How to Let Go of Resentment
Is resentment holding you back from living a more peaceful, joyful, and confident life? Do you feel like you have been wronged, judged, or mistreated in some way? Do you ruminate about it and play it over and over in your head? Do you feel your anger increasing the more this internal tape is played?
The purpose of this post is to
- Tell you that you are not alone!
- Help you let go of resentment.
First of all, you are not alone! People filled with resentment fill the waiting room of the psychotherapy practice where I work everyday. Millions of others are drowning in resentment and get no help at all. We all feel resentment from time to time. We have all been hurt, judged, and rejected at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, this is part of being human. We are going to experience joy and pain as life ebbs and flows.
You may be thinking, “Yes, we all experience pain, but you have no idea what I have been through!”
You’re right. I don’t. I can’t even imagine! If you told me your situation, I could try to imagine and I could empathize, but I have not experienced the exact same thing as you. Even when two people share a similar experience such as a history of abuse, divorce, infidelity, or the loss of a loved one, their situations differ and they experience the crisis differently.
Although we each experience our pain, anger, and frustration in our own way, and some of us have experienced more trauma and pain than others, we have all been hurt and there are things that we can do to help release the resentment that takes up residence in our hearts and in our minds.
Release the resentment that resides within. The only thing worse than someone else hurting you in the past, is for you to continue to hurt yourself for the rest of your life. Your resentment poisons YOU, not the one who harmed you.
If you are tired of being angry and resentful, here is what you can do.
Be Empowered- Rather than viewing yourself as a victim, view yourself as a courageous champion who refuses to allow the behaviors of another person defeat you. Every time you begin to play that “why me” “It should not have happened” “what did I do to deserve this” “I will get revenge” tape in your head, fight the tape rather than yourself or the person who harmed you. Treating yourself with compassion, giving up thoughts of revenge, and fighting the tape you play over and over again will empower you. The tape is what ultimately defeats you. Be a courageous champion and rise above your self-defeating thoughts that cause you nothing but pain and anger.
Take the High Road- Try to be the best person you can be regardless of the actions of others. You cannot control another person, you only have control of yourself. Don’t change your values because of the actions of another person. Hold your values, live by your values, and cherish your values no matter what! Do not allow the actions of another to pull your puppet strings. Stay true to yourself. Don’t try to get even. Take the higher road. At the end of your journey in this life, you will be happier knowing that you resisted the temptation to give up on all of the joy in life because of the actions of another person.
Find the Lesson in the Pain- Your sorrow and your joy make up who you are. Embrace it all. Many many people go on to make our world a better place because they have overcome hardship. Without the hardship, they would not be the incredible people that they are today. Because of their adversity and their will to move forward, many other lives are changed in amazing ways. Find the lesson in the pain. Letting resentment take over your life is a waste of energy. Use that energy to make a difference in the lives of others. When you are full of resentment, you are no help to anyone, especially yourself. Focus on what you can change. When you let go of resentment, you can use your experience to make a difference in the world. The possibilities are endless.
Communicate- Share your feelings in a respectful way. It really doesn’t matter how the other person responds. This is about you getting your feelings out so that resentment doesn’t build up in the first place. If you are not able to communicate directly with the one who hurt you (maybe they are no longer living, or it would be dangerous to speak to them), write a letter telling them that you are releasing them or at least their unacceptable behavior from your life. Tell them in the letter that you will no longer allow their actions to steal your joy. After you have finished, you may want to burn the letter or rip the letter up, and visualize yourself finally breaking free and letting go.
Replace Resentment with Gratitude and Ask Yourself the Right Questions- When you find yourself thinking about the person who hurt you, stop yourself and think about the people who love you. You may ask, “What if the person who loves me is the person who hurt me?” This is often the case. We will all be hurt to some degree by people who love us and by the people we love. This is part of being human. Ask yourself, “Is this relationship toxic?” “Is it worth saving?” “Is there a misunderstanding?” “Am I projecting my past hurts onto this person?” “Is this person willing to learn from the situation and change?” “Am I?” Asking yourself the right questions can help you decide whether you should stay in the relationship or leave the relationship. But know, regardless of whether you stay or go, you will need to let go of the resentment if you plan to live a life where you experience more joy than pain and more excitement than sorrow.
Letting go of resentment is difficult and it takes a lot of practice, but it can be one of the most important things you do in your life. Resentment steals from your life, and it steals from the lives of the people who are currently trying to love you. If you are full of resentment, there is no place for love to dwell.
If you are full of resentment, isn’t it time to make a change? It is never too late. Don’t wait until the end of your life to wish you had let this stuff go earlier. THE TIME IS NOW! I will be rooting for you!
If you found this post helpful, you will really benefit from my book coming out in January. In the book, I go into more depth on this subject. I include proven techniques showing you how to let go of resentment, harsh self-judgments, and explosive reactions. I also include true inspiring stories about people who have been successful letting go of these things and are now living more confident joyful lives.
Please sign up for my free weekly newsletter to receive free tips that will help you move forward in life along with information about my forthcoming book. To read praise for the book from people who have already had the opportunity to read it, click this link https://thesnowballeffect.com/the-snowball-effect-book/
Although this book cannot replace the therapeutic relationship, I have included lessons that would take a year to teach in therapy. This is great for someone who wants to make changes, but does not want to go to therapy or as an additional resource along with therapy. Actually, this book is also great if your life is going well and you just want to be inspired with simple positive reminders. The information in this book sure has helped me.
A special thank you to Karen Salmansohn at notsalmon.com for creating my awesome book cover, Todd Lohenry at toddlohenry.com for sharing so many of my posts and teaching me what I now know about social media, and David Kanigan at davidkanigan.com for being my first blog supporter and the first one to pass along my content. Also thank you to all who read and support my blog. We do not operate alone!
The image of the aging man: Image Source: Shutterstock image 140542153
I like the way your advice is generic, Kristin. Anyone can apply it a little or a lot, depending on their needs at the time.
Kristin Barton Cuthriell says
That is my hope. Thank you!
Wendell A. Brown says
A very beautiful and sparkling message! Your heart shines brightly from each word that was penned by your hands! God bless!
Kristin Barton Cuthriell says
Thank you for your kind words, Wendell. God bless you, too!
Tina Del Buono, PMAC says
Thank you Kristin for beautiful message and I have to agree with Anneli, that you write for each person who reads your blog. Blessings!
Kristin Barton Cuthriell says
Tina, Thank you for your kind words. Blessings to you, too!