If you’re not careful, resentment can build in any relationship. Over time, resentment can grow and lead to bitterness which makes it impossible to maintain a healthy relationship. Practice strategies that will allow you to prevent and release resentment before it builds up. Here are 8 ways to release and prevent resentment in any relationship.

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings, Even if They’re Negative

Feelings aren’t bad, even if they’re negative. What you choose to do with those feelings is what makes the difference. It’s normal to feel angry, disappointed, embarrassed, and hurt.

When you experience painful emotions, label them and acknowledge them. Trying to ignore them or stuff them won’t make them go away. Instead, they can build up over time and lead to resentment.

2. Speak Up When Your Feelings are Hurt

When someone hurts your feelings or has unrealistic expectations for you, be willing to speak up. Holding in small hurts over time and can cause anger and resentment to build. Wait until your calm and use “I” messages to express your feelings.

3. Create a List of Reasons Why Holding a Grudge Won’t Help

Holding onto a grudge about something in the past is likely to hurt you more than the other person. If you harbor anger, resentment, and even hatred toward someone else, it can impact other areas of your life negatively.

Create a list of the reasons why holding a grudge isn’t helpful. Seeing it on paper can help you see the ways that harboring resentment can impact your life.

4. Create a List of Reasons Why Forgiveness Can be Helpful

Be willing to consider forgiveness. Forgiving doesn’t mean you need to excuse the other person’s behavior or that you’ll forget what happened. However, it can be about letting go of all those feelings that you are holding on to.

Create a list of the reasons why forgiveness could be helpful to your life. Look at what positive things could happen if you let go of those negative emotions that have been building up.

5. Avoid Complaining to Other People

If you’re feeling angry with someone, avoid talking to everyone else about it. Sharing your anger with others over and over again is likely to fuel your anger and frustration. Don’t get others involved or expect others to take sides. Instead, talk directly with the person that you’re angry with to address the problem in a direct manner.

6. Try to Look at the Issue from the Other Person’s Point of View

Try to establish some empathy for the other person. Imagine what that person might have been thinking and feeling when your feelings were hurt.

Looking at the situation from the other person’s point of view can help you develop compassion. Don’t assume the other person had evil intentions but instead, recognize that the person could have had good intentions.

7. Accept that People Aren’t Perfect

Prevent resentment by accepting that no one is perfect. People who care about you and love you will hurt your feelings sometimes. Other people can’t meet your needs all the time.

It’s unrealistic to expect that people will always behave in a way that is pleasing to you. Everyone makes choices in life and there will be times when you don’t like the choices someone else makes.

8. Say No When You Don’t Want to Do Something

If you behave like a martyr by always saying yes to everything, you’ll likely feel taken advantage of quickly. Saying no to things you don’t want to do is one of the best ways to prevent resentment.

Whether you say no to your sister asking you to babysit or you decline an invitation to dinner from a friend, if you don’t want to do it and you can’t do it with a cheerful attitude, consider saying no.

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Featured photo credit: Happy Couple in Love via Shutterstock

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