Dare To Live Without Limits

Bryan Golden

Resentment is something to be avoided, not harbored

Harboring resentment is no different than drinking poison and expecting someone else to suffer. It's a common misconception that you can punish another person through resentment. Left unchecked, resentment and its deleterious results will last a lifetime.
Resentment is a response to someone else's actions or your own behavior. If you are treated in a rude, unjust, unfair, or insulting fashion you may reflexively experience resentment towards the offending person. When you believe you have made a mistake, you can feel resentment towards yourself.
The effects of resentment are numerous. You can become bitter, angry, upset, depressed, stressed, or any combination of negative emotions. Resentment can also induce physical ailments. Any way you look at it, resentment is devoid of benefit.
When slighted, you reflexively want to lash out and cause the offending person the same misery you are experiencing. Although this is a normal defensive mechanism, it's a boomerang that impacts you more than anyone else.
Resentment can become buried deep inside you and is a time-release poison that stays potent as long as you hold onto it. The only antidote to resentment is purging it from your system. You can't control it or ignore it. You must eliminate resentment.
Getting rid of resentment doesn't mean having to accept or adapt to aberrant behavior. Never waste a minute thinking about people you don't like. Most of the time you can chose the people you want to continue to interact with. It's your responsibility to be discriminating with who you spend your time.
But there are some people you have to deal with on a recurring basis. This can be because of family or work situations. In these instances, it can be especially difficult to not harbor resentment towards those you would rather not be interacting with.
You can avoid resentment by not internalizing the actions of others. Although you have no control over the behavior of others, you can manage your own emotions. Even if someone's actions were personal, you want to prevent resentment.
Your objective is to protect yourself from self-destructive emotions and behavior. Towards this end, you have to let go of other people’s actions and concentrate on your goals and the quality of your life. Any time spent harboring resentment is precious time lost forever.
The best strategy is to not allow resentment to take hold in the first place. Usually feelings of resentment accompany feelings of anger. Anger is the first warning sign. As soon as you feel the onset of anger be alert to the potential for resentment. Initial anger may fade somewhat over time but it can create deep-seated resentment. Resentment consumes your energy without producing any positive results.
Diffusing resentment involves a decision process. First determine if there is any action you can take that will rectify the situation in a positive way. Retribution and revenge don’t qualify. Any result should ideally leave you in a more stable position without risking behavior that you may later regret or be ashamed of. If you can take action to correct a wrong, clear up a misunderstanding, or prevent yourself from being taken advantage of, then do it.
There are those circumstances where no effective action can be taken. In these cases, you have to accept it and move on. Learn as much as possible from your experiences so you can avoid similar circumstances in the future.
Learning to live without resentment will make you happier and healthier. It takes practice, so start today.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.  2020 Bryan Golden


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