Forgive and forget- it’s easier said than done. We don’t have the technology to remove memories yet. We can forgive endlessly but never forget. When a harm is done against us, our brain takes that to memory. In fact, research shows that we are more prone toward noticing negative things in life than we are positive ones. That is why it takes so much work in recovery to learn how to change our thoughts, responses, behaviors- in essence, our minds. Experiencing trauma, abandonment, abuse, or neglect in any way can inspire us not to forgive in life. The opposite of forgiveness is resentment. Not forgiving means holding a grudge or a resentment towards someone else. Resentments and the anger which accompany them are rarely unwarranted, after all, a harm has been done to us. However, what is unwarranted is the extent to which we hold that resentment and withhold our forgiveness. More importantly, we have to decide how much of our lives will be affected by our lack of forgiveness. Despite our best attempts, withholding forgiveness doesn’t hurt the person we don’t want to forgive. It only hurts us as it prevents us from moving on in our lives. As we sit in anger or resentment, spending our time and energy in ill will towards others, they are continuing to live their lives. It is likely that our lack of forgiveness towards them have any effect. Indeed, if they are healthy, mature, and have good boundaries, it will hardly influence them at all.
Weight of Resentment
If you are struggling with substance abuse of any kind, it is likely you are also struggling to carry the weight of many resentments. You might not consider yourself a very angry person- usually those people have the most anger buried within them compared to others. You and who you are has nothing to do with the fact that you are resentful and find it difficult to forgive. Not only is it a human trait, it is especially a trait of addicts and alcoholics who have lost their way.
Part of finding your way includes learning how to forgive. Forgiveness, we often think, means approving of the harms done to us. Our disapproval was best demonstrated through our withholding forgiveness, after all. True freedom lies in forgiving and moving forward, rather than forgiving and forgetting. Great wisdom lies in some of the harms done to us and helps us to better protect ourselves in the future. Moving forward is the way we mature and let go of our past while preparing for our future. Recovery lays the future at your feet. Forgiveness, is a wonderful first step.
Lakehouse Recovery Center is devoted to helping each client find the freedom in their lives they need to have fun again, learn how to live again, and make it through without mind altering substances. For more information, call us today at 877.762.3707.