How to heal resentment

7 Signs to Look For

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 24, 2020

In this Article

  • What Is Resentment?
  • Signs of Resentment
  • Treating Resentment

What Is Resentment?

Resentment describes a negative emotional reaction to being mistreated. There is no one cause of resentment, but most cases involve an underlying sense of being mistreated or wronged by another person. 

Experiencing frustration and disappointment is a normal part of life. When the feelings become too overwhelming, they can contribute to resentment. When this happens, trust and love in relationships are broken and sometimes never repaired. 

A person experiencing resentment will often feel a complex variety of emotions that include anger, disappointment, bitterness, and hard feelings.

Resentment is commonly triggered by:

  • Relationships with people who insist on being right all the time
  • Being taken advantage of by another
  • Feeling put down
  • Unrealistic expectations of others
  • Not being heard
  • Interactions with people who are always late

Signs of Resentment

Resentment leads to the inability to let go or forgive, at least temporarily. Several signs, however, can indicate that you or someone you know might be on the path toward experiencing overwhelming resentment. 

Here are some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for:

Recurring Negative Feelings

It’s common to feel recurring negative feelings toward people or situations that hurt you. These emotions may include:

  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Hostility 
  • Bitterness
  • Hard feelings
  • Uneasiness 

When these feelings become unbearable, they can lead to resentment.

Inability to Stop Thinking About the Event

Sometimes resentment leads to an inability to stop thinking about the event that caused intense emotion. Recurring negative thoughts may take over and linger for long periods of time — sometimes even years.

Feelings of Regret or Remorse 

For some people, resentment may cause feelings of disappointment or remorse. When a person thinks back to a stressful event, they may respond to regret and remorse with self-blame and wishing they had acted differently.  

Fear or Avoidance

When you feel resentful, certain people or situations may trigger unwanted memories of wrongdoing. This may cause you to avoid situations or people who bring up these negative emotions. People will often do this to protect themselves and their own well-being. 

A Tense Relationship

Resentment can bring about changes in your relationship. Some people deal with resentment by holding grudges and acting out passive-aggressively. 

For others, resentment can lead to ending relationships where the wrongdoing took place.

Feeling Invisible or Inadequate  

Engaging with people or places that remind you of past mistreatment may make you feel invisible or inadequate. When this happens, old feelings of anger and bitterness may begin to reappear and grow stronger. 

If you’ve been hurt by someone and start to notice any of these things, it could be a sign that you’re beginning to experience resentment.  

Inability to Let Go of Anger 

In some instances, resentment may make it hard for you to let go of anger. You might even experience a strong desire for revenge. Holding on to such a high level of negativity takes a toll on your mental health. 

Recognizing the signs, taking preventive action, and getting treatment can help.

Treating Resentment

If you’re beginning to feel as though your resentment is becoming too much, talk to your doctor. They may refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist.

The right solution for resentment depends mainly on its cause and the individual. The path to healing involves forgiveness and finding a way to make peace with what happened so you can move on with life. 

Consider Why It’s Difficult to Forgive

When you consider moving on from resentment, what feelings come up? When you first try to let go of resentment, it’s normal to have a lot of emotions come up like resistance, fear, and anger especially when resentment has been held for a long time.

It can be helpful to take time to process these feelings. 

Use Self-Compassion

Some people use resentment as a coping mechanism to help them deal with painful or difficult emotions. While this may feel soothing at first, it can be damaging in the long run. 

Extending compassion to yourself helps you heal so you can process your pain with mindfulness and kindness. 

Try Empathy

Exploring why the situation or person caused resentment allows you to uncover potential misunderstandings. By trying to see things from another perspective, you may be able to reduce resentment.

Lean Into Gratitude
It’s normal to get caught up in all the negative things happening around you. You can bring more happiness and positivity into your life by focusing on the things that are going right. It can help to think about things and people you are grateful for. 

