“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” ― Nelson Mandela
Resentment usually develops when you are unable to forgive someone and move on with your life. Many times, what worsens the situation is your inability or unwillingness to confront the people you did you wrong. Instead of communicating your feelings and expressing yourself, you remain quiet and passive and keep revisiting the negative occurrence (your interpretation of what happened) in your mind. As a result, resentment keeps building up inside you getting stronger as days go by. What further adds fuel to the fire is regularly interacting with people you resent due to unavoidable circumstances.
So, how do you tackle these toxic feelings of resentment? The short answer is using the negativity attached to resentment as a tool to help you grow and become a better person.
Resentment, essentially, is a direct outcome of being attached to what happened in the past instead of living in the present moment and/or focusing on what could hppen in the future. It’s akin to constantly looking at the rearview mirror rather than focusing on the steering wheel and paying attention to the windshield and looking at what’s coming ahead on the road. You not only stop enjoying your drive, but also put yourself and your loved ones at huge risk — you certainly don’t want that.
Think of resentment as an opportunity. An opportunity to accept the past and make peace with it. An opportunity to learn how to forgive, let go, and heal. An opportunity to love and respect yourself.
Whenever you experience resentment, see it as a reminder to focus on yourself and your inner peace and tranquility, instead of harboring negativity towards others. As Thibaut Meurisse writes in his book Master Your Emotions, “Resentment is here to tell you that you must love yourself and value your peace of mind more than anything else. Your peace of mind must become more important than being right, taking revenge, or hating someone else. In short, moving beyond resentment is making a declaration of love to yourself so you can move on, while, at the same time, showing compassion to others.”
So, say no to drinking the poison of resentment when someone does you wrong. Instead, make your peace of mind your number one priority, let go of what happened, and learn to forgive others as well as yourself, as difficult as it may be.