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7 Reasons Why You Should Let Go Of Resentments

7 Reasons Why You Should Let Go Of Resentments

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past — but you sure do change the future.” — Bernard Meltzer

If we are honest, don’t we all carry a grudge towards someone or something? A heavy heart, lost loved one, or a belief that we have been treated unfairly?

I know I do. But I rarely stop to think how these resentments are affecting me.

Resentments are like weeds in our gardens, they multiply, take over and ultimately suffocate all the flowers. Sometimes they can be a big, blow-the-lid-off-the-container kind of resentment, and other times they are a small, sweep-them-under-the-rug kind of feeling. But the problem is that even if we sweep them under the rug, like Captain Jack Sparrow, on a rainy day they pop up, ready to strike. Surprise! And no one likes unpleasant surprises, right?

So, let’s take a look at why we need to get rid of these pesky weeds!

1.  Resentments turn into anger

Anger is an ugly, clenched-fists, red-faced place, where no one wants to go. During the stage of retaliation, much like the Hulk, as much as you try to resist the urge to slam your opponent floor to ceiling, anger can make you feel like you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and unstoppable, powerful emotion.

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You might catch yourself saying, “I wasn’t in my right mind,” and this is a dangerous place for any of us to be.

The truth is, anger is not caused by outer circumstances, people or things. Anger is a state of mind, and therefore only you can make yourself angry. You have the power to control your state of mind.

2.  It’s bad for the body

Resentments can cause the following:

  • Headaches and chronic pain
  • Insomnia and a higher tendency for alcohol and drug abuse
  • High blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke
  • Skin problems

3.  It’s bad for the mind

The effects aren’t just limited to the physical: letting go of old grudges reduces levels of depression and anxiety.

Our minds are like a busy freeway. The non-stop chattering, bouncing, judging, thinking, worrying about the future and reliving the past are exhausting.

When you’re holding on to resentments, your mind is agitated; it is centered around the ego, reconfirming that you were treated unfairly.

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In this agitated state it is impossible for you to enjoy your life. Over-thinking manifests into a whole heap of problems. It can create unhealthy habits and leave us powerless against the devastating effects of poor mental health.

Forgiveness will bring you peace of mind.

4.  Resentments ruin relationships

Resentments left unattended can lead to bottled emotions and unhealthy outbursts.

You may hurt your loved ones with physical and/or verbal abuse and isolate yourself from friends and family. It can lead to venting at innocent parties such as your children, spouse or pet. This can lead to low self-esteem and manipulation in our relationships.

Remember, no one is perfect. We’re going to hurt other people and other people are going to hurt us: intentionally and unintentionally. Do you want to become a bitter, resentful, unpleasant person? Letting go of resentments will renew your relationships, you will become a breath of fresh air.

5.  Resentments subdue your instincts

We are all born with instincts to help us survive; animals know when to run from predators, baby kittens know how to nuzzle into their mothers, and we know when something just feels ‘off’.

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The problem with resentments is all the unhealthy thinking, replaying and blaming. These states of mind subdue the otherwise beeping red alarm that tells us when something is wrong. Instead of tuning into our natural feelings, we are too busy thinking. We think, and then we think, and then we think some more.

We are always thinking! Stop all the chatter and let’s tune in to our inner compass, it won’t lead you astray. Start following the flow of life that you were meant to.

6.  Resentments develop ignorance

Resentment arises from ignorance and from an unjustifiable sense of entitlement.

  • I have been treated unfairly.
  • I can’t believe he would say that to me. 
  • My husband never pays any attention to me.
  • Why would she get the promotion over me, I am a much better candidate.
  • It is unfair that my loved one was taken from me too soon.

And on and on.

If you check, any resentment is always in precious defense of the self.

Ignorance makes it impossible for us to see things clearly as they are. Ignorance is tuning out. Oftentimes, we are unaware that we are unaware. We project our assumptions, beliefs, hopes and fears and fuse them with reality. But it’s not reality, it is simply the way we have viewed a situation through our lens, and our lens can be discolored.

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With a mindfulness practice we can become more and more open to what is and we can accept what has happened without so much blame and victimizing. All this blame actually catapults us into more suffering.

7.  Forgiveness will enhance your life

When we skip from thought to thought in a foggy haze, these moments can end up filling up most of our lives.

The recognition that you can choose emotional well-being even when things don’t turn out the way you want, will change you, in spirit, mind and body. Dwelling on past injustices has no effect on the present other than causing you and your loved ones pain. Being angry will not bring back a lost loved one or mend your broken heart.

This may be difficult but you can still wish someone happiness, even if they hurt you.

