Free Yourself from Resentment
Grudges are pent-up pain and anger that becomes frozen in time at the moment of whatever provoked it. We detach ourselves from what happened before or what could happen in the future, leaving that situation and what we experienced unchanged in time.
“I have a grudge against my sister because when I needed her help, she took no interest in me, didn’t worry about me, or even care what I did,” “I feel bitter with my partner because they didn’t consider my opinion a year ago when they made that important decision”…
In this way, we cut off our interest in the other person and try not to care at all what they do or say; however, we cannot disconnect ourselves from the sensation of frustration, anger, impotence, or pain, of whatever offended us.
When we feel resentment, we keep feeling. The word says it all: re-sentment, from the Latin re-, again, and sentire, to feel. It’s a small cave where we gather unresolved, unprocessed pain and anger, accumulated with time, and if we don’t pay attention, it can continue growing like a monster inside us.
Generally, resentment is an emotion highly discredited by society. But resentment, like any emotion, has a cause and a reason for being, and also serves as a sign pointing to the existence of a problem or difficulty that is hard to resolve.
Feeling and resenting
Resentment starts when we experience something that frustrates or disorganizes us, but do not express our pain or anger. People who often feel resentment tend to be the most hypersensitive, living both the pain and the anger with great intensity, without having learned how to express them in a healthy way.
They begin by restraining their emotion, but eventually begin to exaggerate and blow things out of proportion. The pain and anger stored in the cave go on growing, provoking that monster that can take control. What we don’t express and process grows toxic inside us, keeping us disconnected from others, making us chronically ill.
When we feel bitter or resentful, it’s helpful to ask what we are believing about ourselves for feeling this retained or sealed off anger. We can believe many things about ourselves, some of which will help us to resolve the bitterness, but others, like discrediting and disregarding ourselves for feeling the way we do, will make it worse.
If self-reproach arises in addition to the pain and anger, we often feel “bad,” such as not deserving to be loved or supported, and our self esteem can suffer.
To avoid resentment, we must know how to get angry in a healthy and productive way and how to recognize and express the pain that we feel.
Unfortunately, the majority of us do not know or have not been taught to express our anger in an appropriate way, nor even how to manage the energy resulting from this emotion. When we get angry, it’s often because we’ve let our expectations run away with us, and when reality turns out to be less than we’d hoped we feel a surge of emotional energy. We have to take this into account, have more strength, and resolve the problem that has bothered us.
This, combined with an effort to communicate our pain without judging ourselves, will allow us to prevent the bitterness from growing inside us.
But if we already feel resentful, it can be hard to undo it. In these cases, will have to begin to understand and change our opinions about the thing that has embittered us. So, if instead of discrediting ourselves, we give ourselves the chance to pay attention to what we are feeling and what we need, we will notice that we are hurt and angry and we will be able to communicate this to the other person in an appropriate way.
It’s a matter of being conscious of and identifying our feelings, instead of acting without thinking. It’s also important to understand that not everyone can give us what we ask for or need, not only because of their circumstances, but also because we often don’t express it to them.