Some of our deepest suffering comes from resentment.
You might be holding a grudge against someone for hurting you, betraying you, disrespecting you or causing you pain in some manner. Sometimes the grudge is towards your own self for not being able to live up to expectations or having done something that you regret.
The root cause of resentment is suppressed or unexpressed feelings of hurt.
These feelings keep coming up over and over again and you keep suppressing them, not wanting to face them, keeping the cycle alive. The negative energy generated by these past grudges and spites ultimately eats into your physical and mental health. It clogs your thinking and takes away your peace.
It’s important to get past resentment to live more lightly because it is a huge burden to carry around.
Here are some powerful techniques on how you can achieve that:
1.) Consciously feel the energy behind the hurt
Ask yourself this question, ‘do I have unexpressed feelings inside me?’ You probably answered ‘Yes’.
Unexpressed energy builds up in your body as resentment and it is important that you release this energy on a regular basis. The best way to do this is to feel this energy fully.
You can achieve this using the following technique:
Whenever you have the time, sit down (in a quite environment) and consciously feel the energy behind the grudges you hold.
Think of a thought or a person who caused you hurt. Now focus your attention, not on the thought, but on how this thought makes you feel. In other words, feel the energy behind the thought.
As you feel the energies, they begin to dissipate and leave you. They will no longer have the same control over your mind as they used to.
Do this whenever you feel the thoughts of resentment draining you. Over a few days of doing this, you will feel much lighter.
Remember the keyword here is to ‘Feel consciously’. Don’t engage in the thoughts, rather feel the energy in your body that these thoughts generate.
2.) Divert your attention to something creative
“Where attention goes, energy flows.”
Resentment takes up a lot of your energy. You feel drained. And because you feel drained, you lack energy to engage in other creative pursuits.
Why waste all this precious energy on something that is done and over with?
Instead, divert your attention and energy to something creative – invest in a new skill or a hobby, organize something, take up travel, meet new people or start with something small, like exercising, doing yoga, writing a journal entry or tending to your garden.
Pour your energy in doing creative things and you will no longer be controlled by thoughts of hurt.
3.) Write down your feelings (Self reflection)
Writing can he highly therapeutic as it helps you express your feelings into words.
Buy a journal or a notebook and write down your thoughts and how these thoughts make you feel. You will immediately feel a sense of lightness.
Turn this into a daily or weekly habit.
4.) Forgive yourself and the other
“Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.” –
There is a Buddhist saying that goes something like this, “The one who angers you, controls you.”
And how true this saying is.
When you hold a grudge against someone, you are wasting away your precious energy by investing in negative thoughts.
If you are in the habit of beating yourself up then you need to consciously work on overcoming this habit. You did the best you could given your circumstances, so you are not at fault. Forgive yourself and accept yourself completely.
Similarly, the way the other person acted is not his/her fault either. He/she behaved this way based on his/her limited intellect, insecurities, ideas and perceptions. Look at this person as a robot controlled by his mind and beliefs. Would you hold a grudge against a robot? Probably not.
It’s perfectly okay to not like that person, but you need not hold a grudge against him/her.
5.) Practice mindfulness
We are habituated to living in the past or the future. Mindfulness helps you anchor your thoughts to the present moment.
The more your practice mindfulness, the less the thoughts of the past will grip your attention. This won’t be easy in the beginning, but as you practice this on a regular basis, you will start to develop good control over your thoughts, instead of your thoughts controlling you.
Meditation is a great mindfulness technique too. For a few minutes everyday, focus all your attention on your breath. Feel the air hitting the tip of your nostrils and the hot air coming out. Doing this will help you gain better control over your mind and your thoughts.
The more control you have, the better you will be in a position to divert your attention to creative thoughts than thoughts of resentment.
6.) Look at the bitter experience as an opportunity to grow
“Past is experience, Present is experiment and future is expectation. Use your experience in your experiments to achieve your expectations” –
Every experience in life has something to teach us. It has a hidden growth aspect.
Use what happened as a learning experience. Realize that it actually helped you grow and become a better person. It taught you valuable lessons in life. It helped you learn more about others and about yourself. And in that sense, it was actually a useful experience.
Take all the important lessons and discard the rest.
When you look at an experience in this way, it loses its power over you.
7.) Avoid suppressing mechanisms
Some of us try to suppress feelings of hurt by indulging in substance abuse, alcohol or even over-eating.
Of course alcohol can help slow down the thinking mind and that can be a relief. But the unconsciousness generated by alcohol can deepen our vulnerability to pain and make us feel even more victimized.
When you are drunk you will feel even more pain than when you were conscious, until you reach unconsciousness or stupor.
Deep hurts are like deep cut wounds; they take time to heal and using some of these techniques can speed up the healing process. Instead of being one with the hurt, you look at the hurt for what it is and then let it go. Dropping resentment in this way makes you feel lighter and clears your mind to take positive action to improve your life, attract better people and circumstances.