You've come up with goals and plans and all sorts of energy to move forward towards them, but you're going slower than expected. Why? Well maybe it's that 50 lb bag of rocks you've got on your back. What's in it? All of the guilt and resentment you've been clinging onto for years and years. Guilt is the perception that you failed in some capacity, resentment is the perception that someone else failed. The key word here is "perception." You perceive that you should be been/done differently, or that someone else should have been/done differently. You cannot control this though, you cannot change another nor can you change what has already happened. So these emotions are just stopping us from dealing with what is. It is clouding our ability to cope with reality.
Now that you know what you did, or what someone else did, who you are, who someone else is, what are you going to do about it? In the case of guilt, this is your opportunity to change. What do you perceive that you failed? What can you do about it now? You can figure out what you can do now to make this past mistake better. You can also figure out what you can do now to ensure that it doesn't happen again. This is called "learning the lesson." The beautiful think about learning the lesson is that you only have to do it once. Holding onto that guilt once you have learned your lesson is essentially you not trusting yourself. In the case of resentment, you cannot change the person, or what they did, but you can change your relationship with the person and you can change your reaction to it. You can let them know that you felt they failed in some capacity. They they choose to not change as a result then it is up to you to act again. It is always you responsibility to right what you perceive is wrong, not the other person, because most likely they do not perceive that they were wrong. If at any point you choose to no longer express your feelings then it is now entirely your problem if you continue to let the person treat you this way. If you choose to do nothing about it then it is now entirely your problem. This is when you must change your relationship or at least your expectations of the relationship.
Does it really, truly matter if you (or someone else) failed? No. What happened does not matter because it is in the past, what does matter is how you use "what happened" to move forward. You cannot control what is not present, therefore you cannot control what you or someone else did. What you can control is how you react. Your reaction is both your chosen perception of the situation combined with the lesson that you choose to take from it. Guilt and resentment are highly gratifying, they give a lot of power to the situation and justify all of those negative feelings, which tend to make us feel special. We all love to feel powerful, or justified, or meaningful in our course of action and guilt/resentment will do that for us. But what does guilt/resentment also do? It takes away our energy from actually dealing with the issue or moving forward. It serves as a little black rain cloud moving forward, it doesn't matter if you got the point and learned the lesson, that little black rain cloud is reminding you that it might happen again. When we live like this we are silently asking the universe to put us through that negative situation again. Guilt/resentment makes it very hard to go into the future with an open heart and mind.
So why forgiveness? Because it is liberating to you. Remember, this is your life, so if you live with guilt and resentment that is your burden to bear, not anyone else's. Do you want to be burdened or to be free? Forgiveness does not mean that what the person (including yourself) did was ok, but it is letting go. Forgiveness should come when you have learned what you need to learn in order to move forward. If you learn a lesson then a highly negative situation has created a very positive outcome, was it easy? Most likely not. But congratulations, you took a step forward with your life. That is something to be grateful for. It is truly powerful when you can look at yourself or another after a really tough time and say, "thank you, because of this I am a stronger, wiser person." Then you go on, living your life, lighter, wiser and ready for more. Evolution is learning so that you can let go of the past and move forward towards your new future. Evolution is only complete when you let go, so that you may be free.
Chelsea M Latham
When I was a kid my mom would occasionally refer to me as a Reverend, because I had the need to speak so passionately about just about everything. Little did she know that some day I would build a business upon sharing the wisdom that I am so passionate about. So here you go, here are some bits and bobs of thoughts strung together for your enjoyment.