Looking back I wonder why I have devoted so much time and contemplation to resentment. I’ve never really worried about “letting it go”. I hold onto it for years, decades, dragging it around like a childhood stuffed bear. I can’t imagine how much energy I would have if I could be refunded all the time I spend on resentment. Carrie Fisher said it best “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” It’s time to lay off the poison.
I think of resentment like an open mental loop. Like when you’re at lunch with a friend and can’t remember the name of Gary Burghoff’s character in M.A.S.H. It circles in your brain until you finally close the loop when you sit up in bed at 4 AM and say “Radar!” or more likely when you Google it. Resentment just keeps stirring around and around. It saps your ego, your courage and can never seem to be requited. I’m here to tell you, it can be. Want to quit drinking the poison?
Here is the fix:
1. Recreate. Take what you to believe to be reality and recreate it. When you got dumped by that guy fifteen years ago, he really adored you but couldn’t handle your brilliance. That job you got fired from? They knew your business acumen was way beyond their capacity so they set you free. It doesn’t really matter how you recreate it so long as you put it in a positive light. Focus on the upside. Recreate your past so that you can let go of it and move forward.
2. Moment. I listen to Dr. Wayne Dwyer each morning when I meditate. One of the affirmations he says every morning is “I know that in each moment I am free to decide”. So if you want to dwell on the past and every grudge you ever had, it’s your choice. I’d recommend looking at what has gone right. Stay out of the limbic brain and focus on the beauty around you. Take each moment as it comes and breathe it in. Skip the past, let go of the future. Be in the moment.
3. Hand off. Transfer the responsibility to a higher power. As Olivia Fox Cabane writes in her book “The Charisma Myth”, “try a responsibility transfer to alleviate anxiety. Consider that there might be an all-powerful entity – the Universe, God, Fate – and entrust it with all the worries in your mind.” Release what is dragging you down and let the almighty power carry the burden. It will definitely lighten your load. Hand off your grudges and move on.
4. Spill. Get out a piece of paper and spill your guts. This is another recommendation from “The Charisma Myth”. Get out a pen and paper (don’t cheat and use the computer, it’s not as effective). Write out all the wrongs, affronts, deceits and slights your nemesis has done to you. Use several pages if need be. Write it all down. Every nasty detail. Purge it out of your system. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Just get it all out. I actually did this recently and boy did it feel good to get that poison out of my system. Spill your guts.
5. Accept. This is part two of “Spill”, Accept An Apology. Get out a second piece of paper. Now write an apology from the nemesis you just spilled your guts about. Do not cast any blame on yourself in this apology. This is all about your nemesis (ex, boss, coworker, neighbor, etc.) taking responsibility. Address every wrong in the letter. Make sure there are no loose ends. I found this to really set me free. I felt lighter. Content even. Cabane suggests that if you don’t get satisfaction after writing the apology. Read the apology every day until you do. Accept the apology and move forward.
I have to say this has worked for me. I really do spend less energy on the past, the grudge, the resentment. There might be one or two old ties that creep into my brain once in a while but letting go has propelled me forward. Quit drinking the poison and let go.
What are you resenting?