It is not uncommon for someone to be told that they should just forgive and forget and simply move on from someone who has wronged them. This can seem to be the most logical thing that one can do; to put it behind them and carry on with their life.
One could be told that they are bigger than what has taken place or that holding onto to what happened will be detrimental to their health and wellbeing. So one might then feel pressured to move on, or at least make other people believe they have moved on to keep them happy.
For others, it could be something that they just go with and don’t force themselves to forgive or to go along with what other people expect them to do. It could be a few days or it could be a few weeks, but this doesn’t matter, as one will embrace what they are experiencing.
One can then deny how they feel and push the whole experience out of their conscious awareness or they can embrace what took place and slowly integrate what has happened and move on.
So while one of the examples above is healthy and the other is not, they both give of the impression that one has moved on. If one came across two people and each one of them chose one of the options above, it might be hard to tell which one had truly moved on and forgiven and which one had not.
The other approach is for one to become one with that they are experiencing and to externalize their pain. Here, one is not the observer of what took place or able to hold what they are feeling, they have become consumed by it.
This is then likely to lead to some kind of violence towards the person or people who have caused one to feel wronged in some way. And there is going to be actions that one can take that are subtle and barely noticeable on one side, to actions that are highly visible on the other.
And just because one is not engaging in external forms of violence, it doesn’t mean that no violence is taking place. As one could be directing the violence against themselves and so while the target may be different, the consequences are still the same.
What can define how one deals with the need for revenge can be factors such as: if one is more of an extravert or an introvert, what their childhood was like, whether they are religious or not and the kind of people they spend their time with.
When the need for revenge arises, it is typically due to someone feeling that they have been harmed or wronged in some way. One could feel that they have been: compromised, betrayed, violated, humiliated and/or abused for instance.
And shortly after these feelings arise, one is likely to end up feeling the emotions that are to do with self protection. Here one can feel anger and as this builds, hate and rage can appear. These factors can then lead to someone wanting to seek revenge.
Stuck In Anger
It is natural for people to say that they don’t want to forgive another and this is often a result of what they believe will happen if they let go off the anger and rage. To do this will leave them wide open to the feelings that are under these emotions and here one will feel vulnerable and without protection.
So to just let go off the anger will not be enough; one will need to face and let go of what is going on at a deeper level, in order to feel safe enough to move on. This is why being able to detach is so important; because if one is stuck in how they feel, they will not be able to see that there is another possibility.
Through the mind holding onto the anger, it can cause one to remain stuck in the need for revenge. And this can then result in one holding on to things that happened many, many years ago. To the mind it won’t be safe to let go, as this could lead to the same thing happening all over again.
If one feels comfortable enough with their emotions or is around people who encourage them to embrace how they feel, then it is less likely that they will hold on.
So in this case, being angry and seeking revenge is not right or wrong or good or bad, it is simply the result of one protecting themselves. And at the time of the wrongdoing, this can be vital to ones survival. However, if one still feels this way after a certain period of time, it could be a sign of avoidance.
As these deeper feelings and emotions that have become trapped are faced and released from a recent event or an event that happened many years ago, one will be able to let go of their anger and the need for revenge. It will no longer be necessary for one to be in this protective mode as they have emotionally moved on from what took place.
To say that one should forgive and forget can sound right, but sometimes, forgiveness is more about what is going on in the body than what is going on in the mind. And therefore, the body needs to be ones focus and not the mind.
If one is still around the people who have wronged them and they haven’t changed, then it might not be a good idea to let their guard down. And in this case, it might be best to no longer have this person in one’s life.
However, in when it comes to people who one know longer sees or do not cause one any problems, it will be important to let go of what has stayed trapped in their body. This can be done with the assistance of a therapist or a healer who will enable one to face their trapped feelings and emotions and release them.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.