8 Strategies to Work Through Anger and Resentment

Source: CC0 Public Domain

With the recent U. S. election and upcoming presidential inauguration, feelings of anger and resentment have become more widespread and more intense. Many people seem to be carrying their anger and resentment wherever they go, like an overstuffed suitcase. It is baggage that weighs them down and demands considerable attention and energy. This anger related to recent and current events and the resentment it fuels are contributing factors to ever-greater levels of interpersonal conflict and animosity — including among friends and family members.


Anger is a normal, natural emotion. In many situations, it’s a healthy and appropriate emotional reaction. Anger is an emotional response to a real or imagined “wrong” or injustice, but sometimes people get angry simply because things don’t go the way they would like. Anger takes place in the present when life isn’t going the way we think it should. In this way, anger has a corrosive effect — it is a “fight” against present-moment reality, a refusal to accept what is. As Mark Twain put it, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Most often, anger is a secondary emotion. It can take shape instantly and unconsciously in response to something or someone that evokes feelings of hurt, fear, and/or inadequacy. When most people experience these primary emotions, they feel vulnerable, and their energy and attention are focused inward. For many people, this revealing of vulnerability creates so much distress that the underlying emotions are automatically transformed into anger.

Anger serves several defensive purposes:

  • It works as a shield that deflects uncomfortable primary emotions so they can be avoided or kept at a distance.
  • It provides a sense of power and control.
  • It directs focus outward to identifiable, external scapegoats (individuals, groups, institutions). It is almost always easier and more comfortable to focus on the actions of others than it is to focus on oneself.


Resentment is closely related to anger. Resentments are negative feelings, basically ill will, toward someone or something that emanates from the past. Resentment is the re-experiencing of past injustices — real or perceived — and the old feelings of anger connected to them. Resentments form when people get angry toward a person, institution, or situation, and steadfastly hold on to that anger.

Some people hold resentments for many years, refusing to let go of them. Over time, whatever caused the original anger and led to the resentment may be forgotten, while the resentment remains like a still-smoldering ember left after the flames of a fire die down. The fire no longer rages, but the ember remains hot and the fire is at risk of reigniting until it is extinguished.

There is a saying that when you resent somebody, you become his or her slave. The stronger the resentment is, the more time you spend thinking about it and being caught up in the anger connected to it. This is a form of mental, emotional, and spiritual bondage. Ultimately, the person holding the resentment is the one who suffers the most. Consistent with the 12-step adage, “Holding resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

Although of course there are times when anger and resentment are appropriate and justified, often they are built on a foundation of distorted belief that others should or must act the way you want them to. If you allow yourself to become angry or resentful whenever situations don’t go the way you prefer, then you are effectively giving control of your feelings to others. It’s similar to using a remote control to change channels on the TV. If your feelings depend on how other people behave, you are giving them the remote control for your emotions.

Healthy ways to address anger and resentment

There are specific actions you can take to address feelings of anger and resentment in more healthy and helpful ways.

  1. Practice identifying and allowing yourself to feel the underlying emotions that anger may be superimposed upon — such as hurt or fear. Strive to be present with and accept these feelings and the vulnerability they elicit.
  2. Practice being consciously present with your anger and resentment. Observe it. Allow it to simply be. Hold it. Visualize putting space around it. Notice what happens.
  3. Identify how you may have contributed to the situation(s) that you are angry or resentful about. Be aware that people (including you) frequently play a part in the circumstances about which they are angry and/or resentful.
  4. Practice expressing anger and resentment differently. Share these feelings with safe, supportive individuals whom you trust. Journal or write about them. Discharge them through physical activity by working out, taking a walk or run, going for a hike, or playing a sport. If appropriate to the situation, participate in activities that promote social and economic justice and other forms of nonviolent activism.
  5. Learn and practice relaxation and self-calming techniques. Examples include intentional breathing, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Qi Gong, progressive relaxation, and quiet, unplugged downtime.
  6. As difficult as it may be, endeavor to practice treating those people you feel angry at or have resentment toward with kindness and compassion. Notice what happens when you change how you act toward them — they will often change how they act toward you.
  7. Resist the urge to be a channel for the anger and resentment of others. The anger and resentment of others can be seductive — they can have an almost magnetic pull. Don’t buy into it; resist the urge to join in their negativity or participate in gossip.
  8. Practice applying the understanding that unless you’ve learned how to change the past, it’s as good as it’s ever going to get. Find ways to remind yourself of this whenever you need to — you don’t have to like what’s happening in the present or has happened in the past in order to accept it. And acceptance will free your attention and energy from the shackles of anger and resentment, enabling you to be more skillful in the present.

