What is resentment? It is a multilayered emotion that can be described as a mixture of disappointment, disgust, anger, and fear. It is defined as a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury.
No matter how you put it, it is not good and resentment can be a sneaky enemy. It can show up before you even know it is there and can ruin or create a wedge in a relationship. And even worse, it opens the door for negative talk in your head.
There have been times I let my resentment take over in a relationship. When this happens, it is very difficult to look at a situation with love and kindness, and it is easy to live as a victim.
So how do you stop it or let it go?
Let’s start with trying to understand the reasons it may happen. Each of us desires to feel safety, love and belonging… this is consistent among all humans.
Even though every human is different, and my definition of safety, love and belonging for my life may differ from other people, these are key components to our existence.
Resentment can happen when we feel that someone has wronged us. This could be someone who has made us feel unloved, unsupported, or as if we don’t belong.
Let’s take a married couple, for example. If a wife or husband is struggling to manage everything in the home, she/he may feel that their spouse and children should recognize this and automatically lend a helping hand. Unfortunately, that typically is not the case. The help is not there and the wife/husband feels unsupported.
Most of the time, we assume everyone thinks the same way we do. The way my mind works, is the right way so everyone should think the same, right? [ha] If only that were true… but then we wouldn’t find other people in our lives to balance us out [I value those people deeply].
We can avoid resentment with awareness, communication and self care. We tend to feel resentful when we are tired and overwhelmed. When we feel we are unloved or unsupported. If we are aware of the feels, we can work on them. If we communicate clearly our needs, we can receive support from those who love us. And if we take care of ourselves, we will have the energy and clear head to handle everything that is needed.
So what can we do to help this? First, we need to get curious why we are holding resentment.
Is the resentment because somebody is not there to help us? Maybe you feel you are the only one that does anything around the house.
Is it because somebody says something that strikes a nerve with you? Maybe someone comments on something you didn’t do, and it hurts because you know everything that you have done. You get resentful because you feel they don’t value you.
Is it because you’re not happy and maybe jealous because of someone else’s happiness? This one can be tough! But I know I have felt this a time or two during my life.
If you understand why you are resentful towards someone, then it is a little easier to plan how to let go or work through that resentment. Maybe a simple conversation to let somebody know that you need their support will help clear things up. But you have to sit down and have that honest and vulnerable conversation first.
Maybe you need to work on yourself. find time to take care of you and fill your cup so you can help others. I know this can be difficult to start or to even understand how to fit it into a busy schedule, but if you start with something small, you can build on it from there.
When it comes to self-care, the biggest hurdle for some is understanding that you are worth the time. And that you are important enough to make YOU a priority in your day.
Being able to recognize and control your emotions is an important part in our lives. Resentment is an emotion that can poison you. And if you recognize it and let it go, it can open the door to more joy in your life.
I encourage you to work through any resentment that you hold for someone else or even yourself. It is worth your time to get curious about resentment and process through it. Letting go of resentment is just as much for you as it is for anyone else. It can improve relationships, it can improve your state of mind, and it can bring more joy into your life.
Take the time to do this for yourself. You are worth it! And you deserve it!
Sending you peace, love and joy, my friend. Sam