Forgiveness, Grudges and Releasing the Victim Syndrome

Your view of the world around you is a reflection of the world you have created within. The world you experience is an extension of your mind. Any level of peace or stress you experience, is directly related to the level of peace or stress or within your mind. If you are at peace with yourself, the world will appear peaceful. Keeping this in mind, forgive yourself for any mistakes you’ve made, knowing that you are no longer what you were in the past. Every moment, there is a new you born and you are living in this moment with a new you.

Forgive others and you will set yourself free from all you thought they did to you. In fact, they need not ask for forgiveness to be forgiven. They might even believe that there is nothing for which they need to be forgiven. Do not concern yourself with how they choose to experience reality, for it has no effect on you, unless you allow it. For something or someone to affect you, you must first allow it to affect you.

You can also choose not to forgive, but what good has such behavior ever brought to your life? You might be trying to consciously or even unconsciously punish someone by not forgiving him or her. Who are you really punishing? Who’s carrying that judgment around? You might not consciously recall that you are carrying judgment, but it is simmering below the surface, coloring everything and everyone with whom you interact. Little by little, judgments add up and weigh you down. You’re quick to anger, feel tired and stressed and may not understand why. Comments to others may become nasty and your patience fades. This is a result of your attempt to punish and not forgive. Think about it…who are you really punishing?

To paraphrase Max Lucado, "Anger is a predictable emotion, an irritant, a frustration, and an aggravation? Someone gets your parking place. Someone pulls in front of you on the freeway. A waitress is slow and you are in a hurry. The toast burns. Before you know it, little irritations turn into rage, revenge, bitterness and hatred. We trust no one and bare our teeth at anyone who gets near. Is that any way to live? What good has hatred ever brought? What hope has anger ever created? What problems have ever been resolved by revenge?"

What has a grudge ever resolved? In most cases, grudges become the focus and hinder you from living life to the fullest! Recognize who is being hurt by your grudge and non-forgiveness. Does the other person burn with your anger, feel the knot in your stomach, experience the recycling of your thoughts as you re-experience the events in your mind? Do they stay awake as you rehearse in your mind what you would like to say or do to 'punish' them? No…the pain is all yours!

Knowing 'why' is not the prerequisite to forgiveness. Knowing why the behavior happened will not lessen the pain, because the pain came at a time when you did not know why. Occasionally there are times when knowing why makes forgiveness unnecessary, but they are rare.

A solution to consider…make a list of what was actually done that caused your pain; not what you felt was done. Acknowledge your part. Were you honest about your hurt or did you hide the fact that the behavior hurt you? Did you seek peace by reassuring the perpetrator that it was all right? Did you stay when you or should have gone? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, acknowledge your behavior and take responsibility for the ramifications of your actions.

Congratulations! You took the first step to stop being a victim!

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Bonnie Morét is an award-winning photographer recognized by The Georgia Council of the Arts as "an exceptional representation of contemporary Georgia art work." Her photography is featured on Georgia Public Broadcast's Georgia Traveler. Her exhibitions include Fifth Annual Exposure Awards at Musee du Louvre in Paris, France, Art Takes Miami at Scope Art during Art Basel Miami, Metro Montage XIII at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, World of Water at the Georgia Aquarium, Open Walls at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Wholly Georgia: A Look at the Effects of Southern Religious Culture, sponsored by the Art History League and Georgia State University, at Mint Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, 6x6 at the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center in Rochester, New York, @Phonography: Dialogue in the Wireless Age, at 3 Ring Circus in New Orleans, Louisiana, and About Lands and Lives of the Civil War at the 6th Cavalry Museum in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. Her photography appears in Modern Luxury/The Atlantan, Jezebel Magazine, and hangs in the executive offices at the Georgia State Capitol as part of the Art of Georgia exhibit. Corporate clients include Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta History Center, Chanel Cosmetics, Christian Dior Cosmetics, Sharp Mountain Vineyards, PM Realty Group, Granite Properties, Road Atlanta, Patrón Tequila, Georgia's Own Credit Union, StubHub, CBM Records and The Washington Auto Show.