Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else: you are the one who gets burned.Buddha
It would be a nearly impossible feat to go through life without experiencing some kind of unjust action/behaviors towards you.
When someone infringes on one of your rights, or angers and irritates your constantly, you’re more than likely experiencing a core group of emotions as a response: resentment.
Resentment is that special way you feel when you can’t seem to let something go and you think about it far too often. All the while, you feel a mixed bag of emotions – specifically: anger, shame, and guilt, with a sprinkling of loss.
Holding onto feelings like resentment doesn’t affect just your mental health (loneliness, isolation, depression, anxiety), it also affects your physical health.
Resentment leads to increased stress hormones like cortisol, while it reduces the amount of oxytocin produced and present in your body.
Many times, resentment and anger can stem from our personal relationships at home, or even at work. Frustrations with a colleague who steals all your hard work/credit or frustrations with your partner who never seems to take care of the kids can lead to feelings of unresolved conflict.
For the most part, we all deal with conflict in different ways, but we can distinguish four main categories of how we resolve conflict.
There are four styles of conflict resolution:
If you deal with conflict by methods 3, or 4, you most likely have pursed-lips (wrinkles around your lips, top or bottom) or the dreaded 11’s between your brows.
Being over-nurturing and/or harboring bitterness leads to wrinkles lining the outside of your lips; or you may have parallel-vertical lines between your eyebrows, indicating irritation and annoyance.
If you want to reverse these lines, or simply want to feel better, let go, and move on, here are three quick-and-dirty ways to finally be free.
How to forgive and let go of resentment.
- Ask for guidance. Ask your unconscious mind or your spirit-guides to help you out: ask to notice one particular, specific person today, with the goal of learning something about the situation that will help you to finally let go. A few months ago, I asked the Universe to help me see what I needed to learn to forgive a friend who wasn’t responsive to my needs. A few hours later in one of my meditations, I saw a little boy cowering in the corner of a room, desperately holding on to something with so much fear of losing it. I learned that my friend was afraid of losing something in order to tend to me. Immediately, resentment disappeared. Which leads to me #2…
- See the whole picture. If it’s true that we are each doing the best we can, with what we have, at every moment, then the actions of another (whether that’s a trespass or infringement) is never about you. It’s about them. They’re doing the best they can, with the resources available to them. Maybe your co-worker, Jane, hasn’t yet developed the emotional muscle of calming down before approaching others at work (or at home). She simply doesn’t have it in her resources to speak in the way that feels appropriate to you. Or perhaps your partner is on the couch watching another episode of Friends because she’s had an extremely long day at work. We’re all doing the best we can, with what we have. It doesn’t mean you condone behavior that is disrespectful, dangerous, or hurtful. It means you let it go out of your life (whether physically or metaphorically speaking) so that you can move on.
- Focus on passionate improvements. It’s okay to feel hurt, shame, guilt or regret. When they come up, notice the feelings and associated thoughts as if you were watching them on the big screen. See if there’s something more you’d like to learn at the moment about the situation (are there other details you’d like to see?), and watch the thoughts disappear from the screen. Allow them to move through, and once they do, it’s time to focus on you. What makes you happy? What excites you? Expand your learnings, experiences, and feelings – all by doing one thing that increases your life. For example, play music, listen to another podcast or youtube clip on all things magical, and laugh.
Your challenge today: who do you choose to let go, because you deserve to be free? Which of the above three steps do you take next?
Live with intention. Lead with inspiration.