Copyright 2017 Dan Mager, MSW

How to get rid of resentment, cope, forgive and let go

Resentment is a whole range of emotions that can only destroy, not create. It does more harm to the offended than to the offender, as it grows like a snowball and turns into a real threat. Our coaching academy decided to sort out the questions: what is resentment and how to learn to forgive all insults.

We are constantly taught: we need to let go of resentment, stop nurturing it, not let it control us. A touchy person constantly mocks himself, does not allow himself to live a full life. Therefore, this burden should be disposed of. But, it's easy to talk about it. Most of the time we don't really know what to do. And often it seems that this is completely impossible. However, both coaches and psychologists say: with the help of special techniques, you can say goodbye to her forever .

In order to understand how to forgive an offense, you need to understand its origins. This is what we will do, and then we will move on to consider techniques that will allow us to get rid of this destructive feeling.

Why do people offend each other

The offender, just like the offended one, is the same person with his own weaknesses, shortcomings, problems and the right to make mistakes. Think about it: have you ever offended anyone? At 99.9% can argue that the answer will be negative. To understand why we offend each other, look at yourself . What are your reasons for doing this? If you dig deep within yourself, you can discover amazing things. Although, it is possible that you do not even suspect that you could offend someone with a careless word or action.

In fact, resentment is unjustified expectations . Perhaps you expected one thing from a person, but he acted differently. Maybe you didn't know him well enough to be shocked by his actions. Although sometimes it is very difficult to predict how even the person we have known for many years will act. nine0003

Offensive words, offensive phrases, offensive actions, and even inaction of the offender in some situations can become the cause of offense. Sometimes insults are applied for one banal reason - envy. In such cases, it may well be considered a disguised compliment. There are very few who will praise for some successes and achieved heights. But there are plenty of those who will criticize, scold or ridicule. Many who, with the help of infliction of resentment, assert themselves at the expense of another person, at least slightly increase their own significance in their own eyes. The more the offended responds, the more satisfaction it will bring to the offender. So why fall for his tricks and let him "grow" in such a nefarious way? nine0003

Resentment and forgiveness

Some psychologists see resentment as a zone of personal growth. For example, you were told that you don’t know how to do something (embroider, bake pies, write without mistakes), your figure is far from ideal, or something else offensive to you? If the words spoken hurt you, then that is how you think about yourself, even if you yourself are not ready to admit it to yourself.

Perhaps you realize that you need to lose extra pounds or learn how to cook delicious pastries? A person who is confident in himself and does not feel the need to prove something to others will not be offended by such words. He will take them with laughter, since he thinks completely differently, and if the opponent does not like something (or he is simply jealous, which is not uncommon), then this is exclusively the opponent's problem. nine0003

If something has offended you, consider what it is. This is exactly the zone of growth, the place that prevents you from accepting and loving yourself. Thank the abuser for pointing out to you exactly where you feel bad about yourself.

Forgiving and letting go is a special skill that can be trained like any other skill . This does not mean that it should be swallowed. It is necessary to work out those unpleasant feelings that it causes. There will be no negative feelings - there will be no resentment. nine0007 Forgiving the offender, you become stronger, freed .

Components of resentment

Resentment is a complex feeling consisting of different emotions. The main ones are anger at the offender and self-pity . There is an opinion that pathological resentment is the lot of self-centered people who do not get what they want. Wounded pride makes them feel negative feelings towards the opponent who offended them.

