The emotion of resentment is essentially a ball of our most negative feelings. According to Web. M.D. people feeling resentment experience feelings of anger, frustration, hostility, bitterness, hard feelings, and uneasiness. It does not feel good to be resentful. It can even affect your health and wellbeing adversely.
A quote by Deepak Chopra beautifully wraps up resentment for what it is "What we don't recognize is that holding onto resentment is like holding onto your breath. You'll soon start to suffocate."
So, how do you deal with this toxic emotion? The answer is simple when you consider that it consists of negativity; it's even scientific - the solution is to combat it with positivity.
Forgiveness Is Key
According to the Mayo Clinic, if we are unable to practice forgiveness, we will likely be the ones who suffer the most. One of the main components of feeling resentful is wanting to exact revenge for the harm done by someone else.
To remedy this, we need to take a firm stance against those kinds of thoughts we need to make ourselves forgive. Replacing those feelings of anger and frustration with forgiveness and releasing a need to retaliate sets us free. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692).
There are many benefits to forgiving someone for what they have done to us, and these include:
- Healthier relationships
- Stronger mental health
- A decrease in stress
- Healthier heart
- A boost to physical immunity
- Increased self-belief
Some may feel like forgiving is letting the person who wronged them off the hook, but this is an incorrect assessment. We need to understand that when we cannot control the things we want to, we must choose to manage what we can.
The truth is we may never get the apology we deserve or the recognition for our hurt feelings, but we can control how we choose to react. When we choose forgiveness, we take back our power, and, in the process, we gain back our self-respect.
The Power of Empathy
The loving emotion of empathy is essential in letting go of our resentment, as strange as that may sound. According to psychologist Judith Orloff M.D., empathy is when we reach out our hearts to others and place ourselves in their shoes. The wise Dalai Lama once called empathy the most precious of human qualities. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-empaths-survival-guide/201811/the-healing-power-empathy).
We should consider how the people who have wronged us feel and try to understand why they did what they did. If we only consider how we feel, we never truly understand the "why" of a situation. It is important to use empathy to understand if someone is lashing out because of their pain. The hurt visited upon you may never have been intentional. This resentment may be due to a misunderstanding that has grown out of control.
The important aspect is that empathy helps us more fully understand a situation and may help in learning to forgive. Even if using empathy does not find a valid excuse for the harm someone has inflicted, it can at least give you closure in understanding that it wasn't your fault. We must learn to have enough love to be empaths and forgive not only others but also ourselves.
Love is the polar opposite of hate, and hate is one of the root causes of resentment. We, therefore, need to use love and compassion to combat our feelings of resentment if for no other reason than to make our own lives better.