That’s right. Don’t give up your resentments if you want to continue drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.
Don’t give up your anger if that’s how you want to fuel yourself. If you get an adrenaline rush just thinking bout who wronged you, then don’t give up resentments.
The other day, I talked to my friend Lily who finally, finally gave up her elephant-like resentment about her ex-husband who cheated on her when they were married. For years, she dragged around this resentment. When people suggested to her, “Pray for his happiness, health and prosperity. Pray even through gritted teeth for him,” she shook her head, stamped her feet, and said, “No way am I going to pray for him. He’s the cause of my misery. He did something so wrong to me and I will never forgive him.”
So Lily let her resentment fester inside her. She started getting stomach pains. (See my blog post about how some physical pains are connected to our spiritual and emotional states.) She had a repetitive resentment (from the French, re-sentir, to feel something again and again) toward him that was filling her mind and heart and soul and preventing her from feeling any joy. She was making herself sick with it.
“Can you pray just for the willingness to possibly pray for your husband down the road?” a friend asked Lily.
“Maybe not today, but okay, maybe some day, I’ll be able to pray for him,” Lily said, her armor of self-righteousness beginning to crack just a wee bit. Because she was tired of hurting. Because she wanted to move on with her life.
Why is that even important? It does not mean that what he did was not wrong. It just means that she was willing to let go of the past hurt and stay present in the present.
So each morning she prayed for the willingness. Just to get her mind opened enough to be willing to even consider praying for him. And slowly, she was able to start praying for him. She really prayed for his happiness, health and prosperity. She prayed to be freed of her resentment. And the resentment stopped being corrosive inside her.
But it takes more than just telling ourselves to stop feeling angry at someone or something. We can transform the negative into the positive—that’s the only way to go about getting rid of those feelings that eat away at us. We need to take our mental energy and use it, harness it, make it work for us.
It does not matter if other people recognize or acknowledge that they did something wrong. The point is that we stop living in the past.
Tool For Tuesday: Don’t give up your resentment if you want to stay stuck in the past. But chances are, we are better off if we stay present in the present.
Here are some more powerful affirmations from Catherine Ponder.