To understand the essence of resentment, it is necessary to know that it is consists of three main components :

  • Formation of expectations . A person begins to expect from another that he will perform a certain action. Often he doesn't even say what he wants. But, since each of us is an individual, the thoughts of two people may not coincide. Many problems and conflicts between personalities usually come from the fact that we simply do not know how to talk to each other. And so it turns out: we quarrel with parents, spouses, children, colleagues or friends because of innuendo, continuing to wait for them to “read” our thoughts and figure out for themselves what to do. Think: are you able to know exactly what even your closest person wants at a certain moment? Can you guess? If yes, then you are unique. nine0068
  • Activity monitoring . In addition to the fact that a person observes the behavior of another, he constantly predicts a negative result and criticizes and gets angry because of this.
  • The onset of reality . When expectations do not match reality, resentment arises. And the greater the "deviation" from expectations, the brighter it is.

By not imposing your views and opinions on another person, by allowing him to do as he wants, you can protect yourself from resentment. Everyone is free to speak, behave and act as they please. And if you are aware of this, you will not expect from another, which you can never expect. Accept the other person with the same personality that you are. nine0003

What kind of resentment can be

Resentment is one of the most emotional states that only bring harm to the offended. However, in some cases, the “offender” himself does not get anything good from the offense of his opponent, and he himself loses in many respects. Why did we put this word in quotation marks? And the thing is that not always the offender is actually the offender. However, first things first. In order to understand what is at stake, one should analyze what kind of offense there is:

  1. Resentment-manipulation . Resentment in psychology is often seen as a way of manipulation . Quite primitively, but effectively, this way of getting what they want is used by children. Tears, sobs, depressed mood - this is how a child may try to "unwind" parents for a new toy, more pocket money or personal time for entertainment. Unfortunately, many adults use the same approach. The reasons for manipulative behavior can be different. Someone wants to win back the leading position in the relationship and points to the “place” of the opponent, which can be a love partner, colleague, parent, friend, etc. For someone, resentment-manipulation is a way to get some kind of benefit. Often the so-called "offended" himself provokes a situation that will allow him to be offended with a clear conscience. nine0068
  2. Formal offense . In a society, there may be certain traditions and cultures in which concepts are formed regarding what should be offended. From childhood, people are taught what is offensive and what is not (stereotypes). If you add egocentricity to this, then you get a very touchy person. Offending a person in such cases is not difficult, even if nothing offensive was said or done.
  3. Resentment as a natural reaction . This is a completely natural response when some words or actions hurt the feelings of another person, his abilities and "I". For example, it is difficult to imagine that there could be any other reaction to betrayal, deceit or ingratitude. But, even in such cases, resentment does not carry anything but anger, anger, undesirable psychosomatic consequences (health problems). nine0068

Resentment is usually a subjective feeling. For example, what may be offensive for one person, for another is a trifle that is not even worth attention. This proves that we are all different: with our own character, upbringing, level of emotional sensitivity, characteristics of the nervous system and attitudes. When someone offends you, it's not always intentional. It is possible that some words or actions hurt you, because this is your “pain point” that others do not know about . Or, perhaps, the offender does not have a sufficient level of tact, tolerance and life experience to understand that he is saying or doing something wrong.

What are the most difficult grievances

It is unlikely that anyone will argue with the fact that it is most difficult to let go of a grudge against those closest to you - for example, parents.

Everything starts from childhood . Many people remember this very important period in the life of every person as such, when something was not given to him or, conversely, he was given what he did not need. What do people most often complain and get offended about when they are already in adulthood? Here are some examples:

  • little attention or overprotection from parents;
  • beliefs that you were loved less than other children in your family;
  • many reproaches and criticism, comparison with other children;
  • lack of support from parents who did not believe in your abilities, etc.

In general, how many people and families - so many reasons for resentment. And often the reason for them is that children place a lot of expectations on their parents. It seems to them that adults should always act wisely, because that's what they are adults . And when expectations are not justified, faith in the “idealness” of the next of kin collapses. And, unfortunately, we often carry these grievances through our lives.

In the future, resentment towards mother, father, grandparents, aunts or uncles is projected onto relationships with other people in adulthood. We transfer everything we don't get to our spouses and, of course, they also sometimes give a reason to be offended by them. This most often contributes to the destruction of harmonious relationships.

