Letting Go of Resentment- How To Let Go of Resentment & Drop The Grudge?
Holding on to resentment hurts you more than the other person. Holding on to resentment is like consuming the poison yourself and expecting the other person to have side effects. While you harbour resentment and glorify your anger, the other person is living their life free as a bird, guilt-free! Therefore, to set yourself free, you should learn: how to let go of resentment and move on in your life.
Do you currently feel angry and resentful towards someone from your past? Do you feel that you have not been treated justly? While holding some resentment is natural, if this feeling is left unattended, it can become toxic and affect your wellbeing. So how to let go of resentment?
At some point, we all get angry and hurt, as we feel cheated, wronged and mistreated. Feeling some resentment is okay and is not necessarily a bad thing. But holding on to a grudge and not letting go of resentment is the real problem. I know it feels right and justified to feel resentful, but who are you really angry with and why? And what is the value of resentment you are withholding? Clinging to resentment and withholding grudges is our natural response to being wronged or mishandled, but it can be counterproductive.
Yes, holding on to resentment hurts you more than the other person. Holding on to resentment is like consuming the poison yourself and expecting the other person to have side effects. While you harbour resentment and glorify your anger, the other person is living their life free as a bird, guilt-free! Therefore, to set yourself free, you should learn: how to let go of resentment and move on in your life.
But letting go of resentment is easier said than done. Once you are in this loop, getting out can be tricky. It is like drinking with friends, where you narrate your story of being wronged, and it feels comforting at first. Eventually, no one wants to hear about the same sobbing story anymore. And the problem is that you remain in the same mental zone, stuck and hurt. You may pretend that you do not care about what happened in your past anymore. But in reality, you do care about it. And it is what resentment is. So before we learn how to let go of resentment, let us define it first.
What is resentment?
Resentment is a mental resistance or a non-acceptance of something that has already occurred in the past. Resentment is a feeling of anger that originates when you receive unfair treatment. Those who experience resentment hold a grudge for the person or situation that caused them harm. It may lead to a desire for vengeance. Resentment may encompass several other emotions such as bitterness, shame, jealousy and sorrow. A person can become resentful when they feel that they have been treated unfairly or disrespected and demeaned. As a result, the person retains some negative feelings about that specific incident and may hold a grudge.
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Why you might feel resentment?
There are three common scenarios that might make you resentful:
- There is an imbalance in your relationship
If you are the only one invested in a relationship and find yourself always compromising and sacrificing, and the other person never reciprocates, resentment can seep in. You may not become resentful at the beginning of your relationship or friendship, but as you feel constantly being ignored, not reciprocated, this feeling can easily set in. So when your needs and wants are unacknowledged, unmet and ignored by the other person, it leads to disappointment.
2. The other person always shows you down
If you have a friend or a partner who always belittles you, demeans you and tears you down, it can cause deep wounds and hurt. If someone regularly shows you down and then dismisses the same by saying something like ‘why are you being so touchy or sensitive,’ it may spark resentment. In fact, the other person is being insensitive. They are causing you pain by shaming you and failing to see your positives. But it can cause you to become resentful.
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3. You are a victim of system bias
There could be situations when you feel you are unseen or bypassed by society at large. It is no wonder that society has mistreated people of a certain colour, caste, religion, region, or sexuality. And you can become resentful towards system bias as you feel this is not what you deserve.
Now you know why you feel resentful, let us see why it is important to let go of resentment.
Why let go of resentment?
As they say ‘if you are free of resentment, you will surely find peace and happiness.’ We all know that our lives are short. You can choose to live your life feeling angry or resentful or feeling fulfilled and happy. The choice is yours.
Whatever harm has been done and caused to you by the other person, you cannot change it. You cannot change the behaviour of the other person who caused you the hurt. Holding onto resentment will not change the other person. And you cannot force them to make up for the hurt they have caused you. Only you will have to drop the grudge you are holding.
And this is exactly what I have done. I have consciously chosen my happiness over anything else by letting go of resentment and the past. I learnt how to forgive and move on to live a life free of guilt, anger and shame. I have reclaimed my happiness by overcoming resentment and dropping the grudge. Resentment has no value, and if you learn how to let go of resentment, it will set you free and open new doors for you.
Holding onto resentment and grudge is equivalent to fighting a past event in an attempt to win. But is this possible? You cannot change the past. That’s impossible. But you can let go of the past and move on. And once you decide to let go of the grudge, you start moving towards freedom.
5 Tips on How to let go of resentment!
Let us now find out how to let go of resentment:
- Take a third-person perspective
It becomes really difficult to have the right perspective on how to let go of resentment when you are too deep into it. So, taking a third-party perspective brings a lot of clarity to your thought process. It means that you become a mediating party between yourself and your resentment. You can ask yourself: what is really bothering you, and why is the event in your past is making you resent? What is the value of resentment that you are holding? How is your resentment helping you in your present? Are you looking to seek vengeance to drop your grudge? As you pose these questions to yourself, you move towards more clarity. You will realise that resentment is not adding value to your life, and holding that grudge is not worth it.
Also, when you see yourself from another person’s perspective, you can empathize with yourself. When you do so, you will work towards pulling yourself out of the resentment trap. You may forgive the other person, accept your past and move on in an attempt to find happiness for yourself.
2. Think good of the person whom you resent
You might probably be thinking: ‘Am I serious.’ But hold on. Negativity can be countered with positivity. And what is the opposite of hate or anger? It is love. By praying the best for everyone, whether good or bad, you are slowly letting positivity seep into your life and negativity evaporate from your life.
Another way to be able to send them love is to empathize with them. Once you empathize with them, you will be better able to understand the conditions that caused them to behave in the way they behaved. You may discover that they are the victims of their past traumas that triggered the act that made you resentful. You can pity their situation and their upbringing. It may help you forgive them.
So, do not shy away from sending love to everyone you resent and be a bigger, positive and giving person. It will pay off!
3. Talk it out with the person you resent
I would recommend you to have an open and honest conversation with the person who hurt you. It is one of the best ways of dealing with the dissonance of how to let go of resentment. When you establish a clear dialogue, acknowledge your and their mistake, understand the prevailing conditions at that time and give voice to your feelings, you may clear misunderstandings. Misconceptions from your past may be the cause of your resentment.
When you actively listen to them by giving them enough room to explain themselves, it can help you figure out how to let go of resentment. And it will help you find your closure.
4. Forgive and be the bigger person
Sometimes it is good to forgive the other person even if you do not reconcile with them. You can choose to forgive and forget or forgive and not forget, whatever works for you. It is because when you forgive the other person, it does not mean you are forgetting their misdeeds, but you are letting them go.
The act of forgiveness is a very personal one, and you forgive the other person in a quest to find your own happiness. The paradox is as you try to forgive the other person and be good to them, you experience emotional healing. And therefore, forgiveness is the biggest act of letting go of resentment.
5. Practice gratitude and be grateful
When people ask me how to let go of resentment, I tell them that the best way is to be grateful and practice gratitude. It is because a heart full of gratitude has no room for resentment or regrets. It is difficult to resent and hold a grudge when you focus on what you have with an abundance mindset. Also, when you are grateful to people around you and practise gratitude, it places you in the right set of mind to let go of the resentment.
So these are a few ways to learn how to go of resentment. With time I also realised that resentment is not anger towards someone. It is the rage with oneself, displaced on someone else when seen from victimhood mentality.
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