Resentment is hard, cold anger that is very detrimental to our health and inner peace. When we remember our experiences of hurt and insult and we harbor grudges and hostility. Resentment turns anger into something tough, rigid, and inhibits us from enjoying life while destroying inner peace. Resentments are like weeds which are deep rooted and grow easily, they ruin relationships and they make us bitter and isolated. They start small, but the intensity becomes stronger and stronger at each stage, e.g., original injury and anger, hatred, and desire for revenge. If you have been hurt by a person repeatedly, it will first make you angry but as the person continues to treat you badly and in an unjust manner, you will begin to feel resentment towards the person.
When we get betrayed by others over and over, we keep the feelings of anger repressed and hope that others will read our minds. We feel like helpless victims and hope that someone will notice it or apologize for their bad actions. Anger gets more and more intense when it does not happen. Then you begin to suffer and hang on to the feelings of resentment towards the person. It is important to take action in order to heal resentments.
Resentments get firm and hardened with time. At first they are easy to mold and form then it becomes rigid. We begin to see others as rivals and become more distrustful. We are always afraid that they will hurt us again. We then begin to become defensive. We wait for someone to offer apologies and continue to feel betrayed. At this point our anger becomes hardened and turns into resentment. Sometimes resentments can be hardened to the point that no apology is enough. The longer you cary your resentments, you will expereince sadness and anger becuase you will tend to isolate yourself and this can lead to depression. The power to end the resentment lies in the hands of the person who holds resentment and not in the hands of the offender.
Resentments can turn into hatred and the desire for revenge. Hatred is an intense and extreme dislike of somebody. When we begin to harbor feelings of hatred, we begin to replay the tapes of hurt and insult all day long, thinking about how we have been hurt. Revenge is the desire to hurt the offender in some way so that they get punished for their wrong act. An attack might take the form of gossip, stealing or destroying the property of the person you hate, or emotional or physical harm. Some people think of murder too when the resentment gets too severe. Criminals tend to engage in these deceitful acts when their resentments have gotten out of hand and they resort to antisocial acts. Children, who get bullied a lot, begin to feel anger towards the person and as teen agers, they become defiant, violent and aggressive towards their peers and authority figures.
Resentments begin with something someone did: we believe someone has harmed us then we think of what the person did not do or could have done. For example, we say, “I would not be so angry if only she told me about this ahead of time.” We have no control over the behaviors of others but we can certainly be responsible for dealing with our hurt and anger before they become serious and turn into resentment. Victims of physical and sexual abuse tend to become resentful towards their perpetrator and they contain a lot of anger, hatred and hostility. It is because they have endured the abuse repeatedly and after sometime the anger turns into resentment. Writer has discussed codependency in great detail in another blog of this website. Please refer to the blog on Reducing Codependency for more details.
Resentments hurt us more than anyone else. We cannot have peace of mind as long as we hang on to our resentment. It obstructs our emotional and spiritual growth because we remain stuck in the past. It becomes hard to drive the thought away because we begin to focus so much on the person we resent that it is hard to enjoy life. We feel frustrated all the time, we get irritable with others, and begin to experience symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, pain in the joints and muscles and medical illnesses like asthma and ulcer. We begin to perceive people as bad, mean people who are out to hurt us. Carrying the burden of resentment has negative effect on us.
However, the good news is that you can let go of your resentment through forgiveness. Forgiveness tends to reverse the energy which affects the resentful person negatively and makes him miserable.
Forgiving is a choice and it should not be done with some pressure that we should or must do it. Forgiving is right when it is something we want to do and we are willing to amend. When the pain is too fresh, it is hard to forgive. Do not rush and wait until you are really ready to work on it sincerely. At the same time, it is not a good idea to wait forever. Ask yourself questions, like, “Are we getting pleasure from resentment and hatred? “Do we want to keep an enemy so that we can blame someone else for our distress?” It is important to understand that forgiving is an act of kindness to ourselves because we are the one who are angry all the time and we carry the load of pain all day long. The longer you harbor the resentment, the harder it is to enjoy life. Forgiving is a slow process and it does not happen overnight. Once we forgive the offender, we feel the relief of pain. It is possible that resentments will creep again and we become angry again with the offender but forgiving requires patience with ourselves. When you feel stuck, do not feel discouraged and keep entertaining the idea of forgiving the offender. Sometimes we feel discouraged when we forgive the person but there is no change in their attitidude and behavior. Remember you are forgiviing not to change the other person but you are doing it for yourself so that you can move on with your life goals and not be stuck in the past.
