How Unforgiveness and Bitterness Impacts You
One of the most potent attacks that our mind can bring against us is unforgiveness. Left undealt with, it can impact our health.
Many of us have gone or are going through some difficult or challenging experiences. You may be hurt and experiencing pain. Forgiveness is not 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.
Holding a grudge and harboring resentment can do 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.
Forgiveness releases those who have offended us and ironically releases ourselves as well.
By Daniel Dannhauer
Mental Health Therapist