This is one of my favorite quotes. We hear far to many people bent on “Paying back” people who hurt them, or worse, they just carry around the anger and resentment from the someone, or the world at large has done to them. What many of us fail to realize is that by doing this we are allowing that very same situation, or person, to continue to hurt us again and again.
It makes sense to be more cautious around someone who in the past has shown they cannot be trusted to have your best interests at heart. Sometimes you must even do your best to eliminate them from your life. Continuing to harbor resentment or hurt after the fact does little, if anything, to affect the offending party. Quite often they are either ignorant of your discomfort or in extreme cases take pleasure in it.
Nelson Mandela did spent over a quarter of a century of his life in jail for nothing other than belonging to the wrong race. When the people who put him there finally released him if he were bitter, or angry I think we all could understand. What he understand was feeling that way would only affect him.
It was Buddha who said
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”
There is great truth in this statement. Your actions and feelings may eventually cause harm to the one who hurt you, that is you may ‘hit’ them with that coal, but by the time you do so you will already have been burned.
I see two major ways in which this happens. One, the physical way anger or hurt affects your body. Your blood pressure is elevated. You often feel lethargic. Quite often it leaves you feeling sick to your stomach. You can develop a terrible headache. These symptoms are also the same as a body who has been poisoned, and for very good reason. When you harbor a negative emotion it is literally a harmful poison put in your body. So not only can these people affect your emotional state, which you may transfer to others only to compound the problem, if you hang on to those feelings they can affect your health as well! Who would want to say to someone “you have just hurt me emotionally, allow me to help you hurt me physically as well” Sounds crazy but that is just what we are allowing them to do.
I mentioned there is another cost to hanging on to negative emotions. The other being mental focus and production. When your time and energy is spent on revenge, anger or depression it not only steals the joy from that moment, it costs you moments of happiness, productivity and creative creation. Projects you are working on will take twice as long and prove twice as difficult. Nobody wants that.
So do yourself a favor and get rid of all the negativity in your life. It is true what they say about forgiveness, it is not only the gift you give the other person, it is more the gift you give yourself. So give yourself that gift and free yourself from the prison of your own creation.