Forgiveness is establishing a right relationship, without resentment. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

We feel bad when we are not in a right relation with other people.  If we are resentful, then we suffer from echoes of that resentment in everything we do.  The same is true of our relationship with ourselves.  When we are not in a right relationship with ourselves, we resent ourselves, and that resentment echoes all around us.

Forgiveness is the name we give to restoring a right relationship with ourselves and others.  When we forgive ourselves, then we stop resenting ourselves.  When we forgive others, then we stop resenting them.  At that point, the door is open to right relationships.

This process is often unconscious.  Often, we don’t know quite what we feel so bad about.  We only know that we are deeply uncomfortable, and cannot seem to make things right.  Whether the feeling is towards ourselves or others, we just feel resentful, without being able to say openly exactly what it is that we resent.

The process can go on for a long time.  Friends and family can stay apart because neither knows how to return to a right relationship.  Sometimes it’s one-sided: one person wants to be friends, and the other one doesn’t.  That’s free will, and we have to allow people their tastes and preferences.

When others are resentful towards us, or at least are not reaching out to us as we might hope, then we can at least work on our own forgiveness.  We can be responsible for our own thoughts, and try to remove any traces of resentment from our minds.

If we can be free of resentment, then life gets interesting.  We become better able to sit with others, and hear them, without flying off into resentful thoughts.  We become able to hear things we disagree with, and yet still remain calm and considerate.  We can also hear others’ criticism more easily, because our hearing isn’t encumbered by so many defensive filters.  We can sit with things as they are.

Just for today, I will see how it feels to live without resentment towards myself and others.  I will leave the door open.