Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy

Jamie Tripp Utitus
Written by
Jamie Tripp Utitus

There’s a famous quote by Nelson Mandela: “Resentment is like drinking a bottle of poison and hoping it will kill your enemies.”

One part of healing with multiple sclerosis is learning the art of forgiveness. Holding hate in your heart can make it hard to heal. In fact, it hurts your heart, lungs, weakens your already compromised immune system and induces anxiety and even depression according to studies.

So how the heck do you get it out? Here’s a sentence that helped me: forgiveness is a choice. When you’re working to forgive someone who has hurt you, you may not feel like tip-toeing through the tulips with them at first. It can take years for the emotional aspect to align.

You don’t have to hang with the forgiven; you just have to have the will to forgive them.

I once had a best friend whose wrongs nearly destroyed my family and my life. What he took from us, from me (including my health) was unfathomable. The scope of the pain, I didn’t know if I’d ever walk again. I collapsed for him. And there was no thank you. Just lies, tons of lies. But I chose to forgive him and now I can say that I sincerely wish him the best. But in no way does that mean, I want a part in his life.

I can laugh now. But it was insurmountable at the time.

But I didn’t just arrive here. It took a long time to FEEL this way. Forgiveness is a choice. The emotion follows later. And the lighting, the truth, it follows. Someday, I assure you, you will laugh at what once threatened to destroy you.

Here are some tips for letting go of anger:

First, let it be known, hate is JUDGEMENT directing anger. For me, what was done was incredibly wrong, but at the same time, revisiting and judging only brings up feelings of hate in me. I hate hate. So here’s how to release it according to my friends at the Personal Tao:

Release the judgments driving the feelings of hate. Although I used to vent about my feelings to friends, I eventually realized my release came from letting go, and no longer obsessing. I stopped talking about every single wrong he’d ever done, and instead I turned inward. I focused on my wrongs and tried to acknowledge them, to be better, and to forgive myself.

Move on with your life. Detach from where your feelings of hate rise, or from anything projecting hate back toward your own life. In my case, I got busy with my novel, writing workshops, and living with my family. I decided to focus on loving instead of hating.

Sometimes being compassionate means walking away without saying anything. At times no answer is required other than your leaving. After nine months of prayers, I still haven’t come to a conclusion on how to handle this situation, and that’s okay! I am not ready, but someday I will be.

Take the time to focus on releasing the anger itself. For me, prayer and meditation has helped to release the anger that I have stored. It is important to find another way, a positive way, to imagine all of the anger releasing from your body.

Living Like You is a community about positive living. Live to your fullest. Fill your life up with love, romantically, creatively and professionally, until there is no room for anger in your heart, only healing. Don’t be your own worst enemy.

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