How to to Overcome Bitterness and Resentment
Dr. Martina Higgins
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Bitterness does not only happen because of breakup or when you get dumped by the person you like. You normally feel it whenever you think you are being treated unfairly. Of course, no one wants to feel this way. However, it is an emotion that can easily swallow you up once you don’t feel good about yourself.
So, how can you overcome bitterness or resentment? Can you escape from its poison?
Overcoming resentment is a battle inside you. You’re the only one who can win it. Based on personal experiences, the following ways are proven to be effective in helping anyone who’s being oppressed by resentment. I encourage you to try them.
1. Forgive yourself and others.
Accepting your failures and flaws is the first step to defeating bitterness. Once you’ve accepted your limitations, insecurities can’t put you down anymore. Your chance of being bitter is then decreased. That’s why, forgive yourself for all the frustrations brought by your imperfection.
Moreover, choose to forgive the people who made you feel rejected or treated you unfairly. It’s hard, but do it for your own sake. Forgiveness can remove hatred from your heart.
2. Think positively about those you resent.
If you only focus on the bad behaviors of others, then the more that you feel bad inside. An ill thought towards others is a poison that can contaminate your soul. You would notice that if you only see the negative side of people, you don’t feel comfortable with them and your mind is filled with criticisms and judgments. Soon you become suspicious of others, thinking they think the same way towards you.
For this reason, filter your thoughts by consciously deciding to reject any negative thought against the people you resent. Instead, always look for the good in people and see them in this light.
3. Appreciate them—even if you don’t feel doing so.
Appreciating the people you resent requires a lot of humility. This would feel like torture. However, if you practice appreciating others—even those you hate—you stop focusing on your hatred or resentment towards them. Instead, you start seeing their good side for real, and soon you begin to love these people.
By the way, appreciation is different from flattery. Make sure you are sincere in whatever you tell them and how you deliver your appreciation. They would feel it if you are only trying to flatter or please them.
4. Stop stalking them.
One of the bad effects that bitterness causes to humans is obsession with monitoring the person they resent. Usually, you can’t resist the urge to check their Facebook timeline or eavesdrop on gossips about them. This is because you want to find something bad about them, so you’d feel good about yourself. You want to assure yourself that you’re doing better than them.
However, instead of making you feel good, this actually saps all the joy and peace from you. Instead of moving on from what they have done to you, you get stuck in the situation since you always check on them. Forgetting becomes hard.
5. Celebrate with them.
This also needs humility. Have you ever felt jealous when the people you resent accomplish, receive, or experience something great? It is a normal reaction, because you don’t like them being ahead of you in any way. The competitive human instinct tells you that you need to be better than the people who let you down. You want to prove them wrong and acknowledge your importance.
However, instead of making you feel better, this desire to defeat the people you resent will make you worse. Whenever you surpass them, you become prideful and arrogant. Whenever they do good, what you get is self-pity.
That’s why, the best response to their success should be being happy for them when they are happy, and sad for them when they are sad. Since your conscience is clean, you don’t feel bad about yourself, and that will extend to how you feel towards others.
6. Prevent yourself from talking bad about these people and what they did to you.
It is normal that once you have been hurt, you would look for people you could lean on. You would go to people you know have the same experience or concern towards the people you feel bad with. You want to be assured that there’s nothing wrong with how you feel, because it’s not your fault.
Doing this would lead you to slanders and gossips. Without your knowing, you’re already stooping down to the level of the people you dislike. Soon you are worse than them. This won’t help you move forward a bit.
For this reason, avoid talking about your bitterness with other people. It’s okay to have expressed what you feel once or twice with one or two mature individuals just to release the burden. However, going around and telling everyone you meet about your grudge just to get sympathy would just make your bitterness worse.
7. Focus on improving yourself.
The more you focus on wanting to see the people you hate go down, the farther you go from going up. Instead of doing something to improve yourself so you can prove these people wrong in their perception about you, you get distracted when half of your attention is on them.
Choose to forget about the people who hurt you. Set goals for yourself and concentrate on achieving them. As you become busy in doing things for yourself, soon your bitterness slowly fades away. By the time you have accomplished your goal, you’d realize you have already moved on from the past. Also, seeing the people you used to have grudge with won’t sting anymore.
8. Pray for them and your heart.
Prayer can help you forgive. Instead of cursing the people who hurt you, just lift them up in prayers. Pray that they realize their faults and be changed for the better. Don’t think about getting even, but just surrender everything in prayer.
Also, pray for the cleansing and restoration of your heart from what happened. You should also ask God to change your heart towards these people, and be changed in how you see them.
It is well.
You don’t deserve to be treated unfairly. However, thinking about revenge or competing against the people who hurt you won’t make you better than them. Forgive and let go of your grudge, so you would have peace and be happy.