Seeing Beyond the Tears

Sometimes when we are caught up in grief and anger, it seems like this is all there will ever be now in our life. Permanent tears. Permanent anger.

Yet, please take a look at two different File:Blue-tears-eye-ball2.jpgtimes in your life in which you were steeped in heartache or rage. The tears came…..and they left.

Today it may seem like these will never end…..but they will.

Take a lesson from your own past. The pains were temporary.

They are temporary even now.

Forgiveness helps them to be temporary.


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On Resentment

“When people withdraw love from us, we might development resentment. After all, we do not deserve unfair treatment and Resentment 2we do require love, not from all but at least from some. Resentment occurs when anger not only comes to visit, but sits down in our hearts, takes off its stinky shoes, and makes itself too much at-home in our hearts. After awhile, we do not know how to ask it to leave. While some anger might be good, persistent and intensive anger that is resentment is not healthy. It can distort in the short-run how we think (as we dwell on the negative), what we think (as we have specific condemning thoughts), and how we act (reducing our will to act in a morally good way).”

Excerpt (Chapter 1) from the book, The Forgiving Life: A Pathway to Overcoming Resentment and Creating a Legacy of Love, by Dr. Robert Enright, Ph.D.


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Forgiveness Does Not Require Abandoning…..Resentment……..Is This True?

What is resentment? It is the harboring of persistent ill will.

What is forgiveness? It is mercy on those who have been unfair to us.

ResentmentThere is a contradiction if we have persistent ill will and say that we have forgiven.

There is no contradiction if we are in the process of forgiveness and have resentment, as long as we realize that one of our goals is the abandonment of that resentment.

There is no contradiction if we have some residual anger after we have forgiven, as long as that anger is not harsh toward the offender or toxic within ourselves.

Residual anger is not the same as resentment.

We have to be careful not to equate residual (non-toxic) anger and resentment. Otherwise, we pat ourselves on the back in the name of forgiveness when we are still poisoning ourselves and perhaps others.Resentment hurts you not them

We have to be careful not to equate forgiveness and a total absence of any anger whatsoever. Otherwise, we might condemn ourselves and feel guilt because we think we have not forgiven when we have.

A little anger left over is part of the imperfect human condition. Yes, we can continue to forgive, but we need not expect perfection today.


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Another Forgiveness Hint

Some people are perplexedAnger Mgt 2 that they can still feel some anger after they have worked so hard to forgive. Anger is not necessarily something that can go away by willing it away. It can take time to fade. So, ask yourself this question: Is the anger controlling me or am I in control of my anger? If you are the one in control, realize that you are well along the path of forgiveness.


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Reflection on Legacy—Your Legacy

While surfing the web yesterday, I came across this idea on legacy: “…. legacy counts for little: the vast majority of us will be forgotten and our works with us.”

That quotation got me to think about each of our legacies. Legacy is what we leave behind when we die. Even if we are forgotten and our work along with us, legacy remains. You see, legacy is not just how we are remembered. In addition, and most importantly, legacy is what actually remains from our actions here on earth—whether what is left is attributed to us or not.

In a recentMake a Difference 3 blog post we discussed anger in Northern Ireland, an anger that has lasted since the late 17th century. No one today can pinpoint who it was that started all of this anger that lives on. Yet, it lives on. It is real and it was started by some who left it here on this earth when they died.

I think love shares this with anger: It, too, can be our legacy that lives on long after we are gone, and it can exist apart from anyone ever connecting our love back to us.

Does legacy count for little? Look at the legacy of anger in countries torn by strife for centuries. Even though we cannot name the originators, the legacy is profound and not in a good way.

Does legacy count for little? Think of even one time in which one of your parents gave you legitimate love that stayed in your heart. If you can pass that to even one other heart and then it is passed on to another heart, does this count for little?

Do not be concerned if your name is not in lights 200 years from now. Be very concerned that you have the opportunity today to start a pattern of love that goes from heart to heart to heart…even if you and your works are long forgotten.

Legacy can be profound and in a very positive way. Start your legacy today. Love someone deeply enough that the love abides in that heart….and lives on.


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