Resentment is the term used to describe ongoing feelings of upset and anger towards another person caused by a real or imagined injustice. We all know the feeling – playing events over and over in our head becoming angrier and angrier. What we need to remember is that these replays are skewed by our own emotions – they aren’t factual representations and we can never really know what is going on in the other person’s head.
Harbouring resentment can be emotionally and physiologically destructive with a huge effect on our well-being and relationships. Often these resentments are actually fuelled by previous events we have experienced and build up over time until they suddenly implode.
Resentment is based on a refusal to forgive. When we continue to be angry and upset about actions in the past, in reality the only person we are hurting is ourselves. Often the subject of our resentment is blissfully unaware of the hurt they have caused us and may not have meant any harm. Some people have referred to resentment as the act of “poisoning yourself and hoping someone else takes the damage.”
Our refusal to let go of our anger and resentment often stems from the fact that these emotions can help us feel more powerful. There’s a certain ego boost in being the victim of a wrongdoing and we can be tempted to seek revenge. We fear that if we let go of the resentment we encourage repetition or relinquish justice.
We need to focus on what our resentment is really achieving and realise who the real victim is. Through forgiveness we can find happiness, peace and a healthier mind.
We become trapped in a self-obsessed cycle of being afraid of the future, angry in the present, and filled with resentment over our past. Sometimes even if we feel we want to forgive we don’t know how to come to grips with hurt, rejection and abandonment. These few tips can help us begin.
- Acknowledge that you cannot change the past and focus on what you do have control over.
- Recognise that resentment is only an illusion of strength and that your real power comes through positivity and forgiveness.
- Realise that you do not know for certain what other people think and their motives for their behaviour. Don’t automatically assume wrongdoing or malice.
- Acknowledge your part in what happened, forgive yourself and set goals to avoid it in future.
- Understand your true feelings – what has really upset you and why? What led to these feelings? Are you lying to yourself about anything?
- Did your expectations or motives contribute to these feelings of resentment?
- Be mindful of how resentment changes your present behaviour.
- Assess your own thoughts and express your feelings in a healthy way.
- Practice cognitive behavioral techniques to stop indulging in resentment.
- Try to think benevolent thoughts about the focus of your resentment.
- Practice forgiveness, keeping in mind that this is a gift to yourself rather than the people you resent.
- Practice relaxation and mindfulness.
- Fill your head with positivity – what do you love? What dreams and hopes do you have for yourself?
Resentment is addictive, consuming and self-fuelling. Without attention it usually grows and becomes more and more destructive. I can help you become aware of the specific ways that the resentment is impacting your identity and your ability to feel safe, secure, and loved. Then together we can begin to free you from these feelings.
If you are having trouble forgiving and moving on from resentment, please do seek my assistance. Holding on to anger and grudges can affect your mental, physical, and emotional health. Our resentments often fester in our unconscious so I can use my advanced mix of hypnotherapy, cognitive and coaching techniques to help you let go and find relief.