Of course the closest ones can really hurt . Treason, betrayal, unwillingness to meet halfway in resolving conflicts, indifference and other impartial acts are reasons to be offended. But think about it, do you really need it? In some situations, it is better to minimize communication with such a person or even let go (if this is a beloved man or woman), but before that it is better to forgive all insults. This is not for anyone else, but for you.

Why is forgiveness so important? nine0019

Many do not understand why he should forgive insults, arguing that his offender will feel even better and will not suffer any punishment. You need to understand what it takes to maintain your health. What about health, you may ask?

You must have heard that thoughts are material. Constantly scrolling through some painful situation in your head, remembering the details of the offense, you will not make the offender worse . Since you experience negative emotions, it is your body that suffers. It's no secret that stress causes health problems. Resentment is stress, and constantly "chewed" resentment - persistent stress . Over time, emotional problems lead to physical illness. This is called psychosomatic diseases, and psychosomatics studies such a problem - a science that explains the influence of psychological problems on the work of various organs.

Examples of some diseases arising from emotional problems:

  • allergy - protest, difficulty in expressing one's position, inability to refuse;
  • throat diseases - unspoken resentment, anger from the fact that you cannot cope with some situation; nine0068
  • gastritis and other diseases of the stomach - anger, irritability, fear;
  • headaches, migraines - constant tension, clamps, low self-esteem, self-criticism, fear;
  • gynecological diseases - rejection of femininity, rejection by a woman of herself;
  • obesity - attempts to protect themselves from the traumatic surrounding reality, hypersensitivity, building a barrier between themselves and the world;
  • liver diseases - unspoken resentment, sadness, anger, suppression of irritability; nine0068
  • oncological diseases - a deep-seated resentment, a desire for revenge, a spiritual wound;
  • heart diseases - lack of a sense of joy, problems of a love nature, loneliness.

With the help of diseases, negative emotions find a way out . But, if psychological problems are not solved, diseases will receive "feeding" from them. This can drag on indefinitely. So why accumulate resentment? Why should they be allowed to poison our body, spoil our health and life? Let them leave. nine0003

How to get rid of resentment

Before you start getting rid of resentment, you should start with understanding how and why you need to forgive. This will help psychological advice, which are certain steps on the path to forgiveness.

So, how to deal with resentment (a few basic recommendations):

  1. Learn a simple truth: resentment is evil and self-destructive. The worst thing is to feed resentment . Even if you are a hundred times right and the person really acted disgustingly towards you, your negative emotions will only make you feel bad. They will slowly destroy you, eat you up and leave only emptiness behind. Perhaps this is banal advice, but you need to let go of the past, whatever it may be. It is necessary to keep the course only forward and boldly look into the future. nine0068
  2. Positive motivation is a great strength . Try to imagine what will happen if you start to easily forgive your offender. First, you will no longer be dependent on other people's negative actions towards you. You will be free from pain and resentment, you will not destroy yourself. Secondly, you will be able to build relationships with other people without unnecessary fears, because often resentment prevents you from looking at the world around you with clear eyes. Thirdly, a person devoid of resentment and dependence on negative emotions attracts good people more. And fourthly, you can be happy, feel harmony. nine0068
  3. Negative motivation can also become an assistant. Think about what will happen if you never get rid of your resentment? Consequences can be dire:
  • You will constantly experience negative experiences. They will corrode you, prevent you from enjoying life.
  • Resentment will gradually grow like a snowball. Every year new grievances will be added to the old ones, because of which sooner or later a person will start to get sick. The worst thing is that unforgiven grievances can lead to cancer. nine0068
  • Any relationship due to resentment invariably deteriorates. You stop trusting other people, you lose the feeling of joy and love. This can destroy any, even the most durable alliance.
  • Resentment will constantly prevent you from building relationships with your loved one.
  • Often, resentment becomes a motive for revenge. And revenge, as you know, leads to a dead end. It can cause irreparable mistakes that can destroy not only your life, but also the lives of other people.
  1. Learn a lesson even from negative situations . Oddly enough, the most valuable experience we get from difficult life situations. Be grateful for those people and circumstances that test your strength. Because they make you stronger.
  2. A sense of humor will help to cope with resentment. You should learn to be self-critical. None of us is perfect, but those people are strong who are able to admit it and make fun of themselves. If you can laugh at your shortcomings, there will be no point for others to poke at them . It will not give them any pleasure, because you are invulnerable in this respect.

