Resentment may feel involuntary, however, the truth is it is a choice, and there is a way to let it go. Feeling resentful has a powerful effect on your physical, emotional and mental health. The effects of resentment are also negative to all other areas of your life. Feelings of resentment affect the choices and decisions you make, the actions you take, the way you communicate with others.
Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease, and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.
So how do you let go of that resentment? Write down who or what you are resentful towards. Then go through and write down what you’re angry about, how does the resentment affect you and those around you, what does it do for you, and then write down what part you played in it.
Here’s an example from my own list (I may regret this later!):
I am resentful at: Sarah (not her real name)
The reason: She did not call when she said she would.
What does the resentment do to me? It makes me feel as though my friends are abandoning me.
What does holding on to it do for me? It helps me feel better than her. “Can you believe she did something like that? I would never do something like that.” (Oh, and that makes me a liar as well!)
My part in the situation: I pressured her into saying she would call when I knew she is very busy with volunteer work and a family.
Some of the most important steps on the road to forgiveness are:
Acknowledge your true feelings
Recognize the cost of the resentment
Focus on the payoff of forgiving
and realizing that you had a part to play in the situation.
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