In last week’s post “The toxic (and intoxicating) effects of resentment” I introduced the idea that resentments can be difficult to let go of because they not only have negative effects but also they can serve the purpose of feeling powerful. Resentments can range from small ones, such as the person who cut you off in traffic or the bigger ones such as the person who abused you or the coworker who had you fired. Sometimes our resentments are not directed at any one individual but rather an institution such as a company, university, government agency or even an entire religion.

In last week’s post “The toxic (and intoxicating) effects of resentment” I introduced the idea that resentments can be difficult to let go of because they not only have negative effects but also they can serve the purpose of feeling powerful. Resentments can range from small ones, such as the person who cut you off in traffic or the bigger ones such as the person who abused you or the coworker who had you fired. Sometimes our resentments are not directed at any one individual but rather an institution such as a company, university, government agency or even an entire religion.

When I tell people I am a psychologist there are a few predictable responses: “You should use my family as a case study”, “that must be interesting” or “how can you listen to people whining about their problems all day, don’t you just want to tell people to just get over it?”  So below is an exercise you might want to try to make a step towards finally getting over it! You can do this with one or many resentments you might carry. But like is commonly said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. So pick one, an easy one, and take it from there.

So here it is:
Write down who or what your are resentful towards.  Then go through and write down what you’re angry about, how does the resentment affect you and those around you, what does it do FOR you, and then write down what the benefits would be of letting go of those feelings.

Here’s an example from my own list:

I am resentful at: Sarah (not her real name)
The reason: She said, “Congratulations! I didn’t know you were expecting!” I was actually four-years postpartum. (that outfit has long been retired)
What does the resentment do to me? It makes me irritated because every time I go to my son’s school, I get self-conscious about what I am going to wear. That makes it more difficult to get myself out of the house, which then causes me to rush the kids and bark orders, making me not a very nice mom.
What does holding on to it do FOR me? It helps me feel better than her “Can you believe she said something like that? I would never say something like that.” (Oh, and that makes me a liar as well!)
What are the benefits to myself and those around me of letting this go?  I can move on, have more peace in the household, not be obsessed with my body, feel like I am setting a good example of forgiveness and be more likely to teach my kids how to really get over things by practicing it myself. (and, I’ll feel a little less hypocritical when I give professional advice!)

We give too much power to the people we resent. We let them rent so much space in our head, when we could be using that space to be inspired, focus on our dreams or just enjoy the amazing sight of the dawn.

Let’s consider some important steps on the road to forgiveness:

  1. Acknowledge your true feelings. Recognize you are indeed resentful/angry. People sometimes think they are somehow “above” these feelings and don’t recognize them. I don’t care how spiritual or Zen you are, how much yoga you do or how much green tea you drink – you are still human. That means you are vulnerable to the range of human emotions, including the negative ones.
  2. Recognize the cost.  Think about how much this resentment is hurting you and how much energy you are expending on it.  So often patients will tell me that they don’t think about it consciously, so they don’t really think it is a problem. Really? This is why we talk about this thing call the “unconscious.”  We are naïve if we think that things we are unaware of can’t affect us. Have you ever had someone ask you why you are being short-tempered when you hadn’t even realized you were? Or, you realize you’re irritated but have no idea why? Things we don’t get can still get us.
  3. Focus on the payoff.  If you have been holding on to a resentment for a long time, it can feel scary to not be angry.  If anger makes you feel powerful — ready to protect or defend it at any moment – then you can worry that without it you are defenseless. But prolonged anger isn’t useful in keeping us motivated in the long term. In fact, the more time you spend stressed and angry, the less likely it will be that you will have the resources to deal with another issue that needs attention.

Don’t despair if it doesn’t work immediately. It doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. We are each unique and the process of forgiveness takes what it takes. Maybe the first name at the top of your list should be YOU!

5 COMMENTS

  1. Wow you know, forgiveness
    Wow you know, forgiveness (just the concept) is so difficult to get to… I had an incredible coach/therapist who literally has saved my life w/ all of her wisdom. I think the biggest lesson I took of forgiveness is that, like in Karyn’s story, u can get to not hating or resenting & sometimes just taking the pressure off of “forgiveness” (the word … See Morealone) can do wonders for your progress… For me, just understanding & w/ empathy delving into what life experiences/circumstances made that person behave abusively, etc can really help in I guess a way of forgiveness… I’ll never think what they did was in any way okay & still feel the pain from the abuse, but learning & understanding the hell that made them that way in their own life really goes along way in helping to alleviate the shame, hatred, guilt, etc…. Just love this series & I really want to get this on DVD when available, I think it would help my son & family alot, like it did me in understanding all these issues so much better & maybe some extra healing can come from it for us too! ♥ ♥ ♥ Thank you Dr. Bloom, ur feedback on FB was so nice! Great discussion thread on forgiveness! Loved it 🙂

  2. This is a really great post,
    This is a really great post, and one that all people should read. The world would be a much better place if people took heed of this advice and let resentment go, maybe no war and just a lot of enjoyment on a party bus dallas

