Drama, drama, drama… Who needs it?! Not you! When it comes to letting go of resentment though, it’s not as easy as just saying ‘forget about it and move on’.
Often, we’ve been holding onto resentment for a long time, so long in fact that it might even feel strange to think about finally letting it go.
The problem is that holding onto feelings like this can have a huge impact on your life – whether you realise it or not.
A great questions to ask yourself is, “When was the last time I truly felt overwhelmed with happiness, freedom, and gratitude?” If you’re struggling remember, you’re most likely holding onto something you could do without.
What exactly is resentment?
One of the best descriptions of the feeling is this: “Resentments are like swallowing poison and expecting the other people to die.” Harsh, but true right?
Unfortunately, most people let resentment sit and fester for years and don’t deal with the real issues at hand.
It’s easy to just sit and stay angry with someone or resign yourself to hating or disliking them forever. The thing is though, this does more harm to you than it does to them.
One of the reasons letting go of resentment is so difficult is because there is so much bad advice floating around out there.
Generic suggestions, such as, ‘get over it’, ‘let it go’, ‘forget about it’ are all commonly thrown around, but do nothing to actually help solve the problem.
What not to do
Some great advice on how not to deal with feelings of resentment comes from here.
Do not –
- Ignore them
- Fight through them
- Lock them away
- Pretend you don’t feel them
- Try and forget them
What you should do
Follow a plan and a process to get through it.
Do this –
- Face them
- Feel them
- Deal with them
- Heal from them
How to do it
The first thing you should know is that it’s not always easy to go through this process. Confronting these feelings is harder for some people than others, but if you really want to move forward it’s important to give it a go. Plus, following this process makes it a lot easier than stumbling through in the dark.
First: Write down the names of everyone and anyone you hold resentment towards. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the reason is – if it’s making you feel irritated or angry – write in down.
Second: Next to the person’s name, write down the reason you resent them. It could be something big, like they betrayed you or lied to you, or it could be something else, like they talked behind your back or constantly cancel plans on you. It doesn’t matter how trivial it seems to other people; if it matters to you, it matters.
Third: Next to the reason, write down which part of your life this resentment affects. Is it your confidence? Your ability to trust? Your self esteem? This will help you understand exactly how your resentment is affecting you.
Fourth: Last, and sometimes the most difficult, is to write down your part in this situation. How have you contributed to making this resentment worse? Did you carry on allowing someone to treat you badly instead of facing them? Did you run away from the problem instead of resolving it? You have to hold yourself accountable if there is reason to. This is about being honest with yourself and learning to move on.
Confronting, accepting and moving on
Read through your list from left to right. Who do you resent, why do you resent them, how does it affect you, and what part (if any) did you play? Seeing everything laid out in front of you like this should hopefully help you understand it and break the cycle that’s been holding you down.
Whether you make amends with someone or not is almost irrelevant. What matters here is that you are finally able to let go of the anger, fear and despair and move on freer, lighter and happier.
Let us know if you would try this and how you go with the process.