The lens through which we perceive the world always contains an element of subjectivity. That is, we are never entirely free of perceiving the world through our own unique filter, a filter consisting of our personality tendencies, our personal history, and our belief systems.
For example, one woman may experience betrayal from a close friend or spouse and interpret the event as part of the basic badness of human nature and remain resentful and emotionally wounded for years. Another woman experiencing the same betrayal may interpret the event as evidence of a good person who was feeling weak or conflicted and she may have compassion for the person wounding them and be able to let go of resentment and forgive the person whose behavior wounded her.
It is neither right nor wrong to feel resentment, anger, and deep hurt. These are natural human responses to betrayal, rejection, and loss. However, we may fail to recognize that there is an element of choice here. We can stay attached to our initial emotional pain reaction or we can work through those initial emotions and frame our experiences in ways that allow us to forgive rather than cling to our pain.
Resentment keeps us stuck. Forgiveness allows us to move forward. Let’s explore the complexities of resentment and forgiveness as they manifest in the filters through which we see our own lives.
- Share an experience in your life that deeply hurt you. How did you react? Through what belief lens did you view this event?
- What is your personal tendency? Are you more likely to remain in resentment, anger, and cynicism or are you more likely to move into acceptance and forgiveness?
- Give an example from your life in which you have been successful in transforming anger and hurt into compassion and forgiveness?
- What is your definition of what it means to forgive another person? What does it mean when we talk about our need to forgive ourselves?
- What are other subjective lenses we tend to look through in interpreting our experiences?
- How do you move from resentment to forgiveness?