Resentments are such a major problem in American society today. We can so easily hold onto (even temporarily) hurts and offenses. We hold onto even imagined offenses. The person doing so rehearses over and over and over what happened; and, what was said. You may have heard before: holding onto a grudge, or bitterness, is like swallowing poison, and waiting for the other person to get sick.
[picture from pixabay.com]
Living in such ongoing resentments is really damaging to relationships, especially marriage; but also work, pastime, and roommate relationships. Anywhere people interact all that much, over longer periods of time.
So, what to do about it. It's a really tough problem to struggle with, I can tell you. Healing from living that way can be about as much fun as starting working out at the gym, if one never has their whole life! It is such a change in course, turning 180 degrees. One probably needs to see the false reality, the false sense of power over others, that living in resentment causes.
I think we can see that it's not how our Creator designed us to live, not at all. We can learn to live in receiving and giving love. And love really is a choice too, not an emotion. I think forgiving peers, for instance, is an important trait for parents to instill into their kids.
A few keys that I think are very helpful, from an article I'm now reading, are “Examine how your resentment may come from mentally confusing people in your present life with people from your past.” and “Acknowledge your part in allowing the abuse to occur, forgive yourself for that, and make a decision to not let it occur again.”[i]
Try this simple 4-part process (explained by Jessica Ruane, in her article). Charting out Who has hurt you; what they did that caused resentment; The Damage you believe was done, and Your Part in it—this can help you to see and SOLVE this destructive pattern. I myself have used this in a 12-step group I used to belong to.[ii]
I can't tell you how freeing it is to be more healed from this highly-damaging problem. Don’t forget to reference our book , 360° Wholeness-Mind, Body, Spirit [iii], for further insights into the benefits of forgiveness and other tools needed to recover from toxic emotions.
[i] Sichel, Mark L.C.S.W. (2011, March 3). 10 Steps to Letting Go of Resentment. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-therapist-is-in/201103/10-steps-letting-go-resentment.
[ii] Ruane, Jessica. (nd). How to REALLY Let Go of a Resentment. Lifehack. Retrieved from http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-to-let-go-of-a-resentment.html.
[iii] Thompson, Karen and Kenneth (2014) 360° Wholeness -Mind, Body, Spirit