Resentment: A Thorn in the Heart

October 24, 2016

Holding a grudge involves significant and consistent feelings of anger, which do not dissipate. The vast majority of us have experienced it. In some cases, this feeling can be transformed into a desire for vengeance and become obsessive. At that point, we should stop and, if necessary, seek professional help.

Resentment is certainly paradoxical because, for some, the situation causing it may be somewhat irrelevant. For many others, however, a minimal insult represents an aggression of the worst degree. Given that in both cases the trigger event has been the same, the one who feeds into his excitement more will be the most affected.

“When we hate someone, we hate in the image of something that is within us.”

 -Hermann Hesse-

Moreover, if the person who feels resentment was the subject of a major attack, he may suffer far more than the aggressor himself. The reason is that while the first person keeps a very firm feeling of pain, the second person may feel very calm and free from all guilt.

In the face of rancor and resentment, a cool head and willpower

woman with wood pidgeon in her ear

Indifference fuels resentment. The person who has hurt us may not have even noticed that they have hurt us, and this makes us feel even more resentful. It increases the size of the wound with a grudge that is obviously useless.

To eradicate resentment, it is best to forgive and communicate. Forgiveness that is the product of understanding of the flaws of the other could be a real triumph. As long as we do not consent or justify further aggression that does not deserve justification. Yes forgiveness, but not consent.

When we stop thinking about what happened and move forward on this basis, it really helps us heal our hearts. This will be a cure that is the result of reason, a good heart and wisdom that we have gained through the experience.

The reason why it happened must be analyzed in some detail. Explore how you might have participated  in the emergence of a problem, and to what extent the other person did. Think about if there is any solution, even if it is small, to improve the situation and make appropriate decisions sensibly, objectivity and fairly. Being reasonable, objective and fair under these conditions is not easy, but it’s worth it.

Also when we feel anger it is important to vent, according to our character and depending on the dimension of the aggression. We must not simply remain silent. That is the seed for a deep depression or aggressiveness, which ultimately will be another unresolved conflict and another obstacle.

Do not make decisions when you’re “hot”

couple gazing

When the incidents are recent and we are still very affected by the situation, it is impossible to be objective, sensible and fair. This would be like putting out a fire with gasoline. In situations of resentment we need to reach a point of calm which starts with reason, knowing that life goes on, that “tomorrow the sun will rise again” and that there are more problems to come. Life is falling and getting up.

It also doesn’t serve to question it. You will never reach a definitive answer nor can you stay in the past. What happened, happened and we have to look forward. Dwelling too much on the whys and assuming the position of victim will not be of much help in solving the problem.

Willpower and a desire to get out of that resentment will be key. Depending on which path we take, we will grow as people, we will get stuck or even go backwards. In the end, learning or not is a decision itself and will always be better formed by our own will rather than an obligation imposed upon us by the circumstances.

Do not evade the situation, understand it and accept it

man tied with rope

It is important to learn from what happened. An offense, instead of representing a great misfortune, eventually can become a more solid foundation to face life. Working to overcome resentment is a great investment in ourselves.

Now, if after having acted or at least having tried several ways, the offender persists in their attitude, the best thing to do is show them the door out of our lives. Perhaps we are not the best people to make them see that their way is not going to get them anywhere.

hand with flowers

There is no point arguing with another person because the wound will continue to get bigger and bigger, and because too much hatred and bitterness can make an environment very problematic and even dangerous. It may trigger an escalation of aggression with consequences that are both unpredictable and negative.

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