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Releasing Resentments

“Holding a grudge & harboring anger/resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people…but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us.”
Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

Although I don’t like to admit it, I have allowed anger and resentment over slights (real or imagined) to keep me imprisoned in a cage of my own making. Recently, I was told by a highly intuitive woman I had never met, that she had a message for me and it was about those bars that I allowed to keep me limited and I needed to free myself from them.

A few years ago, I had a surprising and disappointing encounter with someone who had initially been supportive of my professional work and had pulled it away, like the proverbial rug that left me landing on my butt. It had me wondering what I had done wrong to have attracted such a response from her. After all, I reasoned, I had been supportive of her and it felt like she left me high and dry. Self righteous anger ensued. Every time I saw her name or her picture, I would grit my teeth and feel the ire rise once again. I wondered if other people had seen that side of her or I alone was ‘privileged’ to have been on the receiving end of her capriciousness.

I have told clients that resentment is like a hot coal that burns a hole in us when we clutch it to our chests and complain that someone else threw it at us. There comes a point when the pain of holding onto it is silly, as if we are saying to that other person, “See what you made me do.”  The truth is, they may have hurled the smoldering piece, but we didn’t move out of the way.

A few days ago, while in the midst of emotional clean out, she came to mind. “Alright woman, enough is enough. How long are you going to burn a hole in your soul?” I reached out and contacted her, expressing how I had felt four years ago when this all went down. I told her that I might never understand why she made the choices she did and that was finally OK with me. I let her know that I had let her go and was no longer carrying the burden of resentment and that I wished her well. The next day, she responded graciously and explained what happened that she hadn’t felt at liberty to discuss back then. She thanked me for my kindness and forgiveness.  We made peace.

Now, when I think of her, I will smile, instead of scowl.

Is there someone toward whom you hold resentment? Are you willing to free yourself and them? Keep in mind that what others do may have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them and their level of consciousness and emotional state at the time.

Offer yourself the gift of forgiveness that doesn’t let someone else off the hook or not hold them accountable for their behavior, but allows you to walk away unimpeded.

Releasing birds photo available from Shutterstock

Releasing Resentments

Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW

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APA Reference
Weinstein, E. (2015). Releasing Resentments. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 Nov 2015
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