You likely agree that no one in this world goes through life unscathed. We all have had our fair share of pain and injustices laid upon us. We all have scars. Some have bigger scars than others but the point is that we all have them. However, sometimes people hold on to the experiences, events, or individuals that gave them the scar. In effect, this makes them resentful. People that harbor resentment find ways to blame society, people, and circumstances for their failures. Resentful people hate the success that other people have. This makes them jealous, envious, and sometimes even evil.
Resentment has a way of making people feel better and important. They get a sense of satisfaction feeling that it is not their fault and that they have a right to feel the way they do. When this happens resentment becomes the cure that is worst than the disease. How so? The following article will explain the negative consequences of resentment and how to let go.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word victim? You may properly be thinking of someone that has been harmed or injured. It may be from an accident, event, or action. For example earthquake victims, rape victims, or accident victims. However, the word victim has another definition or meaning. Oxford Dictionary gives another meaning of victim: A person who has come to feel helpless in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment.
People that harbor resentment are often stuck in a victim mindset. They believe that the world is against them and that they have no control over their lives. They feel or think of themselves as helpless or powerless. This kind of thinking prevents them from taking responsibility for their actions and making positive changes in their lives since they see themselves as powerless. It ultimately leads to a downward spiral of negativity and self-destruction.
Self-image can the described as the mental image that we have about ourselves. Dr. Maxwell Maltz once said that the majority of the internal sufferings that we have are due to an inferior self-image. He writes in his book Psycho-Cybernetics which has sold over 35 million copies worldwide: Our self-image held, essentially determines what we become. Resentful people tend to have an inferior self-image. They often see themselves in a negative light and compare themselves to those that have been successful. This creates a sense of worthlessness and low self-esteem.
This further leads to feelings of depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. It can also lead to unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse, binge eating, or self-harm. Resentment can be a major factor in the development of an inferior self-image. It can make individuals feel like they are not worth anything and that they are not capable of achieving their goals.
Self-pity is another symptom of harboring resentment. Resentful people often feel sorry for themselves and believe that they are the only ones that have suffered. This kind of thinking is counterproductive and can lead to a sense of isolation and loneliness. It creates a cycle of negativity that can be hard to break. Self-pity now becomes a habit. When self-pity becomes a habit individuals will always look for ways to feel sorry for themselves and injustices. They feel good only when they are miserable and unhappy. Dr. Maltz once said that self-pity is one of the worst emotional habits a person can make (Maltz, 1960).
The turning point
Self-pity, inferior self-image, and a victim mentality are just some of the ways that resentment can have a negative impact on our lives. So what can we do to not have resentment? The first thing I would say is to realize that you are not a victim, you are a survivor! The fact that you are still alive means that you have overcome whatever you have gone through. Understand also that the real cause of resentment has nothing to do with your circumstances. The cause of resentment is your own emotional response- your own reaction (Maltz, 1960).
It is also important to learn forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a gift that you give to others, but rather it is a gift that you give to yourself. By forgiving others, you release the negative emotions that are holding you back and open yourself up to positive experiences. Forgiveness is not easy and it may take time, but it is worth it in the end. Forgiveness is not about forgetting what happened nor does it mean you condone what has happened, but rather it is about letting go of the negative emotions associated with the event.
In conclusion, resentment is a destructive emotion that can have long-lasting negative effects on our lives. It can lead to a victim mentality, an inferior self-image, and self-pity. All of which are detrimental to our lives. To overcome resentment, it is important to realize that we are survivors and not victims. We also need to learn forgiveness. By letting go of the negative emotions associated with past injustices, we can open ourselves up to positive experiences and live a happier, more fulfilling life.