Why is it so hard to forgive? How do you get rid of resentment? You’ve tried 139 different practices and watched 523 video tutorials. Nothing happened! There is no use telling yourself, “I have to let it go and forget it,” resentment still gnaws at you. Why?
There is a short answer to this question, but it will be better if you realize it yourself. So, here is a story :).
Once upon a time there lived Johnny Not-a-Fool. He bought some land, ploughed it and sowed it. Then he waited for the harvest, but nothing doing. The earth dried up and cracked; his seedlings wilted.
Not right away but eventually, Johnny realized that it was the river’s fault that the water did not make it to the field. It turned out that in high water a lot of branches, logs and trash got into the stream and blocked it.
Even though Johnny was Not-a-Fool, he did not know how to deal with the problem. Smart Alec gave him a piece of advice willingly, “Why don’t you solve the problem radically – use dynamite!” It was very loud, but not at all effective. The neighbors complained and the police were not happy with Johnny either.
Someone else, who was more cautious and thoughtful suggested, “Why not start pulling them out from the very bottom. It’ll be thorough and sure.”
Johnny did not even bother trying. How many years would it take to get all the logs from the bottom? And it won’t necessarily help either.
He gave up on the advice and went to pull up the dam. He took one log off the top at a time and dropped them in the water one by one so they were carried away by the stream. It was the least effort and he didn’t need of any special equipment.
The message: don’t make it too difficult! The best solution is usually right on top.
Where does resentment come from?
What, in fact, is resentment? It is blocked up anger. It’s as if a fist were stopped halfway there. And that, when the offender definitely deserves to be knocked out. But you have controlled yourself – a bad habit, left over from your childhood.
It may be that when you were little and were angry with your parents, for example, your aggression was harshly curtailed,
“A good girl doesn’t do that. And bad girls are punished!”
“What, you don’t love Mummy? Then we don’t love you either! We’ll give you up to some foster family and you can try doing what you like there.”
The only thing that you remembered back then is that being angry is dangerous. If you attack your parents either you will be badly punished or they will get rid of you altogether and you will be lost without them. So you stopped your anger every time, without letting it out. You suppressed it inside of you.
Right now you’re an adult. Yet, instead of responding in kind you still feel resentment and crawl away. Even though, normal reaction to an attack includes fear, anger and corresponding action.
What does Google suggest?
Method No. 1 – the radical one. If you ask how to get rid of resentment, Google will suggest at least 6 effective methods, 3 secret techniques, a unique practice by a mega-guru, etc. …
That said, they offer to get rid of all resentment and, here’s the key attraction, FOREVER. Isn’t that just like dynamite for a dam? Yes, it works. First it gives you a pleasant relief, in a day – some doubts, “What, is it really that easy?” In a week you unnoticeably slide back into your regular, habitual “resentful” behavior.
All, because getting rid of resentment using only the techniques is like making an apple tree out of a birch by cutting it down to shape.
Method No. 2 – logs from the bottom. It has become fashionable nowadays to dig through childhood and teenage traumas. And yes, such approach is justified. This is due to the fact that it is the childhood traumas that set the basis for behavior, temperament and attitude to the world. But you should approach it intelligently and carefully, otherwise you are running a great risk:
- First of all, you may drown in the sea of sad memories. Then you will have no energy left for changing anything in your present;
- Secondly, there is a chance that you may get “hooked” on the coach as if they were a drug. Because there is no end to this soul-searching and the coach gives you a feeling of relief and “hope for a better future.”
So, how do you really deal with resentment?
To begin with, stop driveling. You live through feelings and emotions instantly. Stop artificially holding onto, chewing on and spinning out your resentment over and over like a bad movie.
It’s very simple. Emotions are an indicator light of sorts. Picture to yourself: you’re driving a car and your gas light comes on. What happens? Do you start whining and complaining about it or get off at the first exit for a gas station?
Our emotions are just like the indicator lights in a car:
- The “green” means that everything is working. Life brings us joy :);
- The “red” one is for alarm, when something is wrong.
What is the right reaction to a red light? Figure out what’s wrong and fix it. If you’re feeling rage, anger or fear it means that someone has violated your boundaries. In other words someone is trying to cause you harm directly or indirectly. That person is an offender.
How do you deal with offenders?
Any living being that is attacked has three biological reactions to choose from:
1. Run away if the opponent is stronger and messing with them won’t get you anywhere. If you don’t like running you have to become larger and stronger.
2. Play dead or simply ignore the attacks. The ignore tactics can be adapted both by the strong, who don’t want to deal with small fry, and by the weak when it’s too late to run or there is no place to run to :).
3. “Finish off” the offender in such a way that they never dare attack again. Here, though, you have to carefully estimate your chances of winning.
Reaction may be different in each and every case. The important thing is to make sure that you really are being attacked. Then you can choose your actions and have no more need to re-live negative emotions.
How can you change your habitual behavior?
We are used to following the same strategy time and again: we are resentful and then we run our complaints through our head, re-tell them, complain about life and feel sorry for ourselves. Do you want to get rid of resentfulness? Change your behavior:
First of all, admit that resentment is an infantile reaction, that you are afraid to act and therefore prefer to crawl away into a corner and whine there quietly.
Secondly, allow yourself to feel rage, anger, fury. If you have been attacked, you have the right to these emotions.
Thirdly, analyze the situation and consciously choose a rational way to act.
Remind yourself often: an adult does not feel resentful! An adult will either “go for the gun” and deal with the offender or will keep away and have nothing else to do with them. It’s the only way.