Resentment is a slow burner, it gradually creeps up on you and often catches you by surprise. Although it isn’t as powerful an emotion as hatred, it can be a destructive force in relationships when those you harbor resentment towards are those closest to you.
According to Wikipedia, resentment is caused by:
“publicly humiliating incidents such as accepting negative treatment without voicing any protest, an object of regular discrimination or prejudice, envy/jealousy, feeling used or taken advantage of by others, and having achievements go unrecognized.”
There have been many times in my life when I have overcome hatred for someone who had done me wrong only to discover that I was still struggling with releasing my resentment towards them.
When the cause of my resentment was because of treatment from others which I perceived as unfair, one of the most powerful ways I overcame my resentment was to vocalize my upset to the person who caused it in a diplomatic and assertive way. Once I had done this and made it clear I wasn’t willing to tolerate their behavior it had a very liberating and powerful effect. It allowed me to create healthy boundaries in my relationships, setting standards for how I was willing to be treated. If you would like to take a look into how you can assert yourself, please read ‘Assertiveness: A Journey Worth Taking’ to discover how you can create healthy personal boundaries.
Another common cause of resentment is envy, a phenomenon triggered by comparing oneself to others. I too struggled with this for many years before accepting that whilst I may not be in the position some of my friends are, with regards to finances for example, I had my own unique strengths which were just as valuable.
I learnt that everyone, without exception, has struggles and challenges they’re facing, and whilst we are comparing ourselves to others we do so only based on very superficial and limited information. Coming to this realization enabled me to have greater compassion for others and allowed me to realize that without intimate knowledge about someone’s life we can’t really make a realistic comparison anyhow.
As cliché as it may sound, I also learnt that everyone is on their own life journey and it isn’t a matter of better or worse, it’s simply different. I learnt to value my strengths and realized that had I focused on other things or had different, seemingly better life experiences, I may not have had to opportunity or even desire to develop myself in other ways – ways which developed the strengths I have come to embrace today.
Are you struggling to release resentment? If you let go of resentment in the past how did you do it? Do you have your very own tips you could share? Please share your wisdom in the comments below so we can all grow together, I’d love to hear from you.