You’re ready to move on from the argument. She’s not. Which, of course, stirs up a whole lotta feelings in you about everything you thought you’d already gotten over. You’re both stuck in an endless, angry loop of resentment.
The destructive power of built-up resentment knows no boundaries. Resentment has a way of weighing us down and getting in the way of our relationships at work, home, and beyond if it goes unchecked.
SO HOW DO YOU MOVE FORWARD?
1. Debunk the Myths: Forgiveness is not about condoning bad behavior or letting the other person off the hook—in fact, it’s the opposite. It’s about unhooking yourself from all that would have you feeling angry and exhausted about the past (and the person). The quote you’ve likely heard, “Anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” speaks quite pointedly to this concept. Forgiveness is about getting your power back and offering yourself (and others, as it were) the freedom to live life unburdened by the pain and hurts of the past.
2. Determine Your Readiness: Forgiveness is a practice that takes time and patience. You may not be ready, and that is perfectly ok. If you’re in a place of wanting to resolve and resume connection, is the other party ready? Are you feeling strong and secure enough to take a leap of faith into the unknown?
3. Acknowledge Your Fears (and Accept the Unknown): Journal this out. What’s on the line for you, what’s at risk? What is this new feeling you're hoping to achieve—is that scary too? Sometimes just naming the fear can disarm it enough for the work to begin.
4. Make a Commitment & Mind Your Expectations: As with any new practice, set an intention. Intentions are half the battle. If you want to forgive and release, you will... with patience, time, self-compassion and practice. Detach from any thoughts of how it should go; instead, simply notice what comes up in the process with detached curiosity. But do get clear in your intentions. Ex, "I want to feel _________ [lighter, freer, kinder, clearer, more connected with my partner, etc.]."
5. Seek Support: If it’s harder than you expected, seek out the help of a psychotherapist, coach, mentor, or trusted friend. They can help you check for blind spots.
Art Therapy Pro Tip
For a sneak peek into an Art Therapy exercise that I designed for working towards forgiveness, check out Releasing & Dissolving Resentment. This simple approach requires thick paper, watercolor pencils, watercolor paints, oil pastels, and an open mind. One client described it as a "really powerful experience" and that she "felt much lighter" afterwards.
And, for more information on Art Therapy services with me, Jessica Gada, click here.
"These times are so uncertain
There's a yearning undefined and people filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age?
And the trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
Are the very things we kill, I guess
Pride and competition cannot fill these empty arms
And the world they put between us - you know it doesn't keep us warm"
-Heart of the Matter by Don Henley, also recorded by India Arie