Five Steps to Overcome Resentment

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Do you ever wonder how to make significant life changes, to get yourself out of a rut, and to once and for all leave behind the aspects of your life that you feel no longer serve you? What is holding you back?

Resentment Redefined

Here is my new definition of resentment:

To re-send back into our lives.

If you want to take it a step further, next time you are resenting someone or something, think about this:

I meant to re-send you back into my life again in the future.

Now how much do you want to continually make that person or thing your focus?

Maybe this is a bit of a stretch on re-interpreting the English language, but this new definition captures what resentment is capable of producing in our lives. Let’s say there is someone you work with who you resent. Maybe she sends snarky emails, doesn’t give you the praise you feel you deserve, or just plain drives you crazy with her opinions. You can’t stand it, and you resent her, or at least her actions.

I believe that what you resist persists, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to those things we resent. Resenting something absolutely is just like saying a prayer that it will keep showing up in your life.

So how do you get out of this cycle and move on to a more peaceful existence? Read on my friend!

Overcoming Resentment

Below I distill the lessons I have learned from many a self-help book and blog over the years into a five step process to move out of the space of resentment and into the space of being where you want to be. It feels magical, and I encourage you to give it a try. Before we get started, pick something, anything, that you are resenting in your life right now. It could be a person, someone’s opinions or beliefs that conflict with your own, or something someone did or said that you feel is unjustified.

1. Observe with non-judgment: When I was losing weight, I learned from Oprah to look at myself in the mirror and rather than think “ugh I am so fat” or “ugh I hate my thighs” or whatever, to simply observe, no judgment allowed. Whatever your chosen topic of resentment is, put it in your mind, but no judging. Just let it be there for a minute.

2. Find something to be grateful for: This one can take a lot of time, patience, and practice, depending on how much resentment surrounds the particular issue. You might have to get creative to carve something to be grateful for out of something you can’t stand. It has to feel real; not simply what you think you are supposed to feel grateful for. It has to be something that hits you as something you feel passionately grateful for. If being overweight is what you resent, you might choose to be grateful for the version of yourself that is already there underneath the excess pounds who will be revealed in time. Co-worker? Maybe you are grateful that this person is a component of your source of income which you are grateful for. What matters is that you are focusing on genuine gratitude rather than what you don’t want.

3. Accept: If you have ten pounds to lose, accept the existence of those ten pounds right in this moment. You know they are only transient and temporary in your life, so it’s not like you are asking them to stick around, but by accepting them, you can let go of all that negativity. Maybe you can see that that co-worker won’t always be in your life, or that friend’s opinion won’t always be there to drive you crazy. Just let it be there for a minute.

4. Release: This is the best part, because now that you have just let that person or opinion or whatever it is be what it is, you can let it go. Release the resentment, and therefore the hold this thing has on you that it continually cycles through your experience. You are done with the cycle. So let it go. If this seems difficult, revisit the new definition of resentment above, and tell me if you would rather have this pain continually show up in your life or if you want to move on. Now does it seem easier?

5. Feel as if: Ok, I lied. This is the best part! Now that you have let the resented thing go, you can move into the space of where you want to be. I have always heard the phrase “act as if”, but it is so much more than that. It is about feeling as if. Feel as if you are already where you want to be in your life. Create the reality you dream about right here, in this moment, underneath your skin. You might want to close your eyes while sitting comfortably and get a very clear vision of what you want, and what that feels like. Then, go about your day, feeling, knowing, that you are already there.

Can you see how letting go of resentment allowed you to move forward? It is amazing to think that we create our lives with our thoughts, and how much of a role resentment keeps us stuck in old, unfriendly patterns. Honestly, it is ridiculous to me to think that our thoughts don’t create our lives. Because if our thoughts aren’t creating our lives, then what else is?

We are not victims. We make ourselves into victims through resentment. We can choose to practice the opposite of resentment, which is acceptance. Through acceptance, we can let go and realize that we have the opportunity to make new choices for our lives in every moment.

Did you try these five steps? If you did, share in the comments how it made you feel. It could be something as simple as “I felt better.” Namaste!

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  1. Meg Evans Dec 8, 9:19 am

    This post left me feeling curious about where the word came from, so I looked up resentment in my Dictionary of Word Origins. I discovered that its root is a Latin word that means “feel” and is also the source of many other related words, such as sentiment and sense. So when we resent something or someone, we are literally feeling the negative emotion all over again. No wonder it’s so harmful!

    I just found your blog today and would like to compliment you on its inspiring, hopeful tone. I’ve added it to a list of positive blogs I keep on my own site. 🙂

    1. anniehurley Dec 13, 10:37 am

      Thanks Meg! So honored to be included in your list of positive blogs – quite an impressive list 🙂 Yes, that is so true about feeling the negative emotions over and over again. Who wants that in their life anyway? Thanks for stopping by!


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