We need to remember in this context that we need to work on our attitude and action in order to forgive. Sometimes we get thoughts like, “I will never be able to forgive this person. I will hate this person for the rest of my life.” But these thoughts are counterproductive and they interfere with the act of forgiving. At this time, it is important to dispute these thoughts with positive messages and affirmations. It is also important to start finding some positive traits of the person you resent. This will take away the feelings of hatred and help in the process of forgiving. It is human nature to look at the shortcomings of others and ignore the positive. But, in the long run, it hurts and builds up hatred and hostility. It is helpful to do something nice for the person you resent, to rebuild the feelings of love and appreciation. It is also helpful to relax in a quiet place and visualize things that give you joy. Then imagine the person you resent to experience these positive feelings and this act will help generate positive feelings in you towards the person you resent. Sometimes prayers also help. When you generate the feelings of love in your heart, you facilitate your inner peace and become more and more forgiving.
It is also important to let go of the past. Carrying the burden of the past does not help at all and one has to assess what they are gaining by holding on to the past. Resentment or hatred from our past can affect our life in the present. It is also helpful to forgive those who have hurt you in the past and are no longer living. Write down three things that you gain by holding on to your resentment then write down the negative effects of these resentments. Ask yourself what you are willing to do to end this resentment. It might be helpful to seek professional help if you are having trouble going through with this process.
One important factor to note here is that forgiving may or may not lead to reconciliation. Once you have forgiven, it will be easier to remember the relatives who have died with more warmth and positive feelings because you are focusing on the positive aspect of the relationship and not dwelling in the hurt part of the situation. Forgiving is our gift to ourselves. First we need to release all the feelings that we carry as resentments. Once it is released, it will become easier to reconcile.
Sometimes we fail to give us credit and feel bad for holding on the resentments for so long. That is why it is necessary to forgive yourself too. It is also helpful to make amends for our bad behaviors and act of revenge. When you carry on the resentment, you justify your behavior but once you forgive yourself, it will be easier to make amends. Once you get rid of the feelings of guilt and shame, you will notice a boost in your self esteem. Let go of your past mistakes and learn from them and healing will begin.
Good communication is also very important when you are trying to end your resentment. Being assertive helps the other person realize their wrong doings and opens up the door for correction. If you remain silent and take the abuse and insult, the other person does not show sensitivity towards your need and continue to engage in the same behaviors. If you hold back and do not reestablish the relationship with new rules, it can hurt you in the long run, especially if you are the one who is always giving in and being submissive. Be honest and sincere when you let the other person know how you feel, using “I” statements. For example, I feel angry when you do not show sensitivity to my needs of privacy. I would appreciate it if you play the music softly when I am studying.” You make the request specifically, using “I” statements so that there are no chances of confusion and someone misinterpreting your request. Assertiveness has been discussed in more details in the blog on Reducing Codependency written by the writer.
Life is too short to hold grudges and hostility towards people. Past is something we cannot change and we have not seen the future, so live in the present and enjoy life rather than carrying old hurts. It is also important to notice your self talk and use the cognitive restructuring method to dispute your dysfunctional thought patterns. When you change your self talk, you will be able to take the right action to be able to end your resentments. Using visualization with guided imagery also helps in re creating the positive image of the person who has hurt you. Use progressive muscle relaxation to release the tension from your body and then the exercise of visualization becomes easier. Once you have achieved the state of relaxation, utter some affirmations with conviction with regards to ending up your resentment. It has been found that affirmations work the best when you are relaxed because the subconscious mind is more receptive to your auto suggestions. It will give you the conscious awareness all day long and determine your actions and reactions to various situations you face during the day. Please reer to the blog on Panic disorder written by the writer to learn how to do progressive muscle relaxation.
Situations create negative thoughts, for example, “people do not like me. Why should I change?” Then these negative thoughts extend to others and you entertain thoughts like,” No one understands me”. These are series of thoughts that you sow and plant in your mind. You will have to consciously change the thought. Suppose you do not like your boss and you say, “I cannot stand my boss”. This negative thought will create negative feelings like anger and resentment. Now your behavior and action towards your boss will be based on negative feelings. Consequently it will impact your career. Cognitive restructuring means changing your thought pattern. You can say, “I cannot change my boss but I can change myself. Just convert the thought because that is possible at your end. You might want to say, I want to focus on the positive aspect of the situation and begin to appreciate some of the good traits your boss has. If you stay with the thought,” I cannot stand my boss”, you will be constantly producing pain and will not be able to have fun in life. It is up to you to end that pain by creating a positive thought and thus helping your resentments to mellow down and begin appreciating life again.
These are some of the strategies to end your resentments and they work when you are persistent in your efforts and do not give up if you do not get instant results. After all, resentments grow overtime and it will take some time to end them.
Hypnosis can help the person end resentment and develop loving relationships. Please visit our Blossom Hypnotherapy page to learn how hypnosis can help reduce symptoms of Anxiety disorders.