Have you thought that you needed to forgive something horrible that happened to you but you just can’t seem to do it? Resentments keep us in bondage of the person or event over which we have the resentment. In 12-step programs, they say resentments are the number one cause of relapse! Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to get rid of resentments? It turns out that there is.
In the study “Forgiving you is hard, but forgetting seems easy, can forgiveness facilitate forgetting”, participants had to imagine different scenarios where they were victims, then indicate whether or not they would forgive the transgressor. More forgetting was observed for those incidents that had been forgiven.
It’s been said that holding on to a resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die!
One of the most traumatic challenges I have faced in my career was an attack on my professional character and standing by the board of medical examiners (BME). One disgruntled poly-substance addict in my addiction practice went home on her first night after starting treatment and supposedly had a seizure that broke her hot tub and flooded her house, for which she wanted financial compensation.
The BME requested numerous other random charts, I appeared in front of the investigation committee, and despite my lawyer saying I had nothing to worry about, after a year of waiting, the BME sent a letter accusing me of everything they can legally accuse a physician of. I responded with a detailed report using the same charts they had requested, showing line by line how each accusation was false. All charges were ultimately dropped but the damage to my psyche and reputation was deep. How to forgive and forget?
I realize my little run-in with the board, while they threatened to end my medical career, was nothing compared to victims of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. It nevertheless gave me insight into how hard it is indeed to put past trauma behind us. We fear that if we forget, it could happen again so we keep our guard up, but as a result we live in constant bondage to the memories of that past trauma.
I find highly evolved spiritual people, tend to be those who have suffered greatly, and risen above to a response of love and forgiveness. I have found “The course of miracles” and the book “The disappearance of the universe” by Gary Renard to address this whole topic of forgiveness as key to spiritual freedom. Indeed, throughout scriptures, one finds this to be central.
If you suffer from past hurts that you have not let go of, I encourage you to work on forgiveness, get professional help, but be sure that in addition to helping you identify your issues, make sure they are working with you on forgiveness. You don’t have to forget in the sense of letting yourself be vulnerable. It is a separate set of skills to establishing appropriate boundaries, so such abuse can NEVER happen again.
Blessings on your journey. I wish you freedom from the bondage of self, and bondage to those memories that are unforgiven.
Read this enlightening study here…