The resentment you feel when someone hurts you physically, mentally, or emotionally can cause lasting damage and reduce your quality of life. According to psychologists and life coaches, holding on to resentments can make you:
- Deeply Disappointed
- Less Trusting
- Blame Others
When you feel that you’ve been mistreated, the disappointment you feel can extend not only to the person who hurt you but, over time, to other people and aspects of your life. Resentment can also make you less trusting of others and blame other people for your circumstances. Resentment is unhealthy, and letting it go is crucial to your peace of mind.
How can you let go of resentments? When you’ve been hurt, it may be hard to heal and move past the pain. Here are five strategies to let resentments go, based on research and studies by scientists.
- Dig Deeper
Based on clinical work highlighted in Psychology Today, the first strategy to let resentments go is to dig deeper into why you feel resentment. Resentment is a combination of anger and hate. Those emotions also have an underlying cause, either fear and hurt.
Ask yourself why you feel resentment. What was the situation that made you feel this way? When you think about it, the actions that started your resentment probably hurt you emotionally, mentally, or physically. What did those actions take from you? That’s fear. Feeling like you lost respect, status, or safety are all fear-based responses.
The next step is to consider the intention of the person who hurt you. Were their actions overtly trying to hurt you? Or did they unknowingly do something that triggered your feelings of fear and anger? Attempts to hurt you are abuse and should not be tolerated. But what you perceived as an indifferent, cold, or unhelpful action from someone may not be what they intended.
When you consider the reason someone acted a certain way towards you, you may be able to let go of resentments associated with minor annoyances. Talking with the other person and expressing how you feel, using “I” statements instead of blaming, and working towards a positive solution can help you let go of resentments.
- Express Anger in Healthy Ways
Your feelings of resentment about a person or a situation may be entirely justified but holding onto resentments isn’t healthy. Anger is a natural human emotion. Refusing to express or deal with your anger is not healthy either. Instead, find ways to express your anger that allow you to release it. According to research published in The Journal of Medicine and Life, holding onto anger and resentment has multiple health risks, including heart disease, diabetes, and eating disorders. Here are some healthy ways to release anger instead:
- Keep a Journal
- Talk with a Trusted Friend
- Paint, draw, or Forms of Art
Resentment comes from being hurt. That means you will need to take care of yourself to heal. There are many self-care techniques available to help you decrease stress, lessen psychological pain, and release anger. These techniques may also help you grow stronger so you can better manage future situations that might make you feel resentment.
- Deep Breathing
- Getting Enough Rest
- Spend Time in Nature
- Treat Yourself
- Forgiveness Therapy
Forgiveness therapy is a process designed to help you let go of resentments. By working with a trained therapist, you can learn how to examine why you feel resentments, how to let go of them, and how to protect yourself in the future. Forgiveness therapy is a specific type of therapy for people who have experienced trauma, pain, and hurt, leading to resentments.
- Other Professional Therapy
The American Psychological Association offers other forms of therapy through psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors. Resentment is not the only unhealthy behavior associated with pain and suffering. Professional therapists can help you let go of resentments and deal with other issues affecting your quality of life. Examples of therapies available include:
- Anger Management
- Alcohol and Drug Addiction
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Spiritual Exercises
Practicing your Spiritual beliefs is a very powerful way of letting go of resentments. Find a spiritual advisor and follow their direction. Let them walk you through the feelings and resolve the grievances. In no way does using a spiritual approach negate the first five strategies—just the opposite. On your spiritual journey to peace of mind, you will use the first five strategies at various points in your healing from your resentment.
There are ways to let go of resentments. Resentment will impact your life in negative ways left untreated.