“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. ” ~ Carrie Fisher
There are situations and events in life which make you unhappy, maybe you didn’t like the way the other person treated you, spoke with you or behaved with you. The mind instantly jumps into this negative spiral of resentment and bitterness towards the person or the people responsible.
When a negative feeling like resentment takes hold of you, it pulls you into a whirlpool of emotions like anger, sadness, frustration, confusion, and so on. It can suck the energy out of you, and leave you feeling completely drained.
To cope with this, you end up eating too much, drinking too much, not sleeping well at night, trying to think of ways of seeking revenge and making the other person pay for it. The only one you are hurting in the process is yourself because the concerned person might not even be aware of it.
Why is letting go of resentment tough?
Like with most negative thoughts, letting go is difficult as you hold on to it for dear life. Sometimes, it is also because you are so used to feeling that way, that it becomes a familiar feeling to hang on to.
You feel right to judge a person or situation, which is okay. It might seem unfair and unjust to you, but you fail to realise that it is like drinking poison, expecting the other person to suffer.
Here are some ways to let go of resentment for your own sake
“Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghost of yesterday. Holding a grudge & harboring anger/resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people…but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us.” ~ Steve Maraboli
Acceptance is a very powerful antidote to heal oneself. Acceptance is empowerment, it is not a sign of weakness or failure, it is a sign of transformation. When you accept what happened, you are taking conscious steps to move on and not be dragged into the melodrama of the mind.
You are the creator of your emotion, you are responsible for every emotion you experience in your body. Resentment is a negative feeling, and you are creating this feeling. Observe the situation for what it is, and find out why you are creating this negative feeling.
Don’t get dragged into the quagmire of confusion and despair, don’t see yourself as a victim, but as a challenging situation which you have to navigate through.
Confront the situation or the person
There was a situation which I can recall with a former colleague and friend. There was a misunderstanding due to lack of communication between us and I had developed feelings of resentment because I thought she never shared things from her personal life like a normal friend would.
I would only come to know about it later on that she went here and this is what had happened.
I stopped talking to her, ignored her when we went for a conference together. Until the opportunity came and I mustered up the courage to confront her. Things did iron out, as she shared what had happened, and she communicated openly.
This whole incident made me realise that resentment is a downer, it messes up our mind, throws happiness out of the window and makes you feel extremely low.
So you either go up to that person and clear things out, or accept the way things are and move on, because your life is far more than just holding onto resentment.
Live in the Present / Transform Resentment into Compassion
“When I am sharply judgmental of any other person, it’s because I sense or see reflected in them some aspect of myself that I don’t want to acknowledge.”
~ Gabor Maté
You always live your life either in the past or worrying about the future, while the present is the only thing you have. It is like driving your car only looking at the rear view mirror, what good is that?
You might end up banging into some other car which is right in front of you. Whereas if you are focused on what is in front of you, you will be able to stay in the moment with more clarity and focus instead of a tainted perspective.
Living in the present will also help you to gain a better understanding of the person involved in the situation. Maybe the person had a tough morning, or was having financial difficulties, or maybe she snapped at you at work because she found out her husband was cheating on her, it could be anything.
This is what life is about, learn the lessons, develop empathy and compassion. It is a very difficult pill to swallow, but moving on is the only way the car is going to stay on the road.
Let go because you care about yourself
Letting go is tough, because you may feel like you are giving up or letting the person off the hook. The problem with resentment or any negative feeling is that it affects you more than the person you are holding the resentment against.
Letting go allows you to finally move forward with your life without any sort of guilt or losing power. Resentment gives you a false sense of power and control, but how can a negative feeling lead to any sort of power? You are not living your truth. Why do you want to carry your burden of resentment for the rest of your life?
This is when you cut the string, and free yourself. Use this as an opportunity to rise to your true spiritual self. The ball is in your court.
Move on positively, even if it seems unfamiliar
Yes, you read that right. It is easy to hold on to a ‘feeling’ because it is so familiar that you are used to it. In order to move on, you have to overcome this obstacle.
Here’s a beautiful analogy. If someone dumps garbage in front of your door, and you wake up to that. It will be normal to get upset, and really angry at the person who has done that. You might end up abusing him as well. Now, will you wait for the person to take out the trash or are you going to step up and move the garbage away so you can move out of your house?
Do you want to live your life stuck in a situation? Or you move out the trash so you can get out of the house and live. What sounds tempting? This is taking charge of your life, being responsible for your feelings and taking control of your thinking.
You are the navigator of your life, obstacles will come and go, keep rowing the boat. Situations will never always be the way you would like them to be, but what you can do is control your reaction to that situation, you can control your own thoughts and your own emotions.
“Compassion arises when you recognize that all are suffering from the same sickness of the mind, some more acutely than others … The mind-identified state is severely dysfunctional. It is a form of insanity. Almost everyone is suffering from this illness in varying degrees. The moment you realize this, there can be no more resentment. How can you resent someone’s illness? The only appropriate response is compassion.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
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