Updated: Aug 12, 2021
Resentment comes from French roots (ressentiment) in the early 1600's. Resentment means "bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly." We all deal with resentments, holding on to emotional injuries caused in the past. This is a painful experience. When you hold onto this pain, you feel it repeatedly.
Sometimes resentment may be our mind's way of offering security from future harm. It can be a coping mechanism to protect yourself from the person who hurt you in the past. But with forgiveness, you can free up space in the heart to allow love and care to take root. The practice of forgiveness will help you let go of these painful experiences and offer freedom to the mind and heart.
15 Minute Meditation
Find a comfortable meditation posture and invite your body to relax. Release any tension in your muscles as best you can. Spend a minute or two focusing on your breath.
Bring to mind somebody you feel resentful towards. It's recommended to start with any easy situation, rather than jumping to the strongest resentment first.
While taking slow, deep breaths, connect with the intention to cultivate an open and loving heart. If there is resistance, acknowledge this, do not fight it. It takes time to open the heart, so don't force anything.
Begin offering phrases of forgiveness, connecting with the words as much as you are able to. Say a phrase slowly in your head or out loud, finding a rhythm. You can repeat these phrases: I forgive you as much as I am able to in this moment. May I let this pain free itself from my heart.
After six or seven minutes of offering forgiveness, let go of these phrases. Turn the focus on yourself, recognizing you may have also caused harm on others in the past. Call to mind a specific person you may have hurt. Begin asking for forgiveness from this person. You can repeat these phrases: I ask for forgiveness for any harm I have caused you. May you find room in your heart to forgive me.
Allow 5 minutes to pass and return to your breathing. Focus on your breath for for a few minutes before opening your eyes.
This practice can be done as many times as you need to help release any hurt you are carrying from your past. Remember that forgiveness does not require you to let somebody back into your life or to be okay with somebody's actions. You can let go of resentment while still retaining healthy boundaries. A forgiving heart sets healthy boundaries, while a resentful heart sets boundaries out of fear.
"Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself." - Anonymous
Practicing Mindfulness by Mathew Sockolov