- ‘Really, Really Messed Up My Life’
- Quick Start to Healthy Weight Loss
- Black Men Can Beat Prostate Cancer
- Health Screenings for Older Black Men
- Healthy Man of the Month for July 2016
- HIV Testing is HIV Prevention
- Your ‘Mental’ Endurance
- Bisexual Health Priorities
- Entertainment CEO DonJuan Clark
- New Drug Helps Men with Melanoma
Forgiveness or Revenge?
“When we hate our enemy we become the very thing we hate!“
I knew I was in trouble when anger and rage woke me up at 3AM triggered by thoughts of seriously hurting a couple of people, both co-workers at the time. When I accepted the position, I had no idea that these two people had a boat- load of personal issues they all but flaunted. Talk about a hostile work environment! All my religious teaching didn’t save me from wanting to inflict pain even if that meant being hauled off to jail afterwards. Next step: resent the hell out of them!
According to Wikipedia, Resentment is the experience of a negative emotion (anger or hatred) felt as a result of a real or imagined wrong done. While it is perfectly natural to feel negative emotions after someone has hurt or wronged us, resentment cuts deeper than mere irritability, annoyance and even anger. But here’s the rub. Because of the consequences they carry, resentful feelings are dangerous to live with and need to be dealt with. They are toxic and corroding and have the real potential of infecting all future relationships. One of the immediate consequences is that inadvertently our offenders take up residence in our head! It’s like taking poison and waiting on the other person to croak. Not good.
“To err is human, to forgive is…OUT OF THE QUESTION.”
The good news is that our offenders can and should be evicted from our heads. But here’s another rub. That eviction process starts with a willingness to forgive. Yes, forgive! It appears unreasonable and absurd to some, essentially because it is natural for us to want to avenge ourselves when we have been wronged. Forgiveness is letting go of the need for revenge and releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment. It is not giving permission to continue hurtful behaviors; nor is it condoning the behavior in the past or in the future. Doctor Lynn Ponton, MD proposes that forgiveness can be a gift that we give to ourselves. It’s an opportunity to release pain and begin anew.
Here are some easy steps towards forgiveness:
- Acknowledge your own inner pain.
- Express those emotions in non-hurtful ways without yelling or attacking.
- Protect yourself from further victimization.
- Try to understand the point of view and motivations of the person to be forgiven; replace anger with compassion.
- Forgive yourself for your role in the relationship.
- Decide whether to remain in the relationship.
- Perform the overt act of forgiveness verbally or in writing.
In the meantime, give yourself an extra pound of love as you recover from the injury.
Victor R. Pond is a Contributor to healthyblackmen.org and Director of Policy, Research and Community Health at GRIOT Circle, a non-profit community based organization located in Brooklyn, NY, that provides psycho-social services to the LGBT elders of African descent (over 50).