You know when something happens to you, and you feel hurt, disappointed, maybe even shocked? These feelings can lead to a feeling of a wound inside of your heart. You wonder, “Ugh! How will I overcome this feeling of resentment?”
Recently I was having lunch with my friend Cindy. She told me, “There’s something painful going on in my life right now.” I leaned in, “What is it??” She said, “I have an old friend who recently turned on me.
I reached out to her asking her to help me with something, and she told me no, and that she’d decided it’s best not to be friends anymore.”
Cindy said, “I know we’ve drifted apart over the recent years, but I still considered her a dear friend – someone I could turn to.”
I asked her what she was planning to do next.
She said, “I want to be able to let this go, but it’s really bothering me. I wish I could move on and stop feeling so sad and angry.”
As I sat there listening to her, I thought of different times in my life when I faced very similar circumstances. And I remembered how feelings of resentment often fester and grow.
Feeling stuck in resentment hurts!
Here are questions to consider as you deal with resentment and attempt to move forward. Consider:
1. What exactly am I trying to forgive?
It’s so easy for emotions to get wrapped up inside each other. But – for a moment – try to allow your thoughts to become crystal clear. What exactly is the issue at hand? Write it down in one concise statement.
“I’m mad at Kim because she didn’t invite me to that dinner party.”
Next, try using Byron Katie’s method of questioning. Through her process, called The Work, you turn thoughts upside down. By doing this, you may discover a peace you never thought possible.
See her worksheet here. I sometimes attend her online classes. Trust me – she is a miracle worker! Through her process of questioning your beliefs, you’re able to release deeply ingrained feelings that contribute to the resentment you feel.
After doing The Work, you may feel complete relief! If not, let’s go on to the next question.
2. Can I see how taking this too personally keeps me stuck in resentment?
I think of each of us as inhabiting a self-contained energy field. We operate it alone and influence it with our system of thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. Through understanding, we can recognize when something has triggered our ‘stuff,’ and we’ve decided to react personally.
So, stop and think, ‘Why am I taking this personally?‘ In a recent post on forgiveness, I discuss how one of Don Miguel Ruiz’s famous teachings is that nothing is personal.
People are who they are! Instead of attempting to control others, try focusing your energy on nurturing and raising your vibes.
Interesting side note – this is where the law of attraction comes in. Take a moment to note when others are kind, and bring warmth and happiness into your life. You notice that they are capable of love, and forgiveness.
It’s important to note – that’s just who they are. But congratulations! When this happens, know that you’ve attracted high-quality people because you’re a match to their vibration. This is a very good thing.
Still working through your feelings? Ask yourself this:
3. Can I find it in my heart to have compassion and even empathy while overcoming resentment for this person?
This one is HARD! I have often known and struggled with this step, especially when I feel I’ve been mistreated.
Try to see this person’s innocence. See them as having little awareness of how they impact others. Take the leap and open your heart – even if you don’t feel you can. You’ll be surprised at how you can actually feel love for others by trying to see them in a new way.
According to Jared Akers of Tiny Buddha, “Whether or not you believe in prayer, you can still set aside time during the day to think loving thoughts about someone you resent, wishing them good fortune and blessings.”
Also, the Course in Miracles states, “Love will immediately enter into any mind that truly wants it.” So decide to open up to the love and compassion within. Practice self-compassion too. It will soften your heart and free you to see things differently.
4. Ask yourself, ‘Am I ruminating?’ Take this opportunity to step out and beyond negative thinking.
Remember that everything is perfectly fine at this moment. When you stop focusing on your resentment to step outside of your inner turmoil, you realize how true this is.
In The New Earth, Eckhart Tolle describes how ducks sometimes quarrel in the water. But, immediately after, they swim away in opposite directions and shake it off. They don’t hold onto resentment. They’re modeling for us what it looks like to move forward in a healthy way.
Whenever you think about unforgiveness towards the person you resent, you’re lost in your thoughts. The negative emotions have taken over. Use this experience as a chance to get back into this moment! And to appreciate with gratitude all of the good within it.
5. How has my interaction with this person benefited me and pushed me to overcome negative, limiting thoughts?
There are many ways this person’s behavior has benefited you. Perhaps this person’s behavior has illuminated areas of your internal emotional landscape that need tending. Their behavior has revealed wounds inside of you that can finally be addressed.
In any case, there is a higher plan, and this person and experience are in your life for a reason. In every interaction, you have the chance to untangle your connection to the sadness you feel around them.
You have the opportunity to see the hurt and pain within and to transform it in a healthy and even miraculous way.
Extra thoughts on how to overcome resentment:
For additional help, try this cord-cutting meditation. I’ve used this many times when I need help working through resentment. What I appreciate about it is that the cords we have with others are real. This meditation encourages us to allow a power greater than ourselves to cut the cord, releasing us to feel free.
Our mental health is worth it!
Another amazing resource is this inner body meditation with Kim Eng. By connecting with our inner body, we can connect to pure life force energy within. This force opens us to deeper wisdom. We’re able to see the situation differently.
Lastly, consider this quote by Maya Angelou: “You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush.
I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.”
I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me!
Did you enjoy this story? Please send it to someone you know who needs help letting go of resentment.
Thank you for reading along!
Would you like to write a love letter for yourself? Learn how to do that here.
(This post was originally published on July 21, 2021, and has been updated for increased thoroughness and clarity.)