These were recommendations considered theoretically, so to speak. To consolidate everything that was said above and help yourself get rid of resentment, it should be worked out. Special psychological techniques will help in this. Some of them we will consider in the next section of the article.

How to work through resentment: effective psychological techniques

Forgiveness will help you let go of resentment. Some techniques will help to achieve it. An important condition - try to tune in to work on yourself as much as possible, fully engage in the process and try not to be distracted by external stimuli.

Exercise number 1. "Revenge"

Try to take revenge on the offender (naturally, in your imagination). To do this, take a comfortable body position, close your eyes and clearly imagine in front of you the person who offended you. Now draw a detailed picture of his punishment, namely what the offender must do in order for you to forgive him. At the end of the exercise, you should feel the satisfaction of having forgiven your opponent. nine0003

Exercise #2. "Making a list of grievances"

Prepare a piece of paper, a pen and refresh your memory. Now you can start the exercise. Sit down, write in the middle at the top of the sheet the name of your offender, under which you begin to write down all the unpleasant emotions that he provoked with his offensive actions or words. You may be surprised when you can even remember seemingly forgotten grievances. As you can see, they did not go anywhere, but simply hid, continuing to annoy you. These are the most dangerous grievances that gradually destroy you from the inside, and you hid them even deeper. nine0003

Exercise #3. Three Letters

You will be required to write three letters. The first should be devoted to how exactly you were offended by a particular person. Describe in words all your indignation. The second letter should be written the next day and state in it everything that was not indicated in the previous one. If you correctly express your feelings, then you may even have a feeling of understanding the offender. The third letter is written, respectively, on the third day. It should contain words of forgiveness and gratitude for the fact that you have been given a valuable life lesson. After all this, all three letters are burned. You should feel relieved. nine0003

Exercise #4. “Forgiveness”

Take the most comfortable position for yourself and loudly, turning to the offender, say that he is kind, good and you forgive him for ... (indicate for what exactly). After that, do not forget to say to yourself: "I forgive myself for ...".

Since it is almost impossible to forgive an offense at once, do this exercise every day for 5-15 minutes. If you have a grudge against your loved one, parents, or someone else who is ready to change the situation in a relationship in a positive way, then it is advisable to conduct this exercise with him. nine0003

Exercise #5. "Sliding over resentment"

This exercise is primarily aimed at preventing resentment. When the other person starts to do something that might make you feel resentful, don't get involved in the traumatic situation. How to do it? You can imagine it on the TV screen and mentally turn off its sound. You can also imagine the offender in a ridiculous situation that would make you laugh. And another option - build a wall between you, through which the words of the opponent will not penetrate to you. nine0003

Forgiveness is what helps to deal with resentment once and for all. Some people think that forgiveness is a weakness. Nothing like this! To forgive means to show your strength and rise above the offense and the offender. So you demonstrate (first of all, to yourself) that such troubles do not touch you at all and you are happy. Believe me, when you let go of the accumulated grievances and stop letting them into your heart, you will become joyful and healthier.

We have already said above that many psychologists see resentment as an opportunity for personal growth. let's p Let's look at the situation of resentment from the point of view of coaching as an effective tool for personal development.

  • One of the principles of coaching is the principle of Awareness and Responsibility . By making a conscious choice, we take 100% responsibility for the consequences of that choice.
  • Everything in our life we ​​create ourselves 100%. And if we created something, then we can change it. This principle applies to our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
  • Resentment is our defensive reaction to the actions and words of the people around us. we cannot control our reaction to these words and actions of people. But we can control our thoughts, feelings, emotions . And this is only our choice in what emotion we are. We decide for ourselves whether to be offended or not. To be in emotions that destroy us and cause various diseases, or to be at least in a neutral state or experience joy, happiness.
  • Understanding the Law of 100% responsibility allows us to realize our power over our emotions and make us a confident and self-sufficient person.

