Let Go of Resentment: Get Back Your Future!

You can let go of resentment by changing your assessment of it

An emotion is a felt response to an external stimulus.  It is a short term response because another emotion eventually replaces it.

At first you might feel angry because you walked into a post while texting on your smart phone. 

Later, after reflecting upon what happened, you might laugh when asking yourself how you could be so stupid.

Your anger is replaced by joy or surprise.  So is your interpretation about what happened.

Emotions and Moods

Moods are different than emotions.   A mood is already present within us before we walk into a post, start a conversation, walk into a room, or sit down at a meeting. 

Moods are long term emotions that we have hung onto and stored in our lives long after the event that precipitated them has passed.

Also, moods incline us to behave in some ways and not in other ways.  If I am in a mood of sadness, I am not inclined to start dancing.  And if I am in a mood of peace, I am disinclined to scream at someone.

The Mood of Resentment

Resentment is a mood that first begins as a feeling of anger when something we value is threatened or taken away from us.  We are angry because

  • our spouse walked out
  • we were injured in an accident
  • we lost our job
  • our business went bankrupt
  • someone else got the promotion

Moreover, we believe we are innocent victims of an injustice. Until someone steps forward and pays us for what we are owed, or history reverses what happened, we will not let go of our anger.  If we did, it would mean we approve of what happened.

Other emotions come and go as the days and weeks pass, but our anger over what happened stays with us. The longer we hang onto it, the more likely we will eventually slide into a mood of resentment.

Why let go of Resentment?

Living in a mood of resentment keeps us locked in the past, severely restricting our future.

It limits what we will see or hear, how we will interact with others, what kind of relationships we will form, what new actions we will take, and, ultimately, what kind of results we will produce.

Moods are directly connected to our internal conversations.  The convictions or assessments underlying our resentment are language actions which generate our emotions and dictate our behavior.

Ways to let go of Resentment

To escape moods that work against our best interests, we need to use the power of language to create conversations that transform the way we interpret events and feel about them.

In particular, we need to challenge our conviction that accepting what happened is the same as approving of it.  It’s not.

Accepting what happened means you can point to a specific date and say “This is what happened on this day.”   I stubbed my toe.  My spouse walked out on me.  They found a tumor on my brain.  I don’t like or approve of what happened and never will, but I accept the fact that it happened.

Next, ask yourself what you intend to do about “what happened.”  Will you sulk for the rest of your life?  Will you withdraw, quit, or plot revenge?

If you do, how will doing that enable you to develop more of your personal potential, strengthen or repair important relationships, or design the rest of your life?

If it doesn’t why would you do it?

Finally, plan specific activities you can practice to change your mood. 

  • Listen to music that inspires you. 
  • Take up physical exercise. 
  • Associate with positive people; avoid negative ones
  • Ask yourself daily what you learned from what happened to you that made you a stronger, more responsible human being.

 Or, hire a coach who can help you move forward with your life.

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