“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” — Nelson Mandela
Are there people and events taking up space in your mind rent free?
More than likely, the answer is YESfor most of us. But, how and why does this happen?
When we hold anger or resentment with someone or something from our past, these things keep getting our attention.
It usually happens when least expected. We’ll hear, smell, or experience something that triggers us to recall that situation and suddenly we are rocketed back to that time, even if it was something from long ago as a child. We think of ourselves as grown up – but suddenly we are responding like a much younger version of ourselves. We don’t understand why this keeps coming up. Maybe we tell ourselves that this happened a long time ago and should be done and over with. Or maybe we feel we’ve done our work with a therapist, a self-help book, or just plain ‘willed’ it to be done with and gone.
But, alas, there it is again!
Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (1924-2014) wrote in his book,From Aging to Saging, that when we can’t forgive someone we keep that person as a prisoner inside us. It’s like having all these people locked up inside our own personal jail cell. This means that someone has to carry those heavy keys around and guard all these prisoners. That someone is YOU!You carry
around a huge keychain on which you store the keys to keep the prisoners locked in jail. You keep the memory of their deed inside of you alive – otherwise why are they in jail?
Here is the really funny part – most prisoners don’t even know they are locked inside our prison. That’s right! They are going about their life, la-di-dah, and we are miserable. How is this fair? Well, it’s not!
Most of us think that feeling or showing anger is negative. Yet, we are in a constant state of anger! Whoa – this
isn’t even logical. Now Buddha said twenty-five hundred years ago (give or take a day), “Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the
mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.”
That’s a tall order! How can we do that?
Here’s the thing – we cannot move forward in our lives without letting go of anger and resentment. We must forgive!
One way of forgiving is to ask for resolution. “If someone steals my pen and uses it for a year,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in 1987, “but being contrite, comes to me and returns my pen and begs for forgiveness, my response is to ask for compensation for the use of my pen, for the ink used (pg xxiv Beyond Forgiveness by Phil Cousineau).” This is atonement. Atonement means sacrificing something. An easy way to ask for atonement is to simply say, “I am sorry. What can I do to make it up to you?” These words are important. Atonement means peace.
But what do we do when the person does not wish to say they are sorry or are no longer alive in order to say they are sorry? There is a solution. We may choose to forgive them for our own sake. Carrying around all this stuff that isn’t ours is exhausting!
This is a lot of the work that I do in my practice of hypnotherapy.
In hypnosis I take my client in their mind’s eye to a room where it is safe to confront the offender. The offender is then offered the chance to respond through the client’s voice. The offender may apologize, ask to be forgiven, explain why they did what they did. The client can then choose to forgive them and let them go. The alternative would mean hanging onto the other person. When this happens (which is rare). it is because they still have the incorrect belief that they are somehow making the other person suffer. They may also be in fear. Fear that if they let the other person go, they will no longer have power over that person – not realizing they are controlling an illusion.
Even if the offender does not apologize, the client will be told that they have the power to forgive for their own sake – to set themselves free.
The power of forgiveness is amazing!
It changes everything!
Often my clients find that after forgiveness work, someone that is still an active part of their life (maybe even a loved one – parent, child, spouse) appears to have changed as well. The client is no longer disturbed by the things their “loved one” said or did.
They are able to brush off those things that once hurt so much. The loved one may even stop the behavior that was so irritating before. What causes this change? I am not sure – but my belief is – you’ve changed – and that change is powerful and creates a ripple effect.
If you are holding onto anger, resentment, frustration, irritation, or other negative feelings toward a person or situation, you don’t need to live with it.
Schedule a Free 30-minute Discovery Session to see if this forgiveness work is right for you! You might be surprised to learn how quickly you can let go of years of resentment, pain and anger. Allow me to help you empty your prison cell and walk through your life freely.
Zoom and In-Person (with headphones) hypnosis available.