You may be wondering what letting go of resentment has to do with business. It has EVERYTHING to do with business.
- How can you put your best foot forward in your business if you’re holding onto resentments?
- How can you develop personally and professionally if you’re holding onto resentments?
- How can you improve your mindset if you’re holding onto resentments?
- How do you expect to create happiness in your life if you’re holding onto resentments?
- Do you really think you will be able to enjoy the life you want to create through your business if you’re holding onto resentments?
Everyone holds onto resentments—the pain and anger from past experiences and wrongs, but that doesn’t mean you should too. Do you think any multimillionaire, living or dead, made their millions while holding onto all their pain and resentment?
Do you see now how it has everything to do with business?
I wrote this blog post exactly a year ago on a positive news blog I had. I thought I would share this post with you because it has very special meaning in my life.
Wouldn’t it be nice to live every day without resentments?
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I had dozens of resentments I held on to. Now I’m not saying resentments don’t try to resurface here and there. Far from it. But by learning how to let them go has actually brought joy and peace back into my life. I am not bound by those situations any longer.
You see, last year I came to realize that all the resentments I had been holding on to was literally making me sick. I was moody, depressed, snapped at anyone, including my children, withdrawn, and just an all-around crabby person. But I also developed an autoimmune disease in 2006 that got progressively worse due to all the stress.
I know that stress is not good for anyone, and living with the stress of past resentments makes it even harder to cope with the day-to-day stresses of money, jobs, children, marriage, etc. So the additional pressure of resentments that eat at you every day only enhances the inability to handle when your car breaks down or your child gets sick at an inopportune time or your spouse throws something completely unexpected your way.
Like I said, I had dozens of resentments. My father chose to take a job in another state when I was 15 because I started running with the wrong crowd. My aunt married a man I did not think deserved her and whom she allowed to treat her like crap. My husband chose to be at work rather than be home with his children and wife. The list goes on and on.
2 years ago I read about resentments and how to let them go, and it has been incredibly freeing. I thought I would share some of that knowledge with you.
There is a saying that says “Expectations are premeditated resentments.” This is so true.
I used to get so upset when my husband loaded the dishwasher his way and not the way I expected him to. My resentment would build when I opened the dishwasher and saw it was not loaded properly.
I expected the kids to be good 100% of the time while out in public. We all know that is an unrealistic expectation that would certainly lead to resentment at my son when he misbehaved in a store or at a restaurant.
A lot of my resentments were based on expectations that I had for people, places, and things. I have to remind myself it is not my responsibility to place expectations on people. Expectations are my standards being imposed onto someone else. I had to look at it as–at least my husband was willing to do the dishes in the first place, and if he loaded them incorrectly, oh well. At least I didn’t have to do it.
Forgiving is not forgetting, it’s letting go of the hurt. Mary McLeod Bethune
Forgiveness is mainly for you, not the other person. Holding on to resentment, hurt, and anger from the situation only keeps you tied to the problem or past. When you forgive in your heart, you start letting go of the hurt and anger that has been built up. It means you can finally stop dwelling on the situation and set yourself free.
When your thoughts are full of bitterness, anger, fear, self-pity, and revenge, there is little room for love or peace.
Holding on to resentments meant I had to continually justify why I felt the way I did. The justification allowed me to feel that I was right. “Oh, there’s Wendy. I think I’ll say—wait a minute. I’m mad at her.” Or worse yet, walking up to her and rehashing our pain, justified or not.
Continuously justifying and rehearsing resentments takes so much energy that could be spent experiencing the joys in life.
No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched. George Jean Nathan
Enjoyment in Friendships
Holding on to a resentment with a specific kind of person can allow you to hold a resentment against anyone like them.
I read a story about a teenager who had parents who were alcoholics. He belonged to a church that had a handful of members who loved and cared for him. He on the other hand viewed all adults to be like his parents and did not accept their love. He finally came to understand that not all adults behaved like his parents. In fact, most could be loving and caring just as he wished his parents had been.
That was just one example of many I can give on this section. Women being hurt by men so they think all men are dogs. Men being hurt by women so they think all women are gold diggers. The remembrance of 9/11 or a school shooting allows us to view a certain demographic of people or a troubled teen as the next perpetrator.
When you start holding accountable a whole demographic of people who had nothing to do with the original resentment, it isn’t fair to them, and it certainly isn’t fair to you. Encountering such a person in daily life is just a reminder to you. Letting go of the resentment altogether is the only remedy.
Life truly lived is a risky business, and if one puts up too many fences against risk, one ends by shutting out life itself. Kenneth S. Davis
You give away your peace
Imagine this. You are on your way to a lunch date with friends. You are looking forward to a little girl talk. Suddenly you are behind a car that is going 20 mph under the speed limit. (Yes, I am speaking from experience.) You find yourself getting more and more frustrated which quickly turns to anger. You just want to get to the restaurant. Is that too much to ask? Now it’s going to take twice as long to get there. Ugh. So you start throwing up your middle finger, giving nasty looks at the person in the rear view mirror, honking your horn, and gesturing them to move over.
What just happened?
You gave away your peace. You were just a few minutes prior driving down the road excited for your lunch with friends, maybe thinking about the week’s adventure you can’t wait to share. You were peaceful and possibly even happy. All of a sudden peace and happiness went out the window and in came frustration and anger.
My husband says to imagine them an older couple just driving down the road talking about how nice it was to see their grandkids that morning. Or how about a person who is on their way to a dreaded doctor’s appointment for fear of hearing bad news? 9 times out of 10 they are not driving slow to piss you off. (Although I maintain the right to be pissed at someone who is on their cellphone and driving 20 mph under the speed limit!)
Holding on to resentment also makes you a victim. It binds you to the issue, the person, and the feelings. You feel justified in thinking of yourself as the victim in the situation. They did it TO you. Self-pity and self-righteousness are two thoughts that allow you to feel this way.
Why on earth would anyone want to continue to think of themselves as a victim? What are they gaining from this? Proving your strength is a much better act I believe, and it can be a model for someone else as well.
Chances are you were not innocent in this. You may or may not have caused the actual problem, but your reaction to it most certainly led to you causing resentment for another person.
Think about it. What was your reaction to the situation? Did you scream? Did you get angry and throw a fit? Did you say mean things that some day you will wish you could take back?
What am I actually saying?
I’m saying you might actually need to apologize for your actions. Apologizing for your actions/reactions is a big step in letting go of resentment. It allows you to be humble about your part in the situation. It frees your soul from this cycle of self-pity, self-righteousness and allows peace and joy back into your life.
It might also be a pathway to opening up a communication channel to which you may be able to completely rid both of you from this thing that ties you both down to it. It could be a pathway to true forgiveness.
How do I get rid of resentments?
I don’t know your spiritual preference, if any. I give mine to God on a daily basis and especially when they start to creep up. It’s not an overnight success to rid them, but with practice and the experience of the feeling of relief, it has become a habit.
I have also apologized to every person for my part in the situation and for my reaction to it. It has truly freed my heart from the pain and anger and allowed joy, happiness and, most of all, peace back in.
I think this difficult but rewarding act has made the biggest impact. Don’t get me wrong. It was very hard to apologize, to humble yourself before someone you feel has wronged you, a person you want to seem bigger than, but it is something that has become a natural part of my life now. It clears my mind of the wrong that has been done to me and clears my conscience of the harm I might have imposed on someone else.
I encourage you to think about past wrongs/resentments you have allowed to weigh you down and steal your peace. Consider this blog post to find the strength to let them go, not for the other person’s benefit but for yours.