knowing it. Imagine evil gleam in my eye as I plotted. HA HA HA. My passive aggressive style was brilliant. But then I grew up, or life happened, and I discovered some things just weren’t that important. Revenge was one of them.
I learned something else as well. I wasn’t always right. Is that to say I was never wronged? Of course not. Is that to say life is fair? Uh, nope. Aren’t I really just a door mat then, taking it and taking it? I am not.
There is a lot that happened in my past that I could be bitter about; angry about. A lot of resentments I could harbor, but I CHOOSE to live my life in such a way that everything is a blessing. Good or bad. That doesn’t leave any room for resentments or anger because there is none.
Somehow, someway whatever it is, is going to turn around. When my daughter’s dad and I divorced. I was young and hard hearted. I cared about me, and me only. He dared to want full custody of our then, 3 1/2 yr old daughter. I was floored and angry. Babies belong with their mothers. This is how I grew up and this is how she would grow up. How dare he! Did he really think I was a bad mother?
I didn’t think about what was best for Sydney. Nor did I think about what was fair as parents, who both had a part in bringing this life into the world. I was full of revenge, and resentment towards him wanting to keep me out of the picture.
Turns out, back then, his attorney advised him full custody wasn’t an option. I felt like I won! Revenge was sweet.
Years later, I am horrified at my behavior and thought process. How could I have been so cold? So selfish? Why in the world did I not think of Sydney? Was I numb to her broken heart when I picked her up from her Dads and she cried for him the whole 40min drive home? Why did I think it was about her rejecting ME for him? When it was really HER needing more time with her Dad.
Today, I am with a man who has two young daughters. He has visitation every other weekend and very brief dinner time twice during the week. I see their joy when he takes them in his arms. I see how much they need him and miss him. I hear their cries on the car trip home to their mothers.
Friends, I have come full circle from being that mom on the one side, to being on the other side in the Dads situation. I understand my part, from way back then, more than ever. The blessing? I have more compassion towards Jason and the girls than I ever would have had. I understand completely. My love overflows for them and their anguish.
I have forgiveness for situations like these that are so very hard. I can forgive myself for my part of the custody arrangement with Sydney’s Dad. For being so hard, unrelenting, and immature as an inexperienced mom who just didn’t consider other possibilities than what I grew up with.
Luckily, her dad and I were good friends a little after the divorce. He cared for Sydney whenever he wanted. We lived in the same town, and even the same street for a while. It worked out in her favor, but only because I allowed it to and did not hold my resentment a prisoner in my heart. And you know what? Neither did he.
He was not out to get me. He was out to do and be the best father for his child. I wanted the divorce not him. He was just trying to survive the aftermath with his baby he dearly loved.
I am grateful for my positive cycle of forgiveness. I am grateful for all that I have learned (and will learn). My hope is that it carries over into the lives of our children. I hope they will practice forgiveness and live free and happy.
Choose to forgive, don’t waste any precious time nurturing the seeds of bitterness. Spit them out, swallow your pride. Be kind to yourself and fill up with good things. It will make way for great love and understanding in your soul. It will bring you peace and joy.
27 thoughts on “Sunday’s Healthy Reflection-Positive Cycle of Forgiveness”
As always absolutely beautiful. Your heart and soul resonate. It’s a lovely place to reach in life when you can let go and Let God, as I call it. Revenge is bitter and ugly and has no where in a peaceful life…good for you for finding that peace and the good life.
“Choose to forgive, don’t waste any precious time nurturing the seeds of bitterness. Spit them out, swallow your pride. Be kind to yourself and fill up with good things. It will make way for great love and understanding in your soul. It will bring you peace and joy.”
I had a rough upbringing and when I was 13, all the horrible stuff came to a head and I was a very angry, unhappy person. I don’t know when it happened, but one day I realized what’s done is done. I hold onto very little and have no hatred for anyone…almost to the point where I can be too forgiving, which is also sorta bad
You’re so right with what you’ve written. I once read a nice little proverb that said:
60 seconds of anger is a lost minute of joy…
I think that just brings it down to what’s essential!
Have a lovely Sunday.
I can relate to this on so many levels. I won’t get into details, but I was in an abusive relationship for over 20 years. I finally decided to move out of state to get myself better and wanted my daughter to come along. She was 13 at the time and decided she wanted to stay with her father. I was crushed!
Me moving away and breaking a cycle was the best thing I’ve ever done. But to that 13 year old girl she only sees it as a mother leaving her daughter. I’ve struggled with this and how she must have felt at the time and along with that comes much guilt.
I’m in a much better place now both physically and emotionally. I had to learn to forgive my children’s father and MYSELF for my wrongs as well. I’ve also learned that it’s important to let your children know that you will always be there for them no matter what! Tell them everyday you love them and make sure your actions match your words.
Beautiful Angelia. We all struggle with this in some way or another, and you said it perfectly. Our sermon this week talked of walking in our own “wilderness” and what it teaches us. It sounds like your “wilderness” taught you forgiveness and perspective. God is amazing! I am always sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see how He is going to use our trials for good in the future. You are a walking inspiration to that notion and I commend you for your strength and for standing by the “right thing”. I am so happy to be in your life.. that God has blessed us with this friendship!
