When you decide you no longer need the bitterness and resentment, you are ready to let go of it. You are ready to forgive. There are many ways. People decide to forgive when it just isn’t interesting any more. Like an old movie that has been played over and over, it is time to put it back on your shelf and watch something new. Recall number #59 by Mary Oliver. Where she refers to sorrow, substitute bitterness and resentment. “When I was young, I was attracted to bitterness. It seemed interesting. It seemed an energy that would take me somewhere. Now I am older, if not old, and I hate bitterness. I see that it has no energy of its own, but uses mine, furtively. I see that it is leaden, without breath, and repetitious, and unsolvable.” People let go of old resentments by imagining them as snow flakes falling on the ocean, as sand castles on the shore, melting away with the incoming tide. People let go of bitterness and begin to forgive when they decide that they are tired of being controlled by other people and past events. They want to stake out a claim on their own lives again. They want to control how they feel, and what they think about it. They decide that while they can’t change the past, they can change how they feel to day, and what they dwell on today. People decide to forgive because they are tired of seeing themselves as a person who is victimized, self-preoccupied, trapped, and embittered. They prefer to see themselves as a person who is generous, tolerant, and non–judgmental. People who have forgiven those who betrayed them feel emotionally free, and they feel they have risen in stature as a human being. What method will you use to forgive those who hurt you, betrayed you, or disappointed you?
# 71 Deciding To Let Go of Bitterness