Forgiveness can change your life. It doesn’t mean you have forgotten the past. It doesn’t mean you have to keep someone in your life. It just means that you have decided to move on and that you are ready to be happy.

Quick forgiveness tips:

  • Explore your emotions.
  • Seek professional help.
  • Develop empathy.
  • Forgiving is not forgetting.
  • Think about your family.
  • Rely on facts.
  • Write down three good things that came from the negative situation.
  • Acceptance, acceptance, acceptance. Let it go.
  • Live in the moment.
  • Take up a meditation practice.

Peaceful mind, peaceful life. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we want — it can be really tough. Sometimes we will be caught in violent storms, and these resentments will make us seasick. Accept the storm and you will find a life boat amidst even the strongest waves.

More by this author

Tina Williamson

Writer and creator of Mindfulmazing

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Last Updated on November 5, 2018

8 Powerful Reasons to Love Your Enemies

8 Powerful Reasons to Love Your Enemies

We’ve all got our enemies; people who take pleasure in causing us pain and misery. Sometimes, the development of an enemy is due to certain differences in your characters and events have led to that. Other times, some people end up hating you for apparently no reason at all.

Regardless of how you got this enemy, as opposed to the paradigm of fighting fire with fire, consider the following reasons and see why you should actually appreciate your enemies. This article will show you not only how to not be bothered by your enemies, but how to actually foster love for them.

Read on to learn the secret.

1. It’s a practical lesson in anger management

To be honest, your enemies are the best people to help you understand your sense of anger management. When it might be true that your enemies have a way of bringing out the worst in you as regards anger, it is also true that they can help you in your quest to have that anger managed. You can’t get truly angry at someone you love and it is only in that time when you get truly annoyed that you learn how to manage it.

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Anger management is more effective when it is in practice and not in theory

Your enemies are like the therapists who you need, but actually don’t want. Inasmuch as you might want to hate them, they provide you an opportunity to control the anger impulse that you have.

2. It’s an opportunity for healthy competition

You might not know it, but your enemies make for great rivals as they help harness the competitor in you (sometimes, you might not even know or bee conversant with this competitive side until you come across an adversary). You get the right motivation to compete and this can go a long way to spur you to victory.

However, while doing so, it is also essential that you remember not to become a worse version of yourself while competing. Working against an adversary is tricky, and you need to ensure that you don’t cause harm to yourself or your morals in the process. Healthy competition is all you need to get out of this.

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3. Their negative comments can help you make a breakthrough

It is true that your enemies never really have much good to say about you. However, in as much as they might be talking out of a place of hate, there might be some truth to what they’re saying.

To wit, whenever you hear something mean or nasty from an enemy, you might want to take a step back and evaluate yourself. There is a chance that what this enemy is saying is true and coming to face that fact is a major step in helping you to become a better person overall. This is another testament to the fact that enemies can be therapists in their own way.

4. Enemies can also be powerful allies

Loving your enemies can also mean making an effort to interact and make peace with them. In the end, if you are able to establish some common ground and patch things up, you’ll have succeeded in making another friend. And who doesn’t need friends?

This can also help you in working with people in the long run. You get to hone your inter-personal skills, and that can be a big plus to your ledger.

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5. It gives you the ability to realize positivity

In a multitude of negativity, a speck of positivity always seems to find its way through.

Sometimes, a knowledge of the fact that you have enemies will also help you to focus on the many positives and good things that are in your life. A lot of times, we neglect what really matters in life. This can be due to being overly concerned with the enemies we have.

However, it is also possible for this acknowledgement to spur you to take a step back and appreciate the goo things (and people who surround you).

6. There might just be a misunderstanding

Sometimes, the reason why you have an enemy might be something very innocuous. You might not have known the cause of this fractured relationship and your enemy will help complete the picture.

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Simply approaching them will help you to understand the reason for the fracture. This, in turn, can help you to work towards healing your relationship moving forward. Misunderstandings happen, and you need to be able to work around them.

7. You learn to appreciate love as well

A constant reminder of the fact that there are enemies will also help you not to take those who love you for granted. Love and hate are two opposing emotions and it is possible for one to momentarily overshadow the other.

However, while you’ll always have enemies, there will also always be people who love you. These people need to be appreciated for what they do for you. Never let the hate projected to you from your enemies take the place of that.

8. Do you really need the hate?

The truth is that enemies bring only toxic emotions and generate bad reactions from you. If you’re truly to live a prosperous life, you can’t really be carrying all this baggage around.

Hate is bad and you should try all you can to get rid of it. It is a well-known fact that nobody can get really far in life while carrying a lot of emotional baggage. Well, hate is the biggest form of emotional baggage there is.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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