“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.Advertising
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.Advertising
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’.Advertising
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.Advertising
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.
Last Updated on January 15, 2019
What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships
When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.
Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.
It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.
While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.
Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.
What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.
Table of Contents
How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships
It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.
People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:
“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”
In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.
Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.
As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.
When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?
It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.
What are Interpersonal Skills?
Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.
In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.
From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.
For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.
Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.
How to Improve Interpersonal Skills
There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important
Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master
I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.
Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,
“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”
Don’t overlook introspection.
While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.
Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:
When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.
Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,
“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”
The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.
The Bottom Line
You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.
Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com