  3. louis vuitton uk are

    louis vuitton uk

    are diversified in various kinds, handbags, backpacks, portable bags, purses, wallets and pouches. All kinds are popular among the whole word people.After the death of his father, Georges

    louis vuitton

    began a campaign to build the company into a worldwide corporation, exhibiting the company’s products at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. This client oriented and faith rooted store aims at providing the best LV goods and services, such as top class

    louis vuitton uk

    and free shipping.Don’t be stung online. there’s no real need to rush

    louis vuitton outlet

    .If you can’t walk into a store in or around your local region, online is your only other real-time alternative. There are some multifunction pockets inside these

    sac louis vuitton

    . They can provide you our equal part style, and they are fashionable and useful.After the death of his father, Georges

    louis vuitton

    began a campaign to build the company into a worldwide corporation, exhibiting the company’s products at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Louis Vuitton is one of the world’s leading international fashion houses.The catching styles and upmarket qualities endeared

    louis vuitton uk

    to almost everyone.In 1867, the company participated in the universal exhibition in Paris.

    louis vuitton

    To protect against the duplication of his look, he changed the Trianon design to a beige and brown stripes design in 1876. Nowadays

    louis vuitton bags

    become more and more fashionable all over the world. They are luxury leather goods known for women’s handbags and wallets.Further products became introduced such as the Taiga leather line in 1993, and the literature collection of Voyager Avec… in 1994. In 1996,

    louis vuitton

    the celebration of the Centennial of the Monogram Canvas was held in seven cities worldwide. In 2004,

    louis vuitton wallet

    celebrated its 150th anniversary. The brand also inaugurated stores in New York City (on Fifth Avenue), S?o Paulo, Mexico City, Cancun and Johannesburg.An LVMH spokeswoman interviewed by New York Magazine said that

    louis vuitton belt

    were forced to take legal action when Plesner did not respond to their original request to remove the contested image, nor to the subsequent Cease and desist order. 

  4. Louis Vuitton UK are ideal
    Louis Vuitton UK are ideal for daily usage. With the beautifully crafted exterior and with loads of interior space for all the essentials, it will adorn any outfit with city elegance.Louis Vuitton Handbags enjoy high reputation all over the world. They are designed for hand, elbow and shoulder carry thanks to comfortable flat leather handles.If you want to catch up to the latest vogue, having Louis Vuitton Handbags of the latest styles can absolutely satisfy you.Just visit LV outlet webpage and select the most suitable products for yourself.
    Come to Tiffany And Co which supplies all sorts of fashion accessories like Tiffany Crystal Earrings and necklaces, etc. I’m sure there are some suitable goods for you.Leading any costume using a Tiffany UK but you just seem advanced and trendy. Isn’t it time to obtain ones own eluxury ?You will always get surprised by the beautiful colors and perfect details of Tiffany Jewellery.So come on, do not hesitate.
    Cheap Louis Vuitton UK wholesale offers a variety of options to satisfy your needs. Some new ones even has fashionable styles fold over flap to disguise the snap closure and a draw string is added for a convenient closure.Louis Vuitton Outlet online just like a person who want to show himself in front of other people, because he is confident enough, he can attain the respect of other people.If you believe producer really is as effectively steeply-priced, Louis Vuitton Sale also can be determined on the low price local retailer.
    Aimengcrystal.com specializes in providing Tiffany And Co Outlet jewelry, natural crystal jewelry and 925 sterling silver jewelry for many years.This pair of rhodium-plated Tiffany Jewellery Earrings form elegant semi-circles with a dangling element embellished in clear crystal pave. Wear them with your everyday outfit to add a touch of eye-catching elegance.Tiffany Jewellery UK have own characteristic designs. The beautiful crystals have added the magical finishing touch to countless bridal gowns. Just get some for yourself.

  5. Louis Vuitton UK are ideal
    Louis Vuitton UK are ideal for daily usage. With the beautifully crafted exterior and with loads of interior space for all the essentials, it will adorn any outfit with city elegance.Louis Vuitton Handbags enjoy high reputation all over the world. They are designed for hand, elbow and shoulder carry thanks to comfortable flat leather handles.If you want to catch up to the latest vogue, having Louis Vuitton Handbags of the latest styles can absolutely satisfy you.Just visit LV outlet webpage and select the most suitable products for yourself.
    Come to Tiffany And Co which supplies all sorts of fashion accessories like Tiffany Crystal Earrings and necklaces, etc. I’m sure there are some suitable goods for you.Leading any costume using a Tiffany UK but you just seem advanced and trendy. Isn’t it time to obtain ones own eluxury ?You will always get surprised by the beautiful colors and perfect details of Tiffany Jewellery.So come on, do not hesitate.
    Cheap Louis Vuitton UK wholesale offers a variety of options to satisfy your needs. Some new ones even has fashionable styles fold over flap to disguise the snap closure and a draw string is added for a convenient closure.Louis Vuitton Outlet online just like a person who want to show himself in front of other people, because he is confident enough, he can attain the respect of other people.If you believe producer really is as effectively steeply-priced, Louis Vuitton Sale also can be determined on the low price local retailer.
    Aimengcrystal.com specializes in providing Tiffany And Co Outlet jewelry, natural crystal jewelry and 925 sterling silver jewelry for many years.This pair of rhodium-plated Tiffany Jewellery Earrings form elegant semi-circles with a dangling element embellished in clear crystal pave. Wear them with your everyday outfit to add a touch of eye-catching elegance.Tiffany Jewellery UK have own characteristic designs. The beautiful crystals have added the magical finishing touch to countless bridal gowns. Just get some for yourself.

Comments are closed.