Resentment Release Exercise

RESENTMENT RELEASE

 

Resentment is comprised of remembered anger or pain that is derived from something in the past; however the anger or pain is ongoing now as if it’s happening again to us now.  When the resentment is combined with feelings of revenge, it is a grudge.

 

The vast majority of resentments are the direct result of an unfulfilled expectation.  Situations such as: being stood up on a date, not being treated with respect, feeling entitled to unconditional love from your family, being evicted from your home for lack of payment, being lied to by someone you trust, having a loved one die too soon, having someone take advantage of you in a business dealing, being emotionally attacked by someone, etc.

 

While it is a normal and healthy response to be angry when we feel someone has done harm to us, it is not healthy to hang on to the situation until it turns into resentment.  Dealing with anger in the moment is a useful practice and can be mastered by anyone: it will greatly decrease the number of resentments as well.

 

It is a simple fact of life that things will not happen the way we want them to happen most of the time.  This means we will be exposed to countless circumstances where our expectations will not be met.  When the world does not seem fair, we will become angry.  It is at this time that a decision must be made to either deal with the anger in a healthy way, or hold onto the anger or pain and let it grow into resentment.

 

Resentment is unhealthy for us because it harms us emotionally and spiritually.  Resentments are also falsehoods because they do not harm the individual(s) that we are holding the resentment against: in most cases they do not know there is any problem whatsoever.  Resentment feeds upon itself causing more injury, anger and pain in the carrier and can trigger relapse in order to escape.

 

How to Begin Releasing Resentment

 

  1. Acceptance. Accept that the situation happened and that it is a part of you.
  2. No More Self-Pity. Stop looking for sympathy because you were wronged.
  3. Confront. Come to terms with the resentment. Possibly write the person a letter or have a discussion with them.  Always with respect, caring, and understanding – NO FIGHTING.
  4. Forgive. Begin the process of forgiveness.  Turn it over and feel the release of burden.

 

Exercise:

 

  • After discussion of resentment, ask participants to think about a current resentment.
  • Ask for a volunteer to disclose a resentment, and ask the volunteer the following questions while clarifying the issues;
  1. Who or what is the object of the resentment?
  2. What is the resentment circumstance?
  3. When did the circumstance happen?
  • Post the information on a white board or easel as follows:

 

Object of resentment  

Resentment

When it happened How to begin resentment release Start time
Father Left family for another woman and abandoned me Age 10    

 

  • Ask the participants in the exercise to help the volunteer by discussing how the volunteer may begin to release the resentment. Provide guidance for the discussion toward healthy thought and action.
  • Post the information on a white board or easel as follows:

 

Object of resentment  

Resentment

When it happened How to begin resentment release Start time
Father Left family for another woman and abandoned me Age 10 Understand that Father is not infallible and will make poor choices  

 

  • Ask the volunteer if they can accept the suggestion from the participants as a possible method of beginning the process of releasing the resentment. Lead the volunteer to the healthy conclusion of “yes”.
  • Ask the volunteer when they will start the process of releasing the resentment. What for an answer then post in on the white board or easel:

 

Object of resentment  

Resentment

When it happened How to begin resentment release Start time
Father Left family for another woman and abandoned me Age 10 Understand that Father is not infallible and will make poor choices Now

 

  • Ask the volunteer to write copy what is on the whiteboard or easel.

Serene Foundation