Forgiveness is the economy of the heart... Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.
From "The Woman's Book of Resilience: 12 Qualities to Cultivate" by Beth Miller:
It is understandable and instinctive to experience the strong negative feelings associated with being harmed, insulted, and injured. We want to blame the person or people who hurt us; we want to see them suffer. We want them to hurt every bit as much as we have been hurt. We instinctively look for ways to make ourselves feel better, stronger, back to center. We don't want to view ourselves as the hurt, the weak, and the one under. It feels further humiliating to be unable to right the situation, protect ourselves, or stop the aggression or injustices. Even when we have been victimized, we dislike being the victim.
Resentment creates a heavy heart and fuzzy thinking for the one carrying it. It can result in obsessing and ruminating on what has been done to us or what we have done to someone else. Or, in so many cases, putting childhood events and stored-up hatred and resentment out of mind, only to have them appear as unrelated depression and irritability.
It is not unusual for resentment to keep us awake at night, invade other healthier thoughts, interfere in other relationships, and create distractions at work. This is costly and counterproductive, to you, not the person who harmed you. As the adage says, resentment is taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We who hold the memory, consciously or not, the thoughts and the feelings of the transgression, are the ones who are suffering, and we are the only ones who have the power to transcend the heaviness.
Through forgiving and cultivating genuine compassion, we take our power back; we open the door to freedom. We discover the freedom to be inventive in relating to others, to handling traumatic experiences in a strong and firm manner and standing up for ourselves without damaging anyone else. Being resilient, weathering the next storm or navigating the present upheaval requires an open heart and a clear mind that results from forgiving and having compassion.
To be resilient requires a lightness of step and the flexibility to move and not stay stuck or mired in yesterday. It is through accepting the reality of what has been done, accepting the reality of having been hurt, betrayed, wronged; working through the layers and layers of difficult emotions and thoughts accompanying the injury, and finding ways to improve our life and state of mind that gives us the best opportunity for true freedom from insult and trauma. It is through admitting, feeling, and letting go of the negative emotions associated with the egregious act that we transcend victimization.
Many people are under the illusion that forgiveness lets the misdoer off the hook; it does not. Genuine forgiveness is not about condoning awful behavior. Forgiveness and compassion do not green light what has been done. There's no question that perpetrators who are in a position to hurt again need to be stopped. Ironically, the clearer we are, the less saddled with the negativity of previous transgressions, the more creative and effective we can be in stopping further violations. The fewer resentment blocks you have, the more access you have to saying no; cursing the behavior appropriately and in a resilient fashion protects you or anyone else who needs it.