Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong and resilient. It doesn’t erase the past, but looks upon it with compassion. Forgiveness means making a deliberate decision to let go of hatred and resentment instead of allowing it to eat away at you.

When anger and hatred burn the mind and grip you in the form of emotional, mental, and spiritual bondage, forgiveness allows you to push those feelings away and look to the future.

Trust the power of forgiveness to heal hurt and pain, because ultimately, the one who holds resentment is the one who suffers the most.

As Patricia Hartmann describes it in her historical fiction novel, “The Ojai—Pink Moment Promises,” “He who harbors unforgiveness is like a man who drinks poison hoping the other person will die.”

Withholding forgiveness keeps emotions of anger, hurt, and blame alive, which color your perception and prevent you from feeling truly happy. Although the fire of anger may not rage after a while, the embers remain hot and risk reigniting the fire until it’s extinguished. That’s why forgiveness is a powerful weapon, for it liberates the soul.

Patricia Hartmann’s “Secrets of Sandpiper Cove” tells the story of Rachel, who, despite facing the worst kind of betrayal, finds peace in forgiveness.

“I do forgive you, Mama.” Rachel ripped the note into a hundred tiny pieces. She let the fragments fall from her fingers. Tossed and teased by the wind, they fluttered like tiny white birds freed from long confinement to taste the dizzy elation of sea air. As the pieces fell into the sea, Rachel let go of the last of her secrets. She breathed in the salt air, letting it fill her lungs. Rachel stretched out her arms to the sea, saying goodbye to the old bluffs, the endless horizon, and to Chandler Park.”

If you’re having trouble letting go of feelings of resentment and vengeance, here are some tips that can help you out:

Empathize With the Person Who Hurt You

Forgiving isn’t forgetting; it’s being able to move on without being shackled to the wrong done to you. And sometimes, this requires digging deeper and examining the reasons, context, and emotions that led to that situation.

When you empathize and try to understand the event from the offender’s perspective, you find yourself replacing anger with compassion.

Here’s an excerpt from the modern fiction novel, Lonesome Mountain, where Patricia Hartmann beautifully highlights how forgiveness brings people together and liberates the soul:

“Lizzy looked down at her boots. “I’m so sorry,” she said, her cheeks flaming with shame. “I didn’t know the whole story.” Her words came out all in a rush. “Can you ever forgive me? Will you please come back? Oh, Harley…I’ve made such a mess of things.” He turned to face her then, resting the curry comb against his thigh. “I should have explained up front—given you a chance to decide for yourself about me.” “It’s not your fault. I… I was too quick to judge.” Lizzy shuffled her feet in the soft straw.”

Choose a Positive Mantra

Instead of allowing resentful thoughts to cloud your mind, choose a phrase that evokes feelings of understanding and gratitude. When resentment creeps in, stop it in its tracks and remind yourself that hate hurts the hater more than the hated.

If anger is your go-to emotion, then allow gratitude to take over the hostile feelings associated with anger. Over time, gratitude will empower you and put you back in the driving seat of your emotions.

Patricia Hartmann continually evokes gratitude in readers in her historical fiction novel, “Yosemite—One Last Golden Summer.” Here’s a glimpse:

“The music of the flute and the music of her heart grew into praise. For the first time in a long while, nothing mattered except the fact that God loved her. Sighing, Autumn took shelter in the shadow of his wings. He was enough.”

Read the prologue and first chapter to chart your own path to healing and contentment.

Patricia Hartmann’s collection of historical and modern fiction novels inspire forgiveness, resilience, and gratitude and leave the reader with a sense of hope and optimism. Her books are also available on Amazon and . For weekly updates and insights, keep up with her blog.