Most of us hold on to resentments, whether it be from something that happened with someone yesterday, or something from a long time ago. Most of us hold some degree of resentment against our parents or an old lover. Some people let their resentments rule their life and relationships, most of the time not understanding how they are doing so.
To resent something or someone is to feel again the fear, the anger, the hurt, the humiliation, the pain of the original experience – real or imagined. Through our own experiences and filters we feel (and most times have) experienced injustice – been “wronged” – the snubs, insults, indifferences, slurs, accusations, and just plain bad treatment. Carried along with us, this feeling gets packed away in a bag labeled grudge or blame. It’s a bag full of judgments where other people are always wrong and at fault, and, after a while, it can make for a pretty heavy load.
Of all the emotions which humans fall prey to, the most common that blocks our ability to completely give and receive love is “resentment”. Resentment takes away peace of mind, hope and self-esteem and makes one close off their heart, become bitter and less open to take opportunities that will bring growth, love and happiness. At this point there is no responsibility for oneself, for ones mindset and experiences.
We can’t always have control over what happened to us, especially when we were kids, but we do have control how we choose to deal with those emotions today. In fact, as an adult it is our responsibility, not that of our parents, in how we choose to live and deal with our emotions and live our life today, and not fall victim to what has been. This only is punishing yourself, not the person that you hold resentment towards.
From one perspective, any time a resentment takes up emotional space, it indicates there’s something at issue that has not been resolved. Maybe the best thing is to slow down, go within and ask this part of yourself what it needs from you now.
Getting rid of old resentments isn’t as easy as simply saying, “Resentment, be gone.” There are many thoughts and feelings that come along with resentment that will make it hard to release them – judgments, the need to be right, not taking responsibility for certain actions or behaviors, a feeling of being special or entitled, vindictiveness or a need for revenge, an inability to forgive — all these might be in the way of releasing resentments.
However, we can look at resentments in a positive way, but seeing how they are an opportunity to release and change something that is inside of us that is preventing us from having a love life that we deeply desire. Resentments can be an opportunity to re-look at the event that happened. Perhaps your resentment has been a way of avoiding pain, and re-looking at the situation can unlock doors within you that have held this pain at bay. In releasing this pain you can release the resentment. We are all too often so scared to feel pain, as it hurts, but it hurts us more in our life if we hold on to it. Short term pain for long term gain is what I always say. Like some sort of operation or surgery, the short term recovering after surgery is worth the rest of a lifetime without pain (in most cases!).
The best way to deal with resentments is by first understanding what resentments you have. What are you bitter towards? What do you hold strong judgment about? Put pen to paper, go through the process and nut it out. Be honest with yourself. This is no time for embarrassment or shame. Have the courage to dig in and throw it out. You deserve a life that is filled with nourishing experiences that assist you to grow and shine and love. A lot of the times this is going to be through hurts and pains. Unfortunately, this just seems to be a part of life, but it is how we deal with it that is the real key to moving forward and keeping our hearts open to love.
Have the courage to blaze a new trail, model to your children and others how you can and will take responsibility for your life and how you manage the events that have happened in a way that does not close you off to living…to love, giving love, and letting others love you. Stay away from blame, when working through this process and you feel yourself heading towards blame, just know you are heading in the wrong direction, and keep going with the thoughts until you can feel yourself turning around. Don’t quit, keep going. With a true intention you WILL let go of resentments. Determine what the lessons are, what needs to be let go of, what needs more work. You may begin to see where empathy can create wholeness and where forgiveness can heal.
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