How to Let Go of Resentment
Resentment is not just an unpleasant feeling, it’s a feeling able to ruin your life if you give in to it. Why is it so, how to let go of resentment, feel relief, feel free again? Let’s find it out.
Why resentment can ruin your life
Resentment is our reaction to being mistreated. But resentment doesn’t come alone, it often brings disappointment, anger, hatred, thoughts of revenge with it. Mindless people start feeding these feelings even more with their thoughts and eventually may even turn to revenge. But the thing is that revenge doesn’t give a relief as it can’t fix the past situation that caused resentment, so the person who feels resentful may start to desire even more revenge or otherwise, may start regretting the actions they have taken to revenge their offender. All these feelings and the thoughts they provoke keep poisoning the person, destroying the life of this person little by little.
The person may not notice it at once, but at some point they will find out that the feeling of resentment has stolen a major part of their health or/and spoiled their relationships with family or friends.
How to let go of resentment
It may be very hard to forget about a painful situation and it may be even harder to forgive the offender. We may think that forgiving our offender is similar to saying that it’s not a big deal that they treated us that way. It’s like we betray ourselves. But actually, holding a grudge against someone, especially if that someone is a manipulative and toxic person, we don’t harm them, we harm ourselves. Forgive and forget is a huge step forward you need a lot of preparation for. To begin with, let’s see what techniques you may apply to let go of at least a small part of resentment.
Eliminate unrealistic expectations
Sometimes it’s not someone’s actions, it’s rather our reaction, due to unrealistic expectations we had, to blame for our resentment. Sometimes we expect people to behave a certain way but it doesn’t mean that people owe us something and have to behave the way we want.
Also, sometimes people expect others to behave in a certain way without ever mentioning what exactly they expect from them. Of course, other people can’t guess their thoughts, so the person with unrealistic expectations starts feeling resentful because their expectations were not met. Make sure the person you expect something from is aware of your expectations.
Discuss your feelings in a constructive manner
Inability to voice your expectations, concerns and feelings they provoke, results in resentment. To let go of resentment, you just need to speak up. Yes, it may be difficult but it will also save you a lot of trouble. Don’t let misunderstandings and suppression ruin your relationships.
Look at the situation that hurt you from another perspective
Looking at the situation that hurt you from another angle can help let go of resentment. What is another angle? – you would ask. Look at it from the point of view of your offender. Think why your offender could do what they did. What led to that? Don’t blame yourself though. Maybe it was a misunderstanding, maybe it’s casual behavior for that person, maybe that person just had a terrible day, etc.
If the person that hurt you is a toxic and manipulative person who walks over people on a regular basis, learn to treat that person like a patient rather than like a villain. Read blogposts on the truth you need to know about manipulative people and another one on how to deal with toxic and manipulative people.
Stop wandering in the past
Our mind enjoys playing memories over, especially negative ones, especially when it’s idle. If you want to let go of resentment, you have to curb the habit. Past is past, you can learn from it, become wiser and never do the same mistakes again, but you can’t change it anymore. So, there’s no point in imagining what you should have said or done instead of what you actually did.
Switch to positive thoughts
Your mind turns to playing over negative situations when it’s idle, so the best thing to do is to find a task that requires some thinking. Whenever you notice your mind wandering in the past, playing over the situation that hurt you, switch to positive thoughts or at least some work-related thoughts or start paying attention to your breathing, to the sounds and objects around you, paying more attention to what you’re doing at the moment instead of thinking about the past.
Avoid passive aggressive behavior
Resentment can lead to passive aggressive behavior especially towards the person who hurt you. Read why passive aggressive behavior is self-sabotage. Passive aggression can’t and it will never be able to solve the problem. Perhaps the person you treat that way doesn’t even know the reason for your passive-aggressive behavior.
Your passive aggression is slowly destroying your mental health, so instead of mindlessly turning to it every now and then when you feel resentful, try to open up about your true feelings to the person who hurt you or if it’s absolutely impossible, see a psychologist who will advise how to cope with your resentment in a healthier way.
There are many things we can feel resentful about but there’re even more things we can feel grateful for. Maybe some events in your life were unfair (so were some events in my life too) but instead of focusing on the negative side of life, try to focus on the positive one. Think of something you’re grateful for. It could have been worse! Here is a blogpost on gratitude if you don’t know what to be grateful for.
See a psychologist if your resentment is severe
If you feel that you can’t let go of resentment on your own because the feeling is overwhelming, see a psychologist. A psychologist won’t solve your life problems, because it requires your own will and readiness to leave your traumatic past behind and move on with your life, but a psychologist is someone you can open up to without being judged and share your feelings with in a safe environment, someone you can seek support from.
Resentment causes stress. See How to Relieve Stress Quickly.
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