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