Letting Go of Resentment

Letting Go of Resentment

Holding on to feelings of resentment and bitterness harms us more than the person or situation we resent. When we let go of resentment, we open our hearts to positive emotions like empathy, compassion, and peace.

What is resentment?

Resentment is a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will. It comes from believing we have been wronged or treated unfairly. Common causes include:

  • Betrayal by a friend or partner
  • Injustice or discrimination
  • Childhood issues
  • Being taken advantage of

Why you should let go of resentment

Here are some reasons letting go of resentment improves wellbeing:

  1. Resentment causes suffering – It leads to feelings of anger, bitterness, or even hatred. This emotional turmoil leads to stress, anxiety, and can damage relationships.
  2. Resentment changes how we see the world – When we hold on to resentment, we tend to develop a negative, cynical, bitter worldview.
  3. Resentment prevents personal growth – We stop focusing on becoming our best selves. Instead, we ruminate on the past and cling to victimhood.
  4. Resentment hurts us more than others – The person who hurt us has likely moved on, while we continue suffering. As the saying goes: “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

Tips for letting go of resentment

It takes courage, self-awareness and willingness to let go of resentment. Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Bring awareness through reflection – Explore the root causes and impacts of your resentment.
  2. Cultivate empathy and compassion – Try to understand the other person’s perspective with an open heart.
  3. Practice acceptance – You cannot change the past, but you can change how much power you give it over you.
  4. Forgive others (and yourself) – This means letting go of blame and desire for revenge.
  5. Focus on personal growth – Rather than obsessing over past hurts, look at how you can heal and improve yourself.

Benefits of letting go

The rewards of releasing resentment are immense. You’ll experience:

  • Less emotional turmoil
  • Improved mental and physical health
  • Stronger relationships
  • Greater feelings of inner peace and contentment
  • A more positive outlook


Question 1: How do I know if I’m harboring resentment?
Answer: Signs of resentment include dwelling on past wrongs, inability to forgive others, bitterness towards a person/situation, feelings of anger when recalling painful memories, and a strong victim mentality.
Question 2: Why do I resent my parents?
Answer: Common reasons for resenting parents include lack of affection/praise growing up, overly harsh discipline, betrayal/broken promises, and failing to protect you from trauma/abuse.
Question 3: Why can’t I forgive my ex?
Answer: Letting go after a bad breakup is hard. You may still feel hurt, angry, jealous or betrayed. Accept these feelings, then consciously choose to release resentment by seeing your ex’s humanity.
Question 4: How do you stop thinking about someone who hurt you?
Answer: It takes time and effort to stop obsessive thoughts about someone. Practice mindfulness and self-care, avoid triggers that bring the pain to mind, forgive them, focus on the present moment.
Question 5: Is resentment a sign of love?
Answer: No, resentment means you haven’t let go of pain from unmet expectations in a relationship. However, the intensity shows how much you cared – now aim that love and care towards yourself in positive ways.