Healthy Relationships: Resentment vs. Forgiveness (Part 4 of 4)

The focus and goal of this current series is to ask you to evaluate your most personal relationships and decide if you want to pursue holding onto your resentments or learn to let go of your resentments and practice forgiveness.

It is beyond the scope of this blog or theme regarding this topic of forgiveness since this is such a big, big subject. There are many books on this subject of forgiveness and many people have written about this subject over the years. But for the sake of this blog, I am inviting you to evaluate what are your intentions when you pursue your spouse, best friend, family member or close co-worker to take the risk and really answer this question: do I want to resent or do I want to forgive.

You see, if you want to forgive and the other person does not want to forgive but instead likes to be resentful, than you are going to have to have some tough but healthy conversation with that person. And the first step to do this means really going out on a limb and take a risk and think of ways to be vulnerable. To forgive means being vulnerable. And if you do value the person and you do value wanting to stay in the relationship, then choosing to have that vulnerable and honest conversation, could be helpful in becoming a forgiving person.

For example, if Tom and Sue are married and Tom is building a resentment, what if he said this to Sue: “Sue, do you have about fifteen minutes tonight as I would like to talk to something important with you. The purpose of this conversation is not to place blame, not to express anger and meanness to you, but to share my heart regarding our relationship. Sue, I am feeling that resentment has entered into our relationship and resentment for me is not wanted as it is not a friend or a feeling that I want in our relationship. What I want and I am asking if you also want this is for us to pursue apologizing and forgiving one another in our relationship. I know this is a different way of how we could view or relate but I think if we could find a way to resolve our hurts and differences, than maybe we could try a different approach and we could see some new improvements in our relationship. But I know I can’t make you want to do this but I am inviting you to think of this so that we could discover some newer ways to resolve our hurts and differences.”

What I tell my clients and people is that maybe you should write this down on a piece of paper or on an index card or type up a letter to this person and ask them could they sit down for fifteen minutes and you could read this to that person. If you need help with this, then rent the movie “As good as it gets” where there is this one scene in which one of the people needs to share some news with the other person and she uses about 10 index cards to share some news that then is used to inform the other person.

Healthy relationships really focus and participate in having regular conversations about wanting to express the anger and hurt and find ways to forgive and let go any baggage for the purpose of moving forward. When you can quickly get to your flower garden and pick out the weeds before they get too big, you will not days or weeks later have to spend all day getting the weeds out where if you had just spent an hour a few weeks ago, the weeds would have been gone. Addressing your anger and hurt quickly will have the relationship as this will only lead to each person focusing on forgiving each other rather than building a resentment towards each other.

Healthy people place the emphasis on forgiveness; unhealthy people and relationships focus on resentment. Healthy relationships focus on not keeping a list or building a resentment; unhealthy people like their lists and find their list to be helpful to hurt and punish the other person. Healthy people are reminded that for love to last, each spouse does not keep a record of wrongs that others do. Unhealthy people and relationships do keep a record of wrongs and use this record to justify why they are angry and how they can be resentful towards one another.

Healthy people want to build a healthy relationship that is like a flower garden filled with beauty and attractions with habits and traits such as intimacy, closeness, empathy, kindness, respect, consideration, and words of encouragement. Unhealthy people and relationship don’t value a flower garden nor building an environment of love of kindness but instead find what they define as normal in which two people are arguing, being mean to each other, reminding each other where they failed and looking for ways to be hurtful.
I don’t know about you, but I choose forgiveness. When you really are ready to forgive and when you are ready to let go of resentment, you really will see the fruits of forgiving in which you will feel secure, have peace of mind, and in general feel happy to be with someone. Letting go of resentment open your mind and heart to replace resentment with not holding onto wrongs and instead value and practice forgiveness. Pursue forgiveness as it works and solves many relationship problems.