I’ve heard it said that resentment is like giving yourself poison, expecting to kill your enemy. I like this analogy, as it really does sum up the effect of resentment on your mind, your nervous system and even your loved ones who may be in the line of fire of your resentment and anger meant for someone else.
Logically, most of us know that stewing over a past injustice is a waste of time. We are told “move on” and “get over it.” Even though the logical brain may know that we should let go of old slights and betrayals, letting go emotionally is a different story.
Letting go of resentment is usually not a one-shot deal, but by taking “resentment breaks” you will begin to retrain your mind and body to focus on the good in your life, creating a sense of release and well-being.
Here’s today’s letting go exercise: Let go of resentment
1. Your centering exercise will depend on how fresh the resentment is. If you are burning up with anger, go for a brisk walk or practice some vigorous yoga – just make sure to bring your mind back to your breath over and over. Do not dwell on the object of your resentment. This will only reinforce the neuropathways in your brain dedicated to this resentment. If this is difficult, tell yourself you are taking a twenty minute break from thinking about the situation. It will be there when you return if you want to go back to it.
2. After centering, think of a resentment of the distant past – something that no longer bothers you. Can you see that holding on to this resentment may have been a waste of your time?
3. Now come back to your present resentment. You have two choices here. Again, if the resentment is fairly fresh, practice self-compassion. Don’t try to force forgiveness or resolution if it feels unnatural. Rather focus on your own healing. Read about loving kindness and self-compassion exercises here. Incorporate them in to your life for the next month.
Don’t try to force forgiveness or resolution if it feels unnatural. Rather, focus on your own healing.
4. If the time feels right and you have enough distance from the object of your resentment, extend loving kindness and self-compassion to loved ones, neutral parties, and only if you are ready, to the person or situation that you feel resentful toward. Forgiveness is not a one-shot deal, but practicing moments of forgiveness will give you more freedom and well-being. By taking resentment breaks, you will begin to retrain your mind and body to focus on the good in your life.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!
Books and CDs to help you break free from resentment….