Beautiful as always Angelia! I don’t hold grudges either. Like you said, it’s a waste of my time and energy and attracts negativity. My children often tell me I’m too forgiving of others. I tell them I just have better things to do than stay angry. People make mistakes. It really is that simple.
My dear young friend. You are wise beyond your years. You have already learned things that some spend their whole life not knowing. I commend you for your thought process regarding Jason and his girls. You are going to add so much to their lives.
What a wonderful thing it is that you and I have found each other on this computer. Our life paths have taken similar courses. I have a daughter from my first marriage…a marriage that was never really meant to be. But my goodness, I have a wonderfully loving and devoted daughter from it and that makes it a positive in my past. And I found a wonderful man that accepted me and my daughter. And together we have two more daughters. I’ve had a wonderful life and wouldn’t change the course of things if given the choice.
Good life, my friend. You’re on the happiness path.
Blessings and Hugs.
I admire you and your outlook. I try to think of myself and very forgiving, but, I have to admit there are a couple of instances in my life where the bitterness has won out. STILL trying to work on that. Some things are just SO hard to forgive. I think that’s gonna take a LOT more work on my part. 😦
I’m a bona fide Grudge Holder. Must work on this some…
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Oh Ange, just beautiful. I forgive and forget as well. Most everything. I find Karma is a bitch and she works well for me.
Forgiveness is hard for many. Some can do it right away. Others take a bit longer. Some never forgive! I do forgive, but I do not forget. It helps me to make better choices that way. 🙂 Stay well!
You are friend are a writer, you have the potential to write a timeless book… Well as someone who had a very rough childhood, very rough and then another hit when I was 17 I know all about forgiveness. I reached a point where I could either go on living or die and to live I had to forgive and I did. It took time but I did it and in the process liberated myself.
Ahhhh…it’s just so EXHAUSTING to hold grudges and retain bitterness. There’s too much drama involved in all of that and I find it’s just easier to let go. It may take me a little time and a lot of prayer, but ultimately, I believe in people and the power of positive thinking. Great post! =)
I read your post and all the comments, and again you made me emotional, Angelia. I see where you come from and how you have learned to be such a wise woman. I can forgive others, but to forgive myself, is the hardest thing to do. I feel guilty when I want to forgive yourself. That part I am struggling with.
My mother has told me that perhaps I am too forgiving. I think that’s interesting, because I’m definitely not a person who gets “walked over” like sometimes happens when you so easily forgive. I just can’t bare to keep the resentment bottled up in my heart, plus, I probably care too much what others think of me.
I got your card AND the giveaway prize today– I am so flipping excited! I am going to shop til I drop, and I have you, WONDERFUL YOU! to thank 🙂
Confessions From A Working Mom
This is so well-written, honest and frank. Brava.
And welcome to the SITS community!
inspiring. and truly something to live by. you are such a strong, beautiful, amazing woman.
for the most part i’m with you. i still have a few grudges. i somehow can’t find a way to forgive the guy who raped my best friends. but that’s my only serious grudge. i have other frustrations but they include forgiveness for those people. doesn’t mean i don’t still get mad about them sometimes when i talk about it but forgiveness is the better way to go, i do agree. i forgive fairly easily. forgive, but don’t forget. but remembering needn’t be revengeful.
today, you are the sage superhero 🙂
I had to reread this cause it lost it’s meaning for me after this..Babies belong with their mothers.
I am so glad that phrase is not always true. I was raised by my father from the age of 18 months and at 7 I got a step mother.
Anyway..about letting go, it took me a long time to get over the anger of my mother leaving us. The last 20 yrs have finally been smooth, not lovey dovey but with tolerance of each other.
Perfect food for the soul.
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I think forgiveness is a tough one. We are called to forgive and yet it’s not easy sometimes. I think when we forgive we help ourselves most—or else we just get bitter.
Thanks for visiting my blog on my SITS day!
Oh yes, as the mother of two girls I can relate to the story of balancing my own hurt with their needs. I make mistakes, and will continue to do so but certainly the path to forgiveness is the healthier road for all….even it is full of rocks and spikey bits that trip you up occasionally ! Great post !
What a fantastic post, I couldn’t agree more. Some good info here, I have to have my wife look at this and comment.
You did it again! Really, you’re full of life and anger doesn’t belong in your heart, much bless revenge. Revenge is not our’s, it’s God’s. Your second chance of fulfilled life makes it more compelling to forgive. You are so blessed, Sweetheart!. Your advice is worth it all.
You have the biggest heart ever and you do write so beautifully about it.
Yes, we do not know what we do and it is so beautiful to look back on those times with love and compassion and forgiveness. I do not think that we ever do anything to hurt others, we are just ignorant.
It is good to be reminded of that and to know that for next time and next time.
BTW your Valentine post was gorgeous too and Jason of course 🙂 xox Wilma
This is great – I just posted on perceptions and I almost talked about fogiveness in it.