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How Unforgiveness and Bitterness Impacts You

December 6, 2018

Are you dealing with your past to live in the now, so the future is better? Do you have healthy goals?

One of the most potent attacks that our mind can bring against us is unforgiveness. Left undealt with, it will strangle personal freedom and life.

Many of us have gone or are going through some horrendous experiences. You have been hurt, you have experienced deep wounds, and many of you have been abused. I am not attempting to justify those who have hurt you or attempt to make light of the experiences. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or excusing offences.

The truth is, if you do not choose forgiveness - a willingness to release resentment - you will be limited in having healthy emotional responses.  When we lose sight of the good things and become focused on the offense, it begins to deteriorate our healthy self.

Many years ago I heard a quote: "Bitterness is like drinking poison and then hoping it will hurt your enemies.” The reality is that you are the one that is affected.

Holding a grudge and harboring resentment is about as beneficial as cutting off your nose to spite your face. You are only doing yourself harm, and the reality is, the other person may not even be aware of your feelings.

Bitterness has no positive attributes and no benefits in any area of our lives. Bitterness assumes something about the other person, labels it as fact in our own mind, and then continues to use it to judge the other person. When life becomes full of resentment, resentment continues to grow over time. The longer you remain resentful, the more bitterness becomes a habitual thought process which becomes hard to break.

The opportunities for us to be offended are numerous. Criticism, unthoughtful words, a friend forgetting your birthday, being overlooked in a decision that should have included you - the list goes on and on!

How can you tell if you are living with unhealthy emotions of unforgiveness? Here are some signs to look for:

  • Unhealthy questioning of authority – the rules don’t apply to me.
  • Unteachable – I am right and they are wrong.
  • Blurred vision – not seeing life decisions clearly.
  • Dwelling on it - continuing to talk about it at any opportunity.
  • Others are wrong or guilty until proven guilty – no grace or mercy.
  • Exaggerated reactions to life’s circumstances – anger easily.

When resentfulness happens over the long term, you experience stress and negativity on a day-to-day basis. Thus, it takes significant amounts of mental, emotional, and physical energy that we do not have time for.

Haven’t you suffered enough?  Isn’t it time to let go of feelings of anger, frustrations, and resentment from other people’s actions? It’s time to break the vicious cycle because negativity leads to more anger, and more anger leads to more negativity.

You and I need to make a decision - we must decide to release those who have offended us.


By Daniel Dannhauer

Mental Health Therapist