It's reasonable to feel frustrated when things don't go your way. Life can, of course, be challenging, and many things might seem completely unfair.
But a resentment extends beyond the temporary emotion. It's a prolonged state that can impact both your physical and mental health. Additionally, resentments can build up over time, leading you to feel more anxious, depressed, and insecure.
Letting go of resentment allows you to move into a greater place of acceptance. It also cultivates higher self-esteem and more meaningful relationships. Let's get into what you need to know.
What Are Resentments?
Resentment is a complex, multifaceted set of emotions that may include anger, disappointment, shame, disgust, and sadness. Resentment usually happens as a result of feeling wronged by someone or something else.
That said, we often resent what we don't understand. For example, we might assume that someone wanted to hurt us intentionally without really knowing their motive. Or, we might resent a certain outcome for happening because we don't think it's fair.
Why Do We Become Resentful?
Many times, we want to be right. This is an inflated ego problem, but it often stems from wanting to be valued, treasured, and acknowledged by others. If this feels jeopardized, we may become resentful.
We can also become resentful when we have unrealistic expectations about other people or events. For example, let's say you expect your partner to wash the dishes while you're at work. After a long day, you come home, and the sink is overflowing. You instantly feel annoyed and angry, and you assume that your partner doesn't care about you or the house.
Is this justified? Maybe. But it also speaks to our tendency to have certain expectations about how other people should behave, even when we don't vocalize our needs.
How Resentment Complicates Recovery
Injustice is a normal part of life. We cannot control all the events that happen to us, and we also cannot control how other people behave or respond to us.
At times, this can be not easy. It can feel so defeating when things don't go your way, especially when you take the time and effort to make good choices. It can also be devastating to trust someone who then betrays or takes advantage of you.
But holding onto this resentment rarely benefits your well-being. When you feel resentful, you spend a great deal of time, energy, and mental resources focusing on that resentment. As a result, you have less of a capacity for cultivating your self-care or strengthening other relationships.
Likewise, resentment itself can be triggering. Many people struggle to sit with uncomfortable emotions. If you struggle with addiction, you have probably self-medicated your feelings with drugs or alcohol. This can be a challenging habit to break, and it's one of the reasons many people struggle with chronic relapse.
Letting Go Of Resentment: Steps You Can Take Today
Choosing to release your resentment can help you feel lighter and happier. Remember that this is a choice- it often isn't something that happens naturally. You can decide to take this mindset whenever you feel ready.
Acknowledge How You Feel
If you want to change how you feel, you must acknowledge it first. Reflect on your resentment. Where did it come from? What is perpetuating these ongoing feelings?
All progress starts by identifying your truth. Be brave and move away from denial or intellectualization. Instead, focus on naming, acknowledging, and identifying what's happening to you.
Identify The Part You Play
How does holding onto resentment continue to harm you? What role do you play in perpetuating your misery? These questions may be difficult to answer, but it's important to try your best.
Pointing your fingers at someone or something else may seem obvious, but we only grow when we have the willingness to focus on our own flaws.
Journal. Pray. Talk about your feelings with a trusted friend or therapist. Write a letter to the person who wronged you.
In other words, do something that makes you feel empowered for change. These activities allow you to release your energy and channel your emotions positively. They also create a viable path towards healing and moving on.
Reflect On The Growth
Life's most difficult moments push us to be better, stronger, and more resilient. While these moments can also be incredibly painful, try to focus on how you can learn and grow from them. This shifts your mindset into a more grateful one, which can help reduce the resentment you feel.
Letting go of resentment requires time, patience, and conscious effort. With that said, it's one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your recovery.
At The Resurface Group, we can help you untangle your resentments, practice acceptance, and learn how to forgive yourself and others. We are here for you and your loved ones. Contact us today to get started.