How To Manage Resentment
Resentment in the dictionary is defined as “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.”
It was one of those emotions I often liked to pretend I did not experience because I just wanted to be seen as a lovely, kind and caring person inside and out.
But it really bloody hurts when you feel that you have been treated unfairly and often we are totally justified to feel resentment or resentful. The difficulties come with what happens next. If you hang onto resentment almost denying that is how you feel it can fester inside. Therefore, how you process and then act on your emotions determines your efficiency and your effectiveness.
I used to be terribly resentful and because I felt it was not a nice thing to think or feel I would attempt to hide my feelings only to discover I had buried them deep inside.
It is good to notice as I write about resentment today, this is no longer the case. Resentment is my trigger to notice that something has changed or something needs to change. It arrives, I acknowledge it, I make a decision and it is gone.
I recently read this quote shared by my friend and marketing mentor Steve Bimpson
“Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies.”
Wow, I never wanted to kill anyone but I did want people to appreciate and notice my efforts.
Steve went on to say in his email: “Holding on to a negative emotion of any kind is incredibly self-destructive. It does far more harm to you than it will ever do to those people your feelings target and ‘it’s always good to experience emotions‘”
He also said: “When you find yourself experiencing any negative emotion it’s important to ‘let it go’, seek out positive emotions and let The Universe do its thing”
This article is about ‘How to let go?’
Curiosity – The First Step To Clarity
I love articles like the ones Steve writes because they get me thinking and in this case it got me thinking how do I let go?
What happens when I feel resentful now and what used to happen?
Has anything changed?
And as a result I can see that I am much less resentful today and would go so far as to say I can’t remember the last time I experienced that emotion.
It is good to also know that if it were to crop up I have a process to manage my emotions and the more I practice it, the faster I get. It is almost but not quite automatic now.
Often I gain insights by listening to others and learning how they let go or how they experience a similar situation and it is important for us to listen to ourselves and notice our own unique way of showing up.
Listening to emotions such as resentment in others
When I listen to my clients; team; friends and family members who are expressing emotions such as resentment?
I used to think of all the things I was resentful for and it would trigger an internal dialogue whereas now I am more skilled at listening and I have dedicated time to listen to my own thoughts I can zone that out and just see the word.
Then I can get curious about their experience not mine.
If it does trigger something for me, I make a note to park and reflect on that in my own time later because it rarely if ever help for me to share my resentment story at this point, so I don’t.
Ask good questions
I ask questions to understand and I do it without judgement or assumption because I know the emotion and thought is transient and temporary. (I suggest you apply this same attitude when asking yourself questions too)
I also know the person is not a bad person; simply human and this is the word they have chosen to describe their experience in this moment. I am honored that they trust me and allow me to share their journey as they transform their own thinking.
I listen so that they can gain clarity and confidence of what they want.
Not so easy I know if the person you are listening to, is talking about resentment and it is you they resent or something you have, however the process of listening without judgement always pays off so it is worth mastering this skill.
I highly recommend you don’t react and you listen for longer than is comfortable. It is important to listen without emotionally reacting so that they can hear their own thoughts on resentment and clarify their own thinking without it being contaminated with your reaction or emotions.
Otherwise some people become more focused on making you feel better that they don’t find a solution and stay stuck and resentful.
As I ask questions; I have the purpose and intention of helping them name the emotion, locate it and find out more about it.
I follow the same process when facilitating my own thinking.
When I catch myself with an emotion that either feels really strong or repeats over and over, this is what I do.
Step 1: Name it
The first and most important thing is to identify the emotional button that has been activated. In this example I am assuming you have already caught yourself saying or thinking something like, “I resent that or them” or “I feel resentful.” So for me I notice what I am saying or thinking. And sometimes I might just have a feeling so I might start with step 2 work through step 3 and come back to step 1 in order to name it. The order is not important.
Step 2: Locate it.
Once you have named your emotional button, then locate it. Where is it? This is not always an easy question to answer and the invitation is to be curious. Is it inside or out? If it is inside whereabouts inside? If it is outside; whereabouts outside? Does it have a shape or size?
For me resentment is outside; over there. Where is resentment for you?
Now that you know what the emotional button is and can locate it, it is time to ask questions and listen.
What kind of resentment is that?
Where does resentment come from?
What would resentment like to have happen?
Part of the clean process is to reflect their words back exactly so the person can hear themselves; you can read more about the importance of repeating their words exactly here;
The importance of repeating words exactly here.
When we repeat words back the other person gets to hear their thinking. When I don’t have someone that can listen then I might write down my thoughts, read them out loud and or record them and listen back.
But there is something magical that happens when another human witnesses and truly sees you and still accepts you. I know I make a connection with my own inner wisdom that I just cannot make on my own. When we have the right peer support and we can explore things like resentment then our emotions become transient and temporary, they pass through us with their messages, we hear them and we act on them and then they are gone.
When we consciously choose to ignore them or we lack the right support and resources to truly hear them; they can get stuck inside and go around and around on repeat; eating away at our clarity and confidence making any change much harder.
In the age of information we are getting more and more aware of mental health and our emotions. We know that we are human and we have emotions but too few are resourced to hold space and listen to the others as they express how they feel. And those that are resourced to listen are finding themselves overwhelmed and with little time to process their own emotions as more and more people turn to them.
If you spend your time listening, you too need to be listened to in order to sustain being the best motivator, manager and or mentor you can be.
If you know you need to develop more effective ways to listen and process your own emotional buttons please don’t miss our next listening skills training retreat. – Motivate Manage or Mentor – 3 Days to transform your ability to support those around you.
As we encourage more people to talk about their feelings we are going to need more listeners and the listeners also need to be supported and resourced as they listen to more and more complex thoughts and feelings. At Step by Step Listening we are here to ensure the listeners in our community are supported and resourced to listen.
Founder of Step by Step Listening, Sheryl Andrews has always been keen to create space where other people felt safe to speak their truth no matter what that was. She is well known for her ability to motivate manage and mentor others through change and loves nothing more than turning overwhelm into a clarity and confidence that change can and is happening.
Sheryl and her team now runs retreats, one to one coaching and online group coaching course that provide you with a space and time to gain clarity, focus and direction whilst unraveling what is really holding you back and plan your next best step with confidence. For regular updates and examples of how listening skills can resource you to manage yourself, time and others through change check out Free Success without stress newsletter
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