First thing to do Stop. Take a deep breath and say to yourself mentally STOP. And ask yourself a few questions that will help you regain awareness . What is happening to me now? What am I thinking about now? What I feel? Is this what I want to feel? And if this is different from the feelings that you want to experience, then speak mentally or aloud :

- I am 100% responsible for my feelings, emotions and thoughts. I, and only I, once made the decision to react to such situations in this way (we list the emotions in which we are now), but I am the master of my emotions, and I can choose whether to hold these emotions or let go. nine0008

Take a deep breath in and a deep breath out. If necessary, repeat these questions until you at least enter a state of neutrality.

Here we have listed the main causes of resentment and examined the methods of getting rid of and letting go of resentment.

8 steps to forgive an offense

October 6, 2016 Relationship

It is difficult to find an adult who has never faced pain or betrayal. Resentment is a normal reaction to injustice. But if you don’t get rid of it, then negative emotions will pop up in your memory over and over again. It is not worth forgetting the offense, but it is worth changing its perception. Then it will become easier to forgive insults. nine0003

By choosing forgiveness, we free ourselves from suffering, which over and over again resurrects unpleasant moments in our memory.

You only have to forgive once. And hatred must be fed constantly, day after day. We need to always remember all the bad things that have been done.

ML Stedman "The Light in the Ocean"

Robert Enright, Ph.D. researcher of the forgiveness process, suggests breaking it down into eight steps. Despite the fact that situations are different, and everyone forgives in their own way, this approach will help to forgive or at least localize the insurmountable barrier with which Robert Enright recommends contacting a psychologist. nine0003

1. Name the offenders

Make a list of the people who hurt you enough to ask for forgiveness.

Rate the pain they caused you on a ten-point scale, where one is a minor pain, but still enough to pop up in your memory and cause negative emotions; ten - actions are so detrimental that it is hard for you to even think about them.

Start with the person with the lowest score.

2. Analyze the offense

Choose a specific act by which this person offended you. Analyze how this action affects your life. Ask yourself questions:

  • What psychological damage did it cause?
  • What physical harm did it cause?
  • Have I started to trust people less?
  • Am I disappointed in people?

Admit that what happened was not normal. Allow yourself to feel the negativity that comes with the analysis.

3. Decide

When you're ready, decide to forgive.

This decision will include active action on your part - an act of mercy towards the person who hurt you. By forgiving, we consciously reduce the feeling of resentment, replacing it with kindness, respect, generosity, or even love. nine0003

It is important that forgiveness does not include justifying the offender's action. Do not forget about justice and turn a blind eye to its violation.

Another important point. Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation. Reconciliation is a negotiation strategy by which both parties (the perpetrator and the victim) come to mutual trust. You may not be reconciled with a person, but still forgive him.

4. Put yourself in the place of the abuser

Try to answer the following questions about your abuser:

  • What was his life like growing up?
  • What were the difficulties in his life at the moment when he offended you?
  • What did he suffer so much that he hurt you?

The answers to these questions are not intended to be an excuse for the abuser. Just realize that the offender is just as vulnerable.

Understanding why people act destructively also helps to find better ways to prevent similar acts in the future. nine0003

5. Observe carefully

Be attentive to how you feel.

Do not miss the moment when you feel even the slightest sympathy for your offender. Perhaps this person was confused, mistaken, or deceived. It is possible that he deeply regrets what he did.

Thinking about the offender, notice how your emotions towards him change.

6. Don't take your pain out on others

When we are emotionally hurt, we tend to take our pain out on others. nine0003

Try to consciously endure the pain you feel. Don't try to dump it on someone else. For example, to an offender or an innocent person who will be with you in difficult times.

Pay attention to this important point, so as not to pass the negative on to another.

7. Gift the offender

Think of something you could give the offender.

Learn more