Forgiveness... Why Can't You Let Go?

forgiveness man hand

The theme of this issue of the American Spirit Newspaper is “Forgiveness: Why can’t you let go?” Forgiveness is a word that has a great emotional charge to it. We hear it and many different images come to our mind. For some it brings up religious symbols such as Jesus on the cross forgiving the world. Others are reminded of heartbroken lovers in acts of betrayal, or friends who have done one another harm. Then there are the family members who face forgiving the murderer who killed their child, or the child forgiving the parent who deserted them. In Webster’s dictionary forgiveness is simply defined as, “an act of ceasing to feel resentment against on account of a wrong committed.” Seen in this light, forgiveness applies to us all, for who has not felt resentment or been resented? Who has not experienced a wrong committed against them or done wrong toward another? We all are in need of experiencing forgiveness.

We all want to be forgiven. However, are we all so willing to forgive? I know that many times in my own life I have done something wrong and then wished and prayed that I would be forgiven for what I did. In most cases I was, and of course I was thankful that I was relieved of the pressure of being resented and the sense of guilt it brought with it. However, on the reverse side, I cannot recall as many times that I have actively sought to forgive someone for some injustice I perceive they did against me. In fact, there have been a few times in my life that I admit I have gotten a little pleasure out of knowing that someone else was agonizing over the fact that I had not forgiven them.

Some people experience a tremendous sense of power in holding on to resentments. It can provide a sense that we are omnipotent if we can hold our ground and refuse to forgive another. Unfortunately, those who are holding on truly do suffer the most. I have seen decent people become hard-hearted because they are delighting in holding on to resentments. The resentment eats away at them and they lose their love for life. It is all too easy for us to become self-righteous and smug that we deserve the right to hold on because of some wrong done against us.

Perhaps more powerful than holding onto resentments towards others is when we become unable to forgive ourselves. Often others hold nothing against us and yet we continue to dwell on the past, holding ourselves captive to a belief that we have done some great wrong and that we must be punished. Sometimes we simply do this to ourselves; there is no wronged party but only our own vague sense of unworthiness. Wherever this comes from it can be so powerful that it doesn’t allow us to experience happiness or to move forward with our lives. For many years I experienced an inability to forgive myself for a failed relationship. The consequences were that I couldn’t let myself enjoy other relationships in that came into my life. When I finally forgave myself I was able to start enjoying the people that were in my life. Forgiveness is a healing vibration. As you read this issue of the American Spirit Newspaper you may discover areas within your own life where a little forgiveness may be needed; whether you need to forgive someone or yourself.

Letting go and letting forgiveness flow through us has many benefits. As you will discover in articles such as, “Letting go in hypnosis,” “Forgiving myself in a brand new way” and “How I brought my inner self to the forefront,” when you let go and let forgiveness flow you can create change. When we are holding on to something we become stuck, like being wedged between two rocks. The consequence is that we experience the same old thing over and over again. All our attention is focused on holding on and there is no room for anything new. When we let go the past no longer has its hold on us and the future becomes subject to change. So you may want to ask yourself: “What am I holding on to and why?” When you find the answer to that you will be able to see the areas in your life where you have been unable to grow and you can begin to see other possibilities for yourself.

Do you want to be free to experience the peace that comes with forgiveness or do you prefer the prison of wielding resentment against yourself and others? It is our hope that this issue will help you gain insight into where you stand and help you to move forward on a path to better things.