Is there someone in your life that you hold a grudge or any type of resentment against? If so, think about them right now. Think about what the person did to cause the resentment, and how you chose to feel. Allow the anger to well up inside of you so that you can truly experience this emotion.
Now, where in your body are you noticing the feeling? Notice how you are holding your posture. Notice any tension or heaviness in your neck or shoulders. How have your facial expressions changed? Are you frowning? Notice the feelings of tension around your brow and jawline. Notice any sick feelings in your stomach, or pain in your chest. Maybe you clenching your fists or squeezing your fingers? How has your breathing changed?
How would you describe your overall feeling right now? I’m guessing that it isn’t a positive feeling.
Now notice what you are telling yourself. What is your inner narrative telling you about the situation – about what kind of person they must be and how hard done by you are? This is your ego doing what it does best, trying to protect you. By making you feel like a victim, your body fills with anger, preparing you to go into “fight-mode” to ensure your survival.
Nelson Mandela famously stated that holding onto resentment is like drinking poising and hoping that it will kill your enemy. If you choose to allow yourself to feel annoyed by others enough times, you will slowly poison yourself from the inside out. You will begin to feel tired, heavy, and depleted of energy.
This is the physical impact on our body of holding resentments. It should be quite clear by now that the only victim is you.
It is an illusion of your ego that the subject of your resentment is the victim. Basically – it is impossible for any person other than yourself to carry your grudge around for you. As a grudge is a feeling of ill-will towards another, only you (the grudge-bearer) can experience this feeling.
I remember hearing a story on the news about a year ago. The story was of a man who forgave his son’s killer, collected him from jail and helped rehabilitate him. After so much destruction his grievances had caused him, this man realised that the only way to set himself free was to forgive his son’s killer, and that by helping him turn his life around, he had found a way to transform his pain into something positive.
Unfortunately the man received a lot of criticism from others, and was accused by many of disrespecting his son. Many people believed that the man should not have forgiven his son’s killer. What these well-meaning people did not realise, is that subconsciously they were wishing negative feelings of bitterness, heaviness and anger upon the man. Because as we know, this is exactly what a grudge is.
Even short term resentments can cause us pain. If you don’t like something that another person says or does, respond accordingly, but don’t harbour resentment. People can sense bitterness in others, and you probably agree that it isn’t nice to be around.
The next time you notice this feeling, let it go. Choose to live with lightness and joy, and understand that everyone is doing the best they can with the resources that they have. If they knew how to better handle the situation, they would.
Remember, nobody can ever make you feel a certain way – your perception is always your choice.
I will finish with the following quote….
“Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anything or anybody outside of us will affect us” – Stephen R Covey
I hope this article was of help to you. Please feel free to share your thoughts!