Dr. Larry Cohen (856) 352-5428
The Essential Need to Let Resentments Go
Growth and change cannot be achieved without energy, enthusiasm, and determination. Without these elements, life stands still and doesn’t change. It is essential that we not allow our energy to be drained and wasted. Without energy, our goals cannot be met, our lives cannot improve, and our personal potential will remain unrealized. Our life direction, the quality of our life, and our life satisfaction, all depend on human energy. To be your best self and live the life you envision requires inner strength and energy.
One of the biggest – if not the biggest – cognitive problem that drains our energy is holding resentments toward others. We have all experienced past injustice and negative encounters that resulted in resentment. Yet, holding on to resentments is damaging, painful, and very draining. Holding resentments may seem justified, but doing so depletes our energy to sustain our anger and unhappiness. It is said that holding a resentment is like drinking poison, and waiting for the other person to die. We hurt ourselves, and the target of our resentment remains unaffected. Holding resentments also lead us to lose control of our life. We find ourselves unable to regulate our emotions and become overcome by uncomfortable, painful feelings. Helpless to take control, we become pre-occupied by the injustice that lead to our resentment. Past acts cannot be undone, so we are left with no fair resolution. Our self-justified anger usually distorts cognition, and we may fail to recognize the intense powerlessness of resentfulness. There is nothing that can be done to make things right. Energy that could have been allocated to positive life change has been lost.
Life is a gift. And having been given this gift, we have an obligation – a responsibility – to live full and meaningful lives. We must strive to be our best selves, to grow and change, and to move continuously toward fulfillment and happiness. This goal is impossible to reach if feelings of resentment remain a part of your life.
How one lives life is a choice. You can choose a life of unhappiness, resentment, and anger, or, you can choose a life of fulfillment, success, and peace. Resentments hurt only the person who harbors them. Resentments have no impact on the resented. You are the one who hurts. Don’t for a minute believe that your resentment will somehow control or impact the person you resent. We have no control over the behavior of others. Resentment leads to one's life becoming out of control. When you attach yourself to the belief that you can control others – when you live a life of co-dependence – your ability to live the life you desire becomes impossible. Your resentments make you powerless over your own life. Your feelings and behaviors become dictated by the resentment. The memory of the unjust behavior now controls your life choices.
Letting go and forgiving others can be a difficult task. But if you desire a full, happy life, you must accept that resentment wastes valuable energy, is self-injurious, and must be avoided completely. When you forgive an injustice and let it float away, you are performing an act of self-care. Forgive others and abandon resentment so that you may live the life of your choosing. To be happy, we must recognize when injustice and unfairness have slipped into a past that cannot be undone. Remember, the past is gone, the present defines your life, and the future is laden with opportunities to live the life you choose. To grow and live the life you deserve, it is essential to forgive others, forgive yourself, and let go of the past. Never forget that life is a gift, and we are all responsible to live life to its fullest. The gift of life must never be minimized or forgotten. As a coach, my goal is static – to help people discover and stay true to who they really are, and to help people live a full, happy life. This cannot be accomplished if you live consumed by anger and resentment. Resentments block every road - to growth, to contentment, and to living life the way you were meant to live it.