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Forgiveness: Letting Go Of Grudges And Bitterness

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward.

Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps your mother criticized your parenting skills, your colleague sabotaged a project or your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance — but if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

What is forgiveness?

Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:

• Healthier relationships
• Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
• Less anxiety, stress, and hostility
• Lower blood pressure
• Fewer symptoms of depression
• Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse

Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?

When you’re hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.

What are the effects of holding a grudge?

If you’re unforgiving, you might pay the price repeatedly by bringing anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Your life might become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present. You might become depressed or anxious. You might feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you’re at odds with your spiritual beliefs. You might lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others.

How do I reach a state of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you might:

• Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
• Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being
• When you’re ready, actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you
• Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life

As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.

What if I have to interact with the person who hurt me but I don’t want to?

If you haven’t reached a state of forgiveness, being near the person who hurts you might be tense and stressful. To handle these situations, remember that you can choose to attend or avoid specific functions and gatherings. Respect yourself and do what seems best. If you choose to attend, don’t be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. Do your best to keep an open heart and mind. You might find that the experience helps you to move forward with forgiveness.

What if the person I’m forgiving doesn’t change?

Getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words isn’t the point of forgiveness. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness can take away the power the other person continues to wield in your life.

What if I’m the one who needs forgiveness?

The first step is to honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you’ve done and how those wrongs have affected others. At the same time, avoid judging yourself too harshly. You’re human, and you’ll make mistakes. If you’re truly sorry for something you’ve said or done, consider admitting it to those you’ve harmed. Speak of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically, ask for forgiveness — without making excuses. Remember, however, you can’t force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever the outcome, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.

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Want To Get Happy? Detach From These Four Things.

Non-attachment is one of the most important skills you can master.
We easily get attached to things, people, situations, the past and the future.

However, these attachments are never healthy. Clinging onto anything is not a good habit to cultivate, although we all seem to go down that road at some point in our lives.

We often attach ourselves to the things that are making us happy at that moment, trying to hold onto them just so we can experience happiness longer. We worry about the odds of losing the happiness and we think that clinging to it would make it stay. And when things change – as they always do – we feel miserable and betrayed.

Knowingly or unknowingly, we attach ourselves to feelings of happiness and satisfaction, and identify ourselves with them. Because of this, we tend to dwell on the past or feel anxious about the future, failing to experience the joy of the present moment.

Once we stop clinging or trying to control the world around us, we allow the Universe to fulfill us in ways beyond our imagination. Letting go is necessary so we can allow the happiness to flood in.

Releasing attachments is not a one-time decision. It is a moment-to-moment choice and commitment, and it involves changing the way we interact with anyone and anything we used to get attached to in the past.

So how do you release your attachment? Here’s a few tips to set you free.

1) Releasing Attachment From People.

Quit depending on people when it comes to acknowledging your worth. Know your worthiness without needing other people’s approval. Don’t let others dictate how you feel about yourself.

Going alone sometimes is a good way of releasing your attachment from others. This will help you examine yourself as well as your passions and values.

Hold onto people lightly and understand that you, and just you, have the ability to feel loved, worthy and secure.

This can also be applied to romantic relationships. Understand that it takes two whole persons to be together, and you are never someone’s “other half”.

2) Releasing Attachment From The Past.

Whether you like it or not, you can never change what’s already happened – ever.

Holding onto what’s already gone is living your life based on fear. Instead of focusing on what has happened or what didn’t happen, focus on whatever is happening right now. At this very moment.

This is the only moment you have control over – the now. Make peace with your past and realize that whatever happened had to happen, so the you right now can emerge. When you look back, you’ll see that the sequence of events had unfolded perfectly, for your own personal growth.

3) Releasing Attachment From The Future.

You cannot find happiness and contentment in the future, because the only real thing is the present moment – and this is all you’re experiencing right now.

There is no need to know what the future will hold. The only thing you need to realize is that your future is hinged on how you will use the present moment.

4) Releasing Attachment From Feelings And Emotions.

This goes to both positive and negative emotions. Most of us are attached to feelings of happiness and the feelings of regret. We tend to forget that all of these are just passing emotions. Identifying ourselves with our feelings and emotions make us prisoners of our own minds.

To release your mind, notice when you’re overwhelmed with an emotion, and then take a pause. Observe your feelings and take a few deep breaths while telling yourself: “This is just an emotion, it does not define who I am.” You’ll notice the overwhelming feeling melting away.

The practice of releasing attachments may be difficult, but only because we have accepted our attachments as part of our lives, believing it is in accordance with the society.

You can break free from this notion and release whatever is binding you to all these dramas. Not getting attached to anyone or anything is important in order to bring harmony to our relationships with other people and most importantly, with ourselves.

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