heal the pain

6 Ways to Release Resentment

Look, we’ve all felt “screwed over” at one time or another, we’ve all experienced disappointments with people, and we’ve all felt resentful as a result. But the truth is, keeping all those toxic emotions pent up inside of you ends up hurting you more than it does anyone else. So it’s truly time to let go.

Here are 6 ways to help you get started on living a resentment-free life:

1) Start venting. That’s right, vent. Let it all out. Take to paper and write down all your grievances. Feel like a victim. Tell yourself how unfair it all is. Go ahead and blame, cry, and judge. This may sound counter-productive, but in reality, it’s a great way for you to release all the feelings you’ve been repressing for some time. You see, we’re often so afraid to let these emotions out that we end up bottling them in. We think that admitting our true feelings makes us bad or weak. But this is not so. In fact, it is through knowing and understanding our feelings that we discover why and how we react to the world. And by knowing this we can start to work through and release what no longer serves us. Acknowledgment is power, for we cannot change something unless we know it’s there.

2) Fill yourself up with love. That means, do what you love, spend time with those whom you love, admire everything you love, laugh, sing, dance, play, do whatever it is that makes you smile. Do something nice for someone else today, and every day, without expecting anything in return. Make yourself, and everything about you, a representation of love and joy and you’ll see that resentment no longer feels necessary. When you feel genuinely good it’s hard to hold a grudge. Inner bliss is your ultimate solution for everything.

3) Try on someone else’s shoes for a day. This doesn’t mean taking on the identity or problems of another; it simply means changing your perspective. Think about the person who’s hurt you. Now realize that they, like you, come from a very subjective and personal place of experience. They’ve learned certain habits along their way, some of which may differ from yours. This doesn’t necessarily make anyone wrong or right. It simply shows how different people deal with life. Everyone has their own set of rules and standards and if you are to release your resentment you’re going to have to accept that. Does that mean you have to tolerate their disrespectful behaviour? Absolutely not! Simply realize that not all people do things as you do or have the same frame of reference. Compassion is so much better than anger. Try it on for size and you’ll see how much better you feel.

4) Don’t take it personally. Not everything is about you. Insecurity with yourself will make you sometimes see things that aren’t really there. Meaning, you may perceive behaviour directed at you as a personal attack or intentional disrespect when really it has more to do with the other person’s issues. You may simply be “in the line of fire” in that moment where you become an outlet for someone else’s venting, frustration, ignorance, or insecurity.

With that said it is also vital to be able to take responsibility for the energy you draw into your life. But we’re not talking about self-blame here. Understand that your thoughts, emotions, and actions will draw to you like thoughts, emotions, and actions. So if you are on the receiving end of some hurtful behaviour, it’s time to look at the vibe you’re putting out into the world. For instance, perhaps you are self-deprecating, have a low self-esteem, and allow others to walk all over you. Well, in that case it would be easy to resent those doing the walking, but it’s more productive and empowering to move out of their path.

But also, be mindful of how you treat others, for sometimes we only notice how we’re being treated and forget to look at what we do to warrant that response.

5) Express yourself. Stand your ground. It is often when we stay quiet about our hurts that we end up burying them. This isn’t about being confrontational or aggressive. This is about expressing your feelings in a loving way. When you inform someone about how you feel, and you do it from a diplomatic and non-accusatory place, you allow them the opportunity to learn and grow. At the same time, by expressing yourself in this manner you prevent yourself from building up resentment. But there is a caveat. You must detach yourself from their reaction. If you put too many expectations onto their response you may create more fuel for more resentment (if you don’t get the response you were looking for). Remember, you are not doing this for validation or approval. You are doing this for the sake of letting go of the feelings that don’t serve you, and for the sake of giving others a chance to take ownership for their role as well.

6) Set healthy boundaries. Knowing what you will and won’t do from the get go will help prevent future resentment. That’s because you will be acting with integrity and from choice, not chore. If you don’t want to do something it’s better that you don’t do it because if you do it begrudgingly or with agenda you will undoubtedly meet the resentment monster at a later date. Know that it’s ultimately your choice to do something or not. No one can actually “make” you do anything. So if you make the choice, accept the consequences or make another choice.

When it comes to setting boundaries, be honest about where they are coming from to make sure they are protective of your energy rather than tools you use for avoidance. For example, instead of setting a boundary that rejects everyone for fear of being hurt, set a boundary that allows you to take your time getting to know someone.

Learn to set healthy boundaries and uphold them and resentment will be a thing of the past.


Dora Nudelman is a personal-development and self-empowerment writer, author, advisor, holistic life coach, and the principal of The Quality of Life Advisors Group (www.qualityoflifeadvisors.com), a lifestyle consulting company that provides expert advice and guidance for successful living. She is also the author of, “You Are Here: How to awaken your potential and live your greatest life now!” a practical guide that demonstrates how to use presence to bring peace, happiness, and success into your daily life. For more information please visit: www.youareherethebook.com


20 Responses to 6 Ways to Release Resentment

  1. Pablol says:

    wow, I really need it this. Thanks so much!

  2. Perry Hua says:

    Find a passion to occupy your time. Your feelings of resentment will slowly melt away.

  3. Anastasia St. says:

    I’m really interested in the idea of setting healthy boundaries, cause now I’m struggling with such problem. The person that plays a big role in my life wants me to do something that I do not really want to do, or just not ready to do.

    So what I am trying to figure out is whether this boundaries I set in our relationships are healthy or not. I feel a bit lost in self analysis…

    Anyway thanks for the great artile, I totally liked your ideas. They are really useful… Thanks again!

  4. Dora says:

    I don’t know the specifics of your situation but I do know that it’s important to follow your gut. Try not to get lost in over-analysis. Your first instinct is usually the right one. Only you know if you don’t want to do something because you are scared to venture outside of your comfort zone, or if you truly feel that this thing is not right for you, or not right for you at this time. If a person truly cares for you, they will understand and you can find a compromise. Hope that helps.

  5. I like to play sad music for a few hours until I get tired of it! Then I am only in the mood for happy music. After that I feel so much better! You should try it!

  6. Isaiah Hankel says:


    How do you feel about channeling your resentment into productive action. I like to think of resentment as unresolved tension and it can quickly be released by engaging in something positive. Activities like writing, creating, building and connecting. I really enjoyed this post and I’m looking forward to reading more by you. 

    Isaiah Hankel

  7. Fantastic advice Dora. Burying your feelings is certainly the quickest and easiest way to build up resentment in my opinion. Eventually those feelings will surface, but appear completely unjustified because they are out of context. Deal with feelings as soon as you can and save yourself a lot of grief later down the road. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Dora says:

    Thanks Isaiah,

    I agree, when you do what you enjoy, your energy and momentum shift. Sometimes all it takes is a change in activity to bring about a change in perspective. The worst thing we can do is to act out of resentment and anger. If we allow ourselves to get involved in more pleasing activities, the anger wears off and we are much more level headed and able to see what the real issue is. Thanks for your great point.

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  10. Lena Ameri says:

    All these tips were great, I especially liked don’t take it personally, express yourself, and set boundaries. You can’t always control another person’s behavior, but you can control how it affects you and what you do about it. I don’t know if I totally agree with tip 1, start venting. While I do think it’s helpful to express yourself, at a certain point you can become consumed in it. I would say, start venting, but then quickly move on by re-directing yourself to something else.

  11. This a beautiful article. It was exactly what I needed to hear in this moment. No matter what you accumulate in life, there are always those little bugaboos that can threaten to tear you down. And it not a sudden occurrence either. A disappointment here, dealing with someone’s attitude there and before you know it, you are constantly agitated about one thing or another. Other people notice this and refrain from being around you, which makes you more agitated. But if you have the courage to let go, so many things open up for you in life. Thank you!

  12. Dora says:

    I agree with you that one should not get carried away with the venting. But pretending like you are fine when you’re not only ends up repressing your true feelings, which causes more resentful feelings to fester. It’s definitely a balance. I would suggest setting a timeframe in which to do the venting, like 1 hour, for instance. That way you have enough time to let out your feelings, but you don’t get carried away in victim consciousness. 

  13. Mark Bowness says:

    Spot on post article. Resentment is one of those things that builds and builds and builds until something, well, just has to give. Following these steps will really help readers to deal with resentment that may be building up in their lives. Thank you so much for sharing!

  14. Lauramarkwille says:

    This article was tremendously helpful for me. I am learning how to handle my relationship with a loved one who has  recently admitted to having a chemical addiction. Acknowledgment, compassion and boundaries are words and ideas that have become very familiar to me in the past week. I am slowly working my way toward acceptance and can’t thank you enough for this very thought provoking article.

  15. Dora says:

    I am so glad you found it helpful. Best wishes to you and your loved-one!

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  17. Glynis Jolly says:

    I really do not like venting my negative feeling too often. After reading this post though, I am thinking I need to find a way to vent that is comfortable for me. Thanks for the spark of consideration.

  18. Dora says:

    I’m not a natural venter either. But I realized a long time ago that keeping things in isn’t any better. The key about venting is doing it with the purpose of letting go and uncovering limiting or negative beliefs that you’ve adopted over time. Obviously venting only for the purpose of feeling sorry for yourself, and continuing that process over and over without the intention of moving on can be self-destructive and unproductive, not to mention annoying for all the people around you. But when you do it as a method of self-therapy, where you know the goal is to release, re-assess, and re-invent, AND you limit your venting to a specific timeframe that keeps it within healthy boundaries, then you are on to something good.

    Some of us keep in our negative feelings because we are ashamed of them. Some of us worry too much about what others will think or say about us. But at the end of the day, if you don’t deal with how you truly feel, it will likely come back to bite you. To make sure you are doing it productively, 1) write out your feelings first as an exercise that takes place only between you and you, 2) try to understand the real cause of your feelings. For example, what are you really upset about, is it what someone else has “done to you” or are you angry at yourself for allowing yourself to be treated in a certain way? Are you seeking respect, appreciation, love? What do you want that you are not getting from this person or circumstance? How can you find a way to give it to yourself? 3) once you feel you’ve gotten it all out, if need be, express your feelings to others in a proactive and respectful way. Because you have worked out your feelings in such a productive way, you will likely be a lot more level-headed and calm in your approach, and less likely to lash out in a reactive way. When you take time for self-reflection, you become a lot clearer on how to approach a situation in the best way.

    And, if you follow up the venting with the other steps mentioned in this article, it will turn into a productive experience that can help you move on with your life and your joy.

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