Resentment can be a very unhealthy burden to carry. It usually starts as a response to injustice, (either real or imagined) and often over a long period of time.
Resentment represents a development in your anger from mild to deep…….and it lingers. This kind of resentment can lead to unhappiness, continual irritability, and psychological problems including excessive anxiety and depression.
The Danger Within:
Why is it so easy to develop resentment, and then have it become a permanent part of our lives?
Firstly, when we defend ourselves against another person’s offense we can initially feel a sense of euphoria. We showed our strength, which in itself is not a bad thing. It’s when we start nurturing that rewarding feeling that it can become a problem.
We may unconsciously hold on to the ‘offense’ so that we can replay our outrage again and again; all so that we can relive the euphoria of our defense against the other person. In this case, the positive reinforcement of our actions shows itself to be not so positive in the long run!
Secondly, even once we begin to realize that we have developed the resentment, we don’t know how to rid ourselves of the resentment. “How do I turn off the resentment?” I have heard people say, that whatever they do to try to distract themselves and find some inner peace, the resentment is always there, waiting to get into their heads and make them relive their anger.
Thirdly. Without appropriate awareness and action on your part, resentment can easily become a part of your identity and a part of who you are as a person. Sadly, some people grow from being an adolescent exhibiting resentful behavior to being a fully-fledged resentful adult. They see it as being what they are, rather than having an affliction that needs remediation. The challenge to change can then be very threatening.
So how should we approach this affliction? Here are 6 important steps in the process of change.
1 Practice non-attachment thinking. Non-attachment is really about taking the time to mentally step back, and view the bigger picture. Even while you are feeling the anger, you need to ‘practice’ getting into this state of mind. Try to see the inner world of the person or people who are causing your disturbance. Is that other person living with his or her own burden of resentment? And has spread that to others, including you? (Note: I see this most often within families..) Can you see or imagine the wounds within the person who is wounding you?
2 Make a commitment to doing no harm to the one who is harming you. This will allow a better inner strength to develop within you.
3 Mentally stand in the pain so that you do not pass that pain to innocent others. This can be very hard, but doing it strengthens you enormously.
4 Accept what has happened. Imagine how it will feel to carry this resentment around forever? Holding on to resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die! To accept does not mean that you approve of someone’s bad behavior. It just means that you aren’t allowing it to burden you with its weight. You cannot move onto forgiveness until you accept what has happened.
5 You are now ready to apply forgiveness. To forgive is a way of offering goodness to the one who gave you the cause for pain and anger. Rather than the strength of the clinched fist and jaw, the strength from forgiveness shows that you can soften your heart toward the one who pierced your heart. This can and will bring you the inner peace you need.
6 Lastly, be open to creating a new identity for yourself. Your personal affirmations could be; “I am someone who can stand in the pain.” “I am someone who can forgive.” “I am someone who can ask resentment to leave……and it leaves.” Resentment has a lot to do with control. When you remove resentment, you are removing its control over you.
Note: The technical term from this process is cognitive restructuring, also known as cognitive reframing; It involves changing your beliefs, which literally creates physical changes in your brain.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article on how to free yourself from resentment.
How to get rid of Bitterness and Resentments