Resentment is essentially suppressed anger. Anger that we experience, but do not express. Unexpressed anger turns against us. There is a well-known observation:
Resentment is like drinking poison, and then hoping it will kill your enemies.
Any suppressed emotion is lingering. And that is what makes it dangerous. The intensity of suppressed anger is less than that of expressed anger, but due to prolonged exposure, the consequences of the former are devastating.
Any suppressed emotion is secondary. An event has happened long ago, but psychologically inside us it is happening again and again. Any secondary emotion is caused by our beliefs (our ideas about ourselves and the world around us).
Suppressed anger often turns into hatred or rage and comes out as bursts of explosive actions which are out of control
One of the most destructive types of resentment is the resentment of life itself. There is no specific offender, fate and everything that surrounds one in general is to blame.
The cause of suppression is often our fears (thoughts of fear). We are afraid to express our anger. This is a more serious case of resentment, because to it is added a sense of self-judgment, i.e. the feeling of guilt.
Fear is in fact one of the most commonly occurring causes of the suppression of any emotion. For example, we suppress love because we are afraid that we will not be loved in return.
The presence of suppressed emotions indicates that there is an unachieved goal – a goal unmet through some fault of ours. This leads to low self-esteem. Low self-esteem then leads to further suppression of emotions, various ones. A vicious circle develops. The person experiencing it sinks lower and lower on the energy scales – both emotional and mental.
The majority of the recommendations out there on how to rid oneself of resentment boil down to the necessity of learning how to forgive. The advice is good; however following it is often difficult.
And the other popular piece of advice – to mentally send thanks to the offender and to think about them with love – is entirely useless. Those who are able to do this sincerely do not harbor resentment at all.
From a conversation between two girls:
“My boyfriend said honestly that he fell out of love with me and loved another. So we parted with no lies, bitterness or fights. Why can’t all men be like that?”
“And how do you feel?”
“I feel like killing them both!”
If we had allowed ourselves to harbor resentment (which is a very common occurrence), then the first thing we need to do is forgive ourselves. Feelings of guilt tend to get mixed in with our resentment towards another. And thus until we forgive ourselves, we would be unable to forgive anybody else. Our biggest resentment is toward ourselves.
But how does one forgive oneself?