Letting Go of Resentment

How to REALLY Let Go of a Resentment
LIFESTYLE BY JESSICA RUANE

Ask yourself honestly, “When was the last time I truly felt overwhelmed with happiness, freedom, and gratitude?” If you can’t remember, then you may be holding on to resentments.

When it comes to dealing with other people, many of us find ourselves helplessly oscillating between anger and fear. We constantly try to find quick fixes to soothe moments of blind rage and alleviate anxious thoughts. However, these “solutions” are usually nothing more than temporary fixes, which allow us to white knuckle it through one more day. Meanwhile, the root of the problem continues to fester and get worse until we can’t even bear to look at it anymore.

But what if you found out that there is a permanent, lasting way to feel less angry and fearful and finally regain control of your emotions?

It’s called letting go of resentment.

Here’s how it works: resentment, anger, and fear are all connected. We become trapped in a self-obsessed cycle of being afraid of the future, angry in the present, and filled with resentment over our past. The antidote to fear is faith, the remedy for anger is love, and the solution to resentment is acceptance.

If you’re part of a 12-step program, this may sound familiar, but it can be applied to anyone’s life.

What is Resentment?

The best description of resentment I have ever heard came from listening to Dr. Drew from Loveline.

“Resentments are like swallowing poison and expecting the other people to die.”

He was not the first person to say this, but it’s still an incredibly effective way to understand resentment.

In psychology, resentment is when a person has ongoing upset feelings towards another person or place because of a real or imagined injustice.

One of the reasons resentments are so hard to get rid of is because there is so much bad advice floating around out there on how to deal with them. Exasperated friends may tell you to “Just get over it already.” Therapists might tell us to “let it go.” Other people may say “forget about it” or the even more unhelpful, “the past is the past.” Excuse me, what does any of that generic advice even mean?

I can tell you for sure that you shouldn’t do the following with resentments:

Ignore them
Fight through them
“Lock them in a closet”
Pretend you don’t feel them
Try and forget them
Instead, you should do these things:

Face them
Feel them
Deal with them
Heal from them
“Fake it till you make it” doesn’t work when it comes to deep-seated feelings we have about certain people or situations. But dealing with them is certainly easier said than done.

How Do You Accept What Happened in the Past?

Before you begin to overcome resentments, you should know the following things:

It’s a process
It may get worse before it gets better
It requires a great deal of willingness and an open mind
Resentments are negative feelings that you may have been carrying around for years. During this time, they may have done significant damage to your ability to interact with the world. I know it sounds dramatic, but these are often big, deep-seated issues. Don’t expect to be able to say a chant and—poof! They’re gone. You should know that you are embarking on a long and probably painful journey, but the destination is completely worth it.

OK, here it goes.

Follow These 4 Steps to Let Go of Resentments

Step One- Make a list of all the people you have resentments towards. If you do this honestly, then the list should be pretty long. Include ANYTHING that gives you an automatic negative feeling. You can also include places and institutions (a school you attended, an airport you had a bad experience in) nothing is too trivial or too small.

Step Two- Next to the person’s name; write what they did to cause you to resent them. Again, nothing is too small. If you resent your boss, it may be because that person gives you unreasonable deadlines, or could simply be because you don’t like their hair. The reason for the resentment doesn’t have to “make sense”—it just has to be honest. This is where it will get hard, and you will feel worse than you did before starting. Try to have faith that the end result will be worth it—because it will be!

Step Three- Now you write what part of your life each resentment affects. If you resent an old teacher who made you feel inferior, you might say that it affects your self-esteem or confidence. The point is to become acutely aware of the specific ways that the resentment is impacting your identity, and your ability to feel safe, secure, and loved.

Step Four- Next to the reason, or cause for resentment, you are going to write down your part. This is how YOU have contributed to the problem. Back to our boss example, at this point you’ve established that you resent your boss, that you resent your boss because of unreasonable deadlines. Your part in this problem could be that you never spoke up and asked for less work.

This is where honesty and willingness come in. You must be honest about your part, and willing to admit it. Otherwise, you may get stuck.

Taking It All in

Now, read from left to right. You should be able to develop a clear picture of who you resent, why you resent them, the negative ways that it affects your life, and the part you played in all of it. Understanding your resentments by breaking them down will hopefully start the process of evolving from a person who constantly lives in a generalized cycle of resentment, fear, and anger, and help you transition into someone who can identify the source of their feelings and target specific areas they want to work on.

The purpose of this writing assignment is to experience freedom by letting go of secrets, fears, and lies which we have been holding onto, and getting these issues out of our heads, and onto paper. What is done with the paper afterwards is up to you. Some people choose to share it with a trusted friend; others burn it as a symbolic gesture of surrendering those feelings.

This is a tried and true method adapted from the 12-step program model, which literally ANYONE can do. Unlike expensive therapy, this will cost you nothing, other than the price of a pen and paper. What do you have to lose?

SEE ALSO: 10 Ways We Hurt Our Romantic Relationships

Featured photo credit: this is an image about letting go via Shutterstock
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Making the Big Decisions

Divine Direction: Bringing God into Your Big Decisions
By Pam Palagyi

Divine Direction

Wisdom might be defined today as “knowledge, the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships, insight, and judgment.” Biblical wisdom, however, was described by the Hebrew word chakmah. It was more than common sense and was characterized by skill and craftsmanship, cleverness and cunning, and prudence in everyday matters. Wisdom graced the lives of many biblical figures—Daniel, Ezra, Joshua—and brought them great success.

How do you find wisdom today? Where do you go to have your problems solved and questions answered? The answer is to go to the source of all wisdom, God Himself. He is the one who created you—He has placed His gifts and callings within you and understands their worth. Certainly, He is a good steward of His gifts and will develop them to their maturity.

God is also the one who understands your past and future—He has intrinsic knowledge of your weaknesses and strengths. The Lord will protect you, yet challenge you to grow in your Christian walk.

Finally, God will lead you along a path that will fulfill His plans for your life. He is the one who knows the direction you are to follow and will lead accordingly.

So, how do you begin? Here are five basic steps for receiving wisdom from God.

1. Acknowledge that God has the answer. God is the source of wisdom for all things. Realize that He not only has the answer, He is the answer. Proverbs 2:6 and 9 states, “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding… Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.”

2. Pray and ask for God’s wisdom. How can you be sure God will answer when you ask Him? James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” So simply ask for
God’s help and then…

3. Believe He will guide you. Faith is an important component to accepting God’s wisdom. You must recognize the fact that God wants to communicate with you. Proverbs 4:18 says, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” God’s direction in your decision will become clearer and more distinct as you continue to pray and ask for His help.

4. Get in motion. You have probably heard the saying “It is hard to steer a parked car.” Begin to do your part and research your vocational options. Travel with your family and investigate the prospective area first hand. Explore the housing market, recreational opportunities, and cost of living. Your move could be a blessing in disguise, allowing your family greater financial freedom.

5. Check your decision against God’s Word. James 3:15-17 provides the characteristics of true godly wisdom: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Have the courage to ask yourself whether your choice meets these qualifications for God’s wisdom, or whether there are still any outside influences directing your path.

If you sense any anxiety or confusion, keep praying. God’s wisdom will direct your paths in a peaceful manner.

God is the source of all wisdom. Only He views your life from an eternal and comprehensive perspective. Allow Him to become part of your decision–making process and guarantee yourself a lifetime of success.

About Pam Palagyi
A gifted writer and speaker, Pam is founder and director of Arise Ministries, which draws its vision from Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” The goal of Arise Ministries is to awaken the hidden potential of believers in their individual spheres of influence so that they can truly shine for Christ.

Pam earned her Master of Divinity in Practical Theology from Regent University. Pam is a contributor to Life in the Spirit and In Touch magazine. She is also author of Altar of Grace: Introduction to Practical Ministry and The Word Became Flesh: Studies in the Gospel of John. Pam and her husband, Paul, have been married 30 years and have two adult daughters, Lisa and Laurie.

Truth that isn’t funny

Thought provokingby pray2christ

I received the following forward. A very thought provoking one. Read on:

* Funny how a $500 note looks so big when you take it to church, but so small, when you take it to the market.

* Funny how long it takes to serve God for an hour, but how quickly a team plays 60 minutes of basketball.

* Funny how long a couple of hours are spent at church, but how short they are when watching a movie.

* Funny how we can’t think of anything to say when we pray, but don’t have any difficulty thinking of things to talk about to a friend.

* Funny how we get thrilled when a football match goes into extra time, but we complain when a sermon is longer than the regular time.

* Funny how hard it is to read a chapter in the Bible, but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a best-selling novel.

* Funny how people want to get a front seat at any game or concert, but scramble to get a back seat at church services.

* Funny how we need 2 or 3 weeks advance notice to fit a church event into our schedule, but we can adjust our schedule for other events at the last minute.

* Funny how much difficulty some people have learning  a simple Gospel well enough to tell others, but how simple it is for the same people to understand and repeat gossip about someone.

* Funny how we believe what newspaper says, but question what the Bible says.

* Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven, provided they don’t have to believe or to think or to say or to do anything.

* Funny how simple it is to for people to trash God & then wonder why the world’s going to hell.

* Funny how someone can say, ” I believe in God ” but still follow Satan who, by the way, also ” believes ” in God.

* Funny how we are quick to judge, but not be judged.

* Funny how you can send a thousand ” jokes ” through e-mail & they spread like wild fire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

* Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar & obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of God is suppressed in the school & workplace.

* Